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Diwali in Covid times: National Film Award-winning farm labourer has a special message

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on November 03, 2021

Lata Kare on movie poster

67-year-old Lata Kare shares her story of grit and determination

 

From a farm labourer to the National Film Award winner, 67-year-old Lata Kare has come a long way. Sitting alone at her rented house in Baramati, Lata is not celebrating Diwali.

“Actually, there is nothing to celebrate. I won the award this year but lost my husband in May. My life revolved around him and today there is emptiness all around. But yes, life moves on and one has to face challenges. I'm still ready to fight…,” she said with a choked voice speaking to BusinessLine.

Lata’s husband Bhagwan died of Covid-19 but the tragedy has not dampened her spirits.

Marathon runner

In 2013, Lata ran a local marathon race at the age of 60 under senior citizen group to win the prize money of ₹5,000. She had to pay for MRI scan for her ailing husband and made headlines by winning the race. She won three consecutive marathons to treat her husband and take care of her family requirements.

Reading her story in a newspaper, Hyderabad-based director Naveen Deshboina made a Marathi movie on Lata where she played her own character which fetched her National Award in the special mention category. She received the award last month at the hands of Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu and the audience gave her a standing ovation.

Hand to mouth existence

Wearing a nine-yard saree, she ran her first race barefoot only to save her husband’s life and even today she is somehow managing to survive. “My son works as a security guard in a town nearby and I live alone. I don’t have permanent accommodation and want to have my house,” she says.

Hailing from drought-prone Buldhana district of Maharashtra, Lata and her husband migrated to Baramati in Pune decades ago in search of work and worked as farm labourers.

“My husband often fell ill and I always found some or other way to earn money to treat him. The first marathon I ran was only to save him. I don’t work or run marathons now because of my age. I am old, but not retired,” she says.

Life is tough, but you need to be tougher, says Lata. Hundreds of visitors come to meet her and Lata has only one message, “Don’t give up, there is always a ray of hope in darkness”.

 

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