You need extraordinary mental strength and courage if you think of doing something which no one has attempted ever. This is what defines Poorna Malavath when she started her journey in Mountaineering. The film Poorna: Courage Has No Limit is a biopic made on Poorna Malavath, the youngest girl to climb the tallest mountain of the world: Everest. Poorna is now 16 years old but back then she was just 13 years and 11 months old when she scaled this mighty peak.
Poorna: Courage Has No Limits is a film which follows her journey to the top of the world. It is directed and produced by Rahul Bose who even plays a character in the film. The film first came to Rahul Bose as a script and he was offered the role of RS Praveen Kumar, the IPS officer who believed in Poorna and saw her talent. Loving the story so much and wanting the world to know about Poorna, Rahul offered directing and even producing the film.
When in an interview Rahul was asked what made him make the film he said,
“ To be poor is one setback. To be a girl is another. Then to be adivasi is a third challenge. A 13-year-old adivasi girl might be able to climb the Everest if she were from the Northeast and grown up in a gritty, mountainous region. But Telengana is as flat as my forehead. Poorna is astonishing, single-minded and determined. She thought of only two things when she reached the summit- “Sir”, her mentor, RS Praveen Kumar, and all the tribal girls who could now hope to reach great heights. In the film, she is being played by Aditi Inamdar, also from Telengana.”
The film is already out in the theaters, yet aren’t you curious to know all about this little girl with unimaginable feats?
Who is Poorna Malavath?
Poorna Malavath comes from a small tribal village called Pakala in Srikonda Mandal of Nizamabad district, Telangana. She comes from a very humble background. Her parents are farm labourers. Reluctant at first, her parents later gave in to Poorna’s dreams. Poorna was selected by the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Schools which is a government organisation. These schools provide free education to underprivileged kids.
After getting selected in her school selections the students were taken to a place called Bonghir in Telangana. In Binghir there is a 750ft rock on which their training was to happen. Poorna was a little girl and she was scared looking at that big rock. As she says,
“I was scared. How to climb this rock?”
It was at Bonghir that she was trained for Rock Climbing, Rappelling, and Bouldering. Her role model RS Praveen Kumar first noticed Poorna at this training session. Poorna was trained at Bhongir by Shekhar Babu Bachinepally who is one from the first individual climbers to climb Mount Everest in 2007.
Next up in her Journey, she was trained at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling. It was a 20 day special course where she learnt to walk on real snow. She learnt ice craft, snow craft and rock craft. A new world opened up to her in Darjeeling when she saw snow for the first time in her life and that is her happiest memory from the training. As she says in one of her talks,
“ This is the first time I saw ice as snow. It felt like heaven. I was the most happiest.”
Poorna and other 19 students became the youngest team to summit the Renock peak in the Kanchenjunga Range during this training. The trainers saw Poorna’s iron strength and decided to motivate her for the Everest Expedition. Of the 20 students from the HMI 5 were selected and taken to Ladakh. Poorna showed exemplary grit in the minus 30 degrees temperature in Ladakh. In Ladakh the villagers leave their houses and shift temporarily because of the winter weather. When they saw Poorna and her team arrive at Ladakh in such weather conditions, they were shocked. As Poorna says,
In the next 15 days Poorna learnt how to adjust in cold weather, how to survive with the gear and everything that is needed to learn. After the Ladakh training, two students were selected for the expedition, Anand Kumar and Poorna Malavath. This is when her real training for the Everest Expedition started.
In the 3 months of training Poorna was trained to be physically and mentally fit. Her training included 25-30 Kms of jogging, exercise, meditation and Yoga. Poorna continued studying along with the three month training. When she came to know that she was going to climb Everest, she had just one goal as she says,
Poorna set out on her journey and reached Everest Base Camp (EBC) on 14th April 2014. They stayed at EBC for 5 days. This is the same year when the deadly avalanche hit Everest killing 16 Sherpas. Nepal has a strict rule for climbers to be above 16 so Poorna attempted Everest from the Tibetan side.
She got news about the avalanche and it was obvious that she would be scared. But no! She felt sad but that did not deter her from believing in herself.
When the avalanche hit the Nepal side, Poorna’s mentor called her back and said to abort the expedition and here’s what Poorna replied,
“ Sir you had said the students from our school have no reverse gear. No Reverse Gear. I will not come back. I will reach my goal and then come back. I have to summit Mt. Everest.”
When Poorna reached the notorious death zone, she came across a dead body for the first time and exactly that’s when her oxygen finished too. In an interview with Mint she recounts her experience saying,
“ It was 5.45 in the morning when I saw the first dead body. Just before that, I had suffered a spell of dizziness, because my oxygen cylinder had run out. I had wanted to sit, but there was no place; the only way was up. Once the oxygen was replaced, I immediately felt better but the sight of the dead body made me shiver, and for the first time I thought, what if something similar happens to me?”
All said and done Poorna showed extraordinary strength and on 25 May 2014 summited the peak becoming the youngest person to do so then.
Poorna is a role model for every girl in this country. She is an example of strength & courage for the marginalized in this country and she’s a winner. As the name of the film says Poorna: Courage has no limits, Yes! Poorna’s courage has no limits.
AdventureN wishes the film and Rahul Bose all the luck for it’s success. We hope the world feels proud and knows who Poorna is.