Struggles and triumphs of Indian eves have been captured in a docu-drama, writes
WHEN a Mumbai-based corporate offered to colour Ray’s masterpiece, Pather Panchali in 2008, directors, artistes and technicians from Kolkata starting from Mrinal Sen to Goutam Ghosh to Prasenjit openly came out on the streets protesting such a move and supporting Ray’s son Sandip Ray in preventing the colourisation of the classic.
Sensing danger, the corporate moved back. Hollywood icons like Sir Richard Attenborough, Martin Scorsese and Meryl Streep, too, criticised efforts to colour any of Ray’s black and white films.
They get ` 2,500 per match and often travel in unreserved train compartments. When the Indian women’s cricket team played the 2005 World Cup finals in South Africa, cricket historian Sunil Yash Kalra decided to make a docu-drama on their lives, highlighting their struggles and triumphs.
Poor Cousins of Million Dollar Babies is Kalra’s way of conveying how just the passion for the sport drives the women’s cricket team without receiving the perks that are showered on the men’s team.
"I’ve been following women’s cricket for many years now. They achieved milestones even before the men did. But it is just for the passion for cricket and love for their country that they continue to play. It is just fantastic," says Kalra.
"If a male cricketer receives ` 2,50,000 for a match, a female player gets ` 2,500. They travel for their matches in unreserved compartments. It is nothing comparable; still they are happy to play, and this is what I wish to highlight in the film," he adds.
Researched, scripted and filmed by Kalra, the docu-drama also captures the camaraderie between former captain Anjum Chopra and current skipper Jhulan Goswami, and former vice-captain Rumeli Dhar and present vice-captain Amita Sharma.
The 27-minute film was shot over a span of four years in South Africa, Australia, England, West Indies and India, and includes footage from various matches as well as even from the girls’ changing room.
"My film primarily highlights the inter-personal relationships between the players, their thrill of playing for India, their feeling when they played at the Lord’s stadium and other such moments," explains Kalra, who wants the film to travel to various international film festivals.
Though the project has been ready for a long time, he couldn’t find any sponsors for it. Now Bava Mahdoom, director of Naftogaz India, a contractor in the oil and gas business, has come forward to sponsor it and wants to ensure that it "reaches the audience and the right people".
Says Mahdoom: "I am not getting into any mainstream film production with this documentary. It is the best I could do to promote women’s cricket in the country. It is like a social cause for me. Women’s cricket is going unnoticed, and I think video communication of their issues will help boost their morale as well as (change) the sports authorities’ way of looking at them."
Anjum Chopra, who has played for India for the past 15 years, was also actively involved in the making of Poor Cousins of Million Dollar Babies and feels the presence of a sponsor will "give a fillip to the project".
"We are ranked third in the world for women’s cricket and, honestly, that isn’t bad. We like being part of the Indian team and enjoy playing the sport. Chak De! India brought focus to women’s hockey in India. I hope our film, in its own little way, catches the attention of many people," 33-year-old Anjum adds.
What excites Jhulan Goswami most about the film is that it captures the many moods of the girls off the field.
"Not many people know how much fun we have together. Amita is a constant source of laughter for all of us because she keeps cracking jokes and makes a tense moment very light..."
"Anjum is our senior. We have learnt a lot from her, but she is also a very great friend off the field. This side of us has never been shown, besides all the inside footage that the media never has," says Goswami.
While hoping that Poor
Cousins of Million Dollar Babies is received well at film
festivals, Goswami is also nurturing a special wish of the Indian
women’s cricket team lifting the World Cup when it takes place next
in India in 2013. — IANS