Docu-drama on women cricketers` struggle and success
New Delhi: After making a mark for themselves on the field, Indian women cricketers Anjum Chopra, Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj have now ventured into uncharted territory -- coming together for a documentary film based on their life both on and off the field.
The 25-minute-long documentary -- Poor Cousins Of Million Dollar Babies -- has been directed by an upcoming sports film-maker Sunil Yash Kalra and takes the viewers through the moments of trials and tribulations, joy and success of these cricketers as they etch there names in the cornerstones of the male dominated world of cricket.
The docu-drama highlights their struggle, hard work and determination to achieve the milestones despite receiving far less attention from cricketing bosses, sponsors and media coverage.
The film which took almost five years to complete peeps into the life of women players and revolves around strong bonding that these cricketers share among them.
"This is my tribute to Indian women cricketers. I just wanted to show an aspect of the cricketers which has never been shown before," said Kalra, who had made programmes on women cricketers on Doordarshan.
Terming the entire narrative as an eye-opening experience, Kalra said the documentary shows that disparity does not play hindrance for these girls and that they play for the country and not for money.
"The documentary shows that these girls, despite the omnipresent disparity in the team, play for pride not for plight," Kalra told reporters.
"We got support from different sporting authorities for the film. I had never imagined that this sort of welcome would be given to the documentary," said the director.
The players themselves were very confident about the film since its beginning and Anjum Chopra, former Indian captain, herself termed the narrative as an "encouraging step".
"Not everyone makes a film on this topic. Very few people do something like this. This is an encouraging step for creating awareness about the Indian women`s team," said Chopra.
The preview of the film was screened for a select audience in Kolkata last year and the response was "overwhelming".
"It feels good to see people taking interest in this type of documentary," said Chopra. 26-year-old Goswami, captain of Indian women cricket team, said she hopes that this documentary creates an awareness among the people and the sporting fraternity to take more interest in the women`s cricket.
"The entire process was inspiring and I hope this creates awareness among the people and the fraternity to take more interest in the game," said Goswami, who is now the fastest female bowler in the world.
Both Chopra and Goswami blamed the lack of awareness and exposure for the current plight of women`s cricket.
"Quite frankly, it is not really the audience`s fault. We do not get good exposure. If you don`t play matches on regular basis, it`s quite obvious that people would not remember you," said Chopra.
"It is true that women cricketers are fading from public consciousness due to lack of exposure. Only those who play well or those who are popular on television are recognised by the public. This documentary hopefully will help people know their women cricketers too," said Goswami.
Both cricketers added that they have always received encouragement and support from their male counterparts.
"I have always played with boys and learned so much about the game. Male players have never been condescending. In fact, they have been more encouraging and supportive," Chopra said.
"They (male cricketers) have always treated us with respect. There has never been a moment when they have treated us less than equals," Goswami said.
The shooting of the documentary was once stopped in between when Kalra failed to find a sponsor. And Bava Mahdoom, a self-made entrepreneur and the director of Naftogaz India, an oil company, offered to produce the narrative.
When asked about his reason behind supporting this project, Mahdoom said, "I just felt that women cricket was not getting the attention it deserves and I decided to do something about it."
"For past few years, women cricketers have been performing consistently well and this documentary is aimed at promoting women cricket all over the country," Mahdoom added.
Kalra, impressed with the response documentary getting, now wishes to take it to the international level.
"I am so pleased by this particular project that I just want to take it to the next level. I want to take it to international film festivals," gushed the director.