All Disability Initiative Inspiring Sports

Meet the amazing blind footballers of India





[aesop_content color=”#ffffff” background=”#ffffff” component_width=”700px” columns=”1″ position=”left” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]Not only does India have a blind football team, it actually ranks better (global rank) than India’s regular football team*! 🙂 This is their story! And it’s amazing! Some time last year (2016), I stumbled upon the website of Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) and was amazed to discover that blind people played football and all that! This was such a cool discovery! I immediately sensed a story that could be told and wrote to Sunil right away. He was the Sporting Director at IBFF. He informed me that the first international blind football tournament in India, had just concluded and if only he had known me earlier, I could have shot that and made some film! 🙁 But well, what was done was done! To my delight, Sunil said he was in the process of organizing the next tournament. It would take place in the next few months and I could probably shoot that. And then, finally that tournament happened. Last month. I travelled to Kochi to be there on the last two days of the tournament and made this film.


Because of my friendship with Divyanshu (he is blind too) when I made a film about his Himalayan cycling adventure last year, I have a relatively better understanding of how most blind folks expect the sighted world to act (compared to someone who has never properly spent time with a blind person). From whatever little I understand, most blind people never feel bad about their disability (to see) – it’s just a part of who they are. Most of their struggles are not because of their disability – it’s usually because the world in which they live is simply poorly designed to take care of their needs.

Most blind people never feel bad about their disability (to see) – it’s just a part of who they are.

I carried this attitude and understanding during my interaction with all the players. And I hope that shows in the film. This film is not so much about blindness. It is more about a new kind of sport in which India really has a chance to do something big at international level.

Dehradun team members taking a break. They would play against Kerala in the final match in the evening.

I had kind of pre-decided that I would focus on two protagonists – one from each of the two teams that reach the final, and make this film like a typical sports film where both sides want to win. And use that framework to bring out the story of how this sport is growing in India; who is behind it.

Dehradun team gearing up for the final match with Kerala.
Team Dehradun
Team Kerala
Tushar, a player from Mumbai (partially sighted), took this picture. You can see a blurry me (blue tshirt) behind the players. The final match is about to begin.

I know it’s not a three minute story. It’s an eight minute story. 🙂 But I hope after you have seen it, you do agree that there is nothing that need not be told. I already skipped the whole part where Pankaj, Anish and Falhan explained to me how they got into football. Everything that’s in the final film, I believe should be there.

I congratulate Dehradun on the win and hope that Sunil and IBFF are able to secure consistent funding / sponsorship for the next few years so that they can improve the quality of the game and hopefully get team India to make our country famous internationally. Share this story, if you like it. More the number of people who know and care about this sport, the better!

*Indian Blind Football world ranking is 25 (source) while the regular football ranking is around 100.

All Organization Sports

Why Indian football players generally suck and what is being done about it!

This is the story of two sportsmen in Bangalore who are trying to build an Indian football team competent enough to face international leagues. And there is a reason why it’s not an easy task. Watch the story to understand that.

It is interesting the way I got to make this story. Sometime last year, an international media agency was looking for Indian film-makers to find and shoot football and cricket related inspiring stories. I tried to pitch in and put up a Facebook post asking friends to connect me to anyone who was doing something for these sports. The post got shared here and there and that’s how Sharath found out about me. He told me about what he had been upto and one day I flew to Bangalore to shoot this. By then the international agency’s deal had been shelved, but I was cool with doing this on my own anyway. It was great to meet Sharath and Abhishek at Abhishek’s training centre. Unfortunately nothing could be scheduled for me to shoot in a football ground while I was in Bangalore so it took me a while to finish this story (Sharath eventually shot and shared some football ground footage to me – which you see in this video-story). I hope you liked this story. If you know of people / organizations whose story should be brought out – do let me know.

Inspiring Personal life Sports Woman-power

Watch this Indian woman shake up the masculine world of motorsports!

This is the story of Anitha Kholay, the first woman from India to participate and win in any international car rally. Some time in Nov last year (2016), my friend Prachi, a journalist, shared Anitha’s story with me over email. Prachi knew I was looking for sports related stories and thought this might be of interest to me. And that’s how things got started. I wrote to Anitha. We then spoke and then one fine day in December I was shooting her. All of it was shot in a day in Bangalore.

Those who know little about the sports of car-rallying (like I did before I met Anitha and her husband Rupesh), you can read about APRC (Asia Pacific Rally Championship) here. To win the championship, you have to secure maximum wins in all the rounds. Each round is typically held in a different location (spanning different countries). The one in which Anitha participated was one such round, held in Johor in Malaysia. Other rounds were held in New Zealand, China, Japan and India. And that’s what Anitha is aiming to get her hand at (in one of the coming years) – to drive in all the rounds, and with a more powerful car than what she could have access to in her first international rally.

I hope the gender balance in not just motorsports, but in many other male dominated sports as well, improves. Anitha’s story is definitely a step in that direction. I wish her success in her plans for bigger wins.

PS: you can also watch my Vlog below, where I travel to Bangalore for shooting this story (and another one).