kashmir photography Art

Ball of a time, in Prashant Godbole’s photos

Kashmir’s association with football is different. There, it attains the power of hope and change, something Prashant Godbole was clearly able to reflect in his images. Adidas and Real Kashmir FCare had organised the exhibition #TheRealKashmir, showcasing some of these imagesat the Rangoli Metro Art Centre in Bengaluru, recently.

The frames had the famed Dal Lake, the snow-capped mountains, the green valley, the armed forces and the LoC but also the football, present in each one of them.

Ball of a time, in Prashant Godbole’s photos

Evocative images by Prashant — children playing football in the narrow bylanes, a player along the LoC playing a shot, a group of children running across a stream with a football in hand; a gunman trying a shot - presented an unknown side of the Valley to the viewers.

The photographer managed to get several candid shots while accompanying the film crew that had gone to shoot the short film #TheRealKashmir.

“There's so much to Kashmir than just what is discussed. I have heard that football has always had a stronghold in Kashmir but somewhere along the way, things changed but now it's back. The emergence and the performance of Real Kashmir FC have really enthused people. Danish (Danish Farooq) is scoring one goal after another,” says Prashant.

Ball of a time, in Prashant Godbole’s photos

Beginning a rebellion

The shot that has gone viral was also played on a loop in the exhibition premises. Afshan Ashiq, the first woman footballer from J&K says, “Looking at these photos gave me goosebumps. It really presents real Kashmir. Kashmir is not about violence.”

Afshan's incredible journey as a sportsperson has also inspired a biopic Hope Solo featuring Athiya Shetty. The project is in the making. In 2016, a photo of Afshan pelting stones at J&K Police in a blue salwar-kameez and dupatta covering her face brought her into the limelight.

Ball of a time, in Prashant Godbole’s photos

Afshan was inspired by her aunt, a former national-level weightlifter who couldn’t pursue the sport due to family pressure. “I wanted to play for them and also for other women who want to play but don’t get support. In Kashmir, I trained with boys because I was the only woman playing football at that time. My family was upset initially but I couldn't let go of the opportunity when I got a call from Mumbai. I just packed my bags and left home,” says Afshan, now a goalkeeper for the Premier India Football Academy in Mumbai.

She also feels that the craze for football is back in a big way. “People are watching and playing it.”

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 10:21:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/bangalore-exhibition-ball-of-a-time-prashant-godbole-kashmir-photography-football-adidas/article26137780.ece

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