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A still from A Sticky Wicket

A still from A Sticky Wicket  

Why Yasmin Kidwai and Fazal Kidwai’s documentary, A Sticky Wicket, will always be relevant, even after Women's Day

On the face of it, A Sticky Wicket is yet another tale of the underdogs seeking glory against all odds. Produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust, the 48-minute film follows a group of gutsy girls in Delhi’s crime-infested Shahbad Dairy area, who are trying to change things around them by excelling on the cricket pitch. They are not seeking overnight success; they know they are in for a long haul, but aren't ready to give up. Edited excerpts from a conversation with co-director Yasmin Kidwai.

What does cricket mean to the girls?

Cricket is the catalyst for the change in their lives. Any sport could have the potential to do this too. Playing a sport and everything that comes with it — team support, a sense of purpose, endorphins, the joy of just playing, accepting that it's worth the fight — all this has collectively changed their lives. Of course, they still have to live their lives, their everyday reality, but cricket is making it easier to live those lives. The empowerment they now feel, or their ability to question is the amazing thing. Whether they become professionals or not, the point is that they have a goal. They have hope and they are happily playing the sport. Their actions are bringing about a change in the attitudes of not just their families, but of their neighbourhood and community too.

Tell us about some of the girls.

The founder of Saksham (Santlal who runs the cricket programme) — the coach — is fascinating. With no money, no support, his belief to get girls to play cricket is amazing. Imagine how difficult it would have been for him to get the idea initially and try to implement it. Nisha and the other girls are all inspirational. They have taken to sports like fish to water. Their innocence and belief have changed them.

What was the catalyst for the film?

It was after my election as a municipal counsellor. I was in the thick of things and even seriously wondering whether my responsibilities would give me the time and space to continue as a documentary filmmaker — that’s when I came across this story of Shahbad Dairy, an urban slum on the outskirts of Delhi, where the girls had no toilets to go to. So they would not be given food after 2 p.m. I was quite moved by this story. When I went to meet the girls, I came across this cricket programme.

What were your takeaways as a film- and policy-maker?

As a filmmaker and a policymaker, this film gives me hope that access and opportunity can bring about small big changes — one needs to have the right intention.

How can we watch it?

There is a screening lined up at the India International Centre later this month. Schools and institutions have been approaching us for screenings and we arrange these with a talk by the girls themselves. Contact us at 9899091222 or springboxfilms@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 9:13:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/opening-a-window/article26495738.ece

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