Chennai

A flying disc ride to success, all the way

power of sport:The film, ‘175 Grams’, speaks of the transformation in the lives of a bunch of teens who might have, but for the flying disc, come to naught —Photo: Special Arrangement  

“After Frisbee, my life is much better,” says Ganesan as he walks from his one-room thatched tenement on to the beach sands.

And then the camera captures a nearly impossible swing of the frisbee as it leaves his hand.

Ganesan and his friends, members of the Fly Wild Ultimate team, are heroes of the short film 175 Grams , which won the 2015 Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

175 Grams tells the story of Fly Wild, a team of frisbee players, including boys from Urur Kuppam by the sea. It is also a tale of motivation, inspiration, following one’s dream and taking people along for the ride.

Arvind Iyer, one of the directors of the film, his first short-film in fact, is over the moon.

“After I met Ramkumar at the Auroville Hat Ultimate event in Puducherry, and heard about the team, I knew it was a story waiting to be told. There was no big plan, but it all fell into place. We were not expecting anything… we sent it off as an entry to the Sundance competition on the recommendation of one of our executive producers, Lokesh B.S. We had only a weekend to shoot it, and no script,” he says.

But the story lifts itself with its touching recreation of the transformation in the lives of a bunch of teens who might have, but for the flying disc, come to naught. As Ganesan says, “I lived aimlessly.”

Ultimate Frisbee worked the magic in his life. As it did for Vel Murugan and Arun, and a team of 10 from the Urur Kuppam slum. ‘Boon’ Ram Kumar merely helped them to throw a frisbee.

“We are among the top three teams, and we play competitively. Even if we have not won a championship, I think we’ve come a long way with the children,” he says.

Mr. Iyer, who speaks for his co-director Bharat Mirle, who is now on his way back from Sundance, says, at the heart of the eight-minute short-film is the crux of Ultimate Frisbee itself — the spirit of the game.

Each one takes the responsibility to play fair, and each team is like a family unit. As Soumya Sridhar says, it’s about playing and growing together. They even help each other with lessons, learning English and building confidence, even as they soar into the skies and dive on to the sands to get their hands at 175 grams of plastic – the frisbee.

Chennai has among the largest number of Ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts, says Manu Karan, president, Chennai Ultimate.

They play during weekends, and in the evenings, on the sands of the beach and bond. For them, the frisbee speaks in a way nothing else does.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 3:20:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-flying-disc-ride-to-success-all-the-way/article6870783.ece

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