It’s like cricket in India. I will compare it to that. It’s a religion there. So, I must say football is a religion here.
‘Kicking from the Corner’ (2015) explores the football culture in Shillong, Meghalaya. Through different narratives, the story weaves football and memories attached to the most popular game in Shillong. It attempts to showcase how football has created a space of entertainment in the local community and how the community has endorsed the game as a culture of its own. It traces the evolution and aspirations of football players from small localities to professional clubs. Overall, the film is an attempt to depict the passion for football in the region and the infatuation of the people involved with it.
Kicking from the Corner is my first independent documentary film. I had dreamt of making a film on football for a very long time. Having grown up in Northeast India, I have played and watched football from my childhood. Some of my earliest memories were of playing football made from clothes & papers to citrus fruits. Till date football is on of my biggest passions.
I got the opportunity to convert my passion into serious work when I did my dissertation on the topic of football and identity as a postgraduate student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences. During the research I found out there is hardly any documentation on sports culture in the Northeastern states. The region is mostly associated with violence and conflict. I also learnt that in India, academicians have largely documented on cricket, probably due to the pre-eminence of cricket in the national imagination since the late seventies. Therefore I wanted to establish the importance of football for the northeastern region. Thus came my urge to make this film.
The initial challenge was figuring out the location in which the documentary was to be made. Many parts of Northeast was not feasible due to its geography or due to high surveillance in conflict infested areas. So finally I zeroed down to Shillong.
People in Shillong are very fond of football. The passion for football can be equated to religion there. It was very rare to find a cricket match being played, but a football match was being played in each field, in every corner of the small State. People collectively go and cheer for their teams. The visuals of the film reflect that football unites the people of Shillong.
Shooting the film was a delightful experience. It is amazing how football has become a part of people’s daily lives. One of my favourite scenes, the best moments captured in camera is when women, while doing their household work, were discussing about the football world cup.
“Kicking from the corner” represents a small part in Northeast India which has a cultural identity distinct from the rest of the country in spite of sub-regional variations in the seven states constituted by it. An aspect of culture that marks it, is the popularity of football across classes as the culture of leisure as opposed to cricket in the greater part of the subcontinent.
A Film By
Rilang Grace & Catherine Kyndiah
Anjali Monteiro & K.P. Jayasankar
Khynriam U Pnar U Bhoi U War
He abides (Khasi Version)
Jim Reeves (This World Is Not My Home)
Traditional Khasi Music
Performed by Students of Snap Paka
Shillong Lajong FC theme Song
SMCS Early Career Fellowship Supported by the Jamsetji Tata Trust 2014