Sunday, August 31, 2008

Punches n Ponytails
a film on women boxing in India
(74 min/DV/2008)
The film is a journey into the sweet science of boxing being practiced by two Indian women. The film unfolds with them as they wrestle with their day to day existence of being a boxer and the conflicts that surround them. While one of the boxers, is facing hardships to become a champion, the other struggles with the limitations of her own body and need to prove that she too can box like her brother. Using cinema verité style and shot over a period of two and half years, the film articulates the boxers concerns and share experiences and ideas about their future.

Director’s Statement
I read a very small article on the sports page of a mainstream newspaper mentioning that a woman boxer from India had become the world champion. I was taken aback. I wondered why people were not talking about her or why there have been no films made on women boxing in India . I set out looking for answers … From Dec’04 to May’07, I shot with two woman boxers as they tried to understand their bodies, their undying love for the sport and their constant struggle to realize their dreams. It was not important for me whether the two boxers won or lost, what was important was their negotiations with people and forces around them. The question for women boxers determined to stay in the game was not ‘why?’ but instead, as I came to ask myself in this film, ‘why not?’

Produced with support from Jan Vrijman Fund and Gothenburg Film festival Fund. Additional support: MAJLIS and SARAI.   The film had its world premiere at Göteborg festival in Jan’08. Screened at IDFA (Amsterdam), MIAAC (New York), 'Bollywood and Beyond' (Stuttgart), DOKFEST (Munich), SANFIC (Chile), FSA (Kathmandu), and Torino GLBT Film festival.

At first glance, it might seem like just an exotic, quaint curiosity, but this documentary about female boxing in India is surprisingly candid and heartfelt. ......Instead of concerning himself with whether they won or lost the bouts, the director wanted to portray the love these young women have for the sport; their doubts and fears about the future, and their efforts to make their dreams comes true..... (SANFIC, CHILE)

....what emerges is a poignant study of two young women as they pursue their dreams, cope with setbacks, and confront their different sexualities--made even more poignant by the fact that, in the end, neither of them achieve success and both swallow up into the dark anonymity of the small town. However, one surprising winner in this testimony is the mobile phone, as we watch lives being mapped out by the recurring intrusions of ring tones .... (Asha Kasbekar, Business India)

Two young Indian women would like nothing better than becoming professional boxers ... But in conservative India, this dream implicates a fight against prejudice and disapproval, particularly from men ....The boxing scenes in Punches 'n Ponytails are dazzling. The camera makes the same fast movements as the boxing girls, while the editing has an equally speedy tempo.... IDFA (Amsterdam)
Two young women, dream of becoming professional boxers. But these girls don’t just box; they fight against the expectations of their families and of a conservative, patriarchal society, where fierce displays of aggression are not considered to be becoming of young females... Over the course of two and a half years, the director’s camera is a confidante for both of these young fighters. In a cinema verité style, Pankaj Rishi Kumar reveals their desires and doubts, their victories and struggles, both inside and outside of the ring. ... Munich Dokfest  
Production Company- KUMAR TALKIES
Producer/Director/Camera/Editing - Pankaj Rishi Kumar
Associate Director/Executive Producer - Tangella Madhavi
Sound - Pankaj Rishi Kumar, Tangella Madhavi & Pritam das
Music - Sourav Roy, Chiradip Das gupta

Institutional DVD sale price: USD 350, contact


At 12:23 AM, Blogger Bijoy Ramachandran said...

Dear Pankaj,
It was good to meet you in New York. Hope you liked our film, 'Doshi'. Hope your trip in the US is going well. Do write back to me with your comments -

At 2:41 AM, Anonymous Vidya said...

hi pankaj,

Saw ur documentary Kumar Talkies on NDTV the other day. Enjoyed it! I liked the fact that almost before every shot you let the viewer know where you stood. The best part of the docu was its subjectivity...


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