Each year, 12 Million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 23 girls every minute. In 3 small villages in Rajasthan, an NGO is trying to change this. Through football. 200 teenage girls playing and training regularly. What sets them apart is, almost all of them are child brides. The film explores their sisterhood and journey.
Football has given them the confidence, independence and agency to stand up to the patriarchy and say no to child marriages. Many have fought to get their marriages annulled. Some have staunchly refused to go to the husband’s home.
It’s not all bright and positive though. One of our main characters, Pooja (16) had to get married last November due to family pressure. She still continues to play and even made it to the Ajmer district team.
We explore the world of these villages, where old superstitions, traditions and the quest for a son is still thriving. What happens when someone tries to actively stop a child marriage from taking place. How the mothers are supporting their daughters and don’t want them to have the same life they did.
Living in a very conservative society, what is it like to have found their own little voices and the love for football. It is a feeling of immense pride and joy to see these girls in shorts, running around freely when once they were forced to keep their faces covered under a veil and never step outdoors alone.
What the future holds for these little girls, nobody knows. But for now, they are in charge, they are confident, and they love kicking balls!
Vijayeta Kumar is a film director and writer living in Mumbai. She was born in Ajmer, but grew up in different cities all over India thanks to her father’s job in the para military forces. In all the schools, she fine-tuned her hatred for math and her love for pop-culture, writing and theatre. This led to her studying film at the premier institute AJKMCRC, in New Delhi. She discovered feminism in college. And chauvinism in the city. The common themes in her stories. Right after graduating, she assisted the award winning director Pamela Rooks. And after moving to Mumbai, she assisted several directors on their Hindi feature films and TV commercials. She also discovered her flair for styling and has styled AR Rahman and Priyanka Chopra for a while, for the Oscars, magazine covers etc. Apart from films and fashion, she has also contributed essays and articles to magazines like Conde Nast Traveller, Marie Claire and Femina. She is now an independent Director and writer, making short films, branded content and music videos. She also has two feature film scripts that are in the pitching stage. Her first short film, Blouse won the ’Best Short Film’ award at the NYIFF in 2014. Her latest short, Sunny Side Upar is currently on Netflix as part of an anthology called Zindagi in Short. This film is also one of the first films in India that had an all-women crew. She likes telling stories about women, in the guise of entertainment. Even though that means the reality checks outnumber the pay-checks. Her stories have heart and humour, they make you pause, ponder and smile. She also loves to hire more women technicians on her films.