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Zaffar And Tudu preview: A tale of rugby, challenges and self-discovery


Director Kavita Carneiro takes an unusual story of two underdogs to present a realistic documentary on how rugby changes their life.

Blessy Chettiar

Director Kavita Carneiro takes an unusual story of two underdogs to present a realistic documentary on how rugby changes their life.

Afghanistan-born Indian Zaffar Khan and tribal Santhal boy Sailen Tudu from West Bengal get interested in a weirdly shaped ball and find themselves drawn to a game. Rugby is not a popular sport in the country, and director Carneiro’s film is not about rugby.

The documentary shows the boys winning a scholarship and heading to the UK to study and to play rugby. Their bonding with their English families is heart-warming. The real story, however, begins after they return to India.

Director Carneiro uses their life in the UK only as a background and quickly moves to track their lives after a fruitful association with rugby in the UK.

Khan’s identity crisis of being Indian or Afghan forms the core of his story. He heads to Afghanistan to train a team. “Going back to my roots,” he says. For him this journey is one of dedication, perseverance and self-discovery.

Tudu, who hails from the tribal Dhangaam village in West Bengal, takes it upon himself to teach rugby to the children in the village whose other favourite pastime is hunting and roasting rodents. He knows where he hails from, and is never pompous of his three-year UK stint, but uses the confidence to lead a life of purpose. He goes to trains Santhals in Jharkhand as part of the Khelo Rugby initiative.

The film offers three very good reasons to watch it:

1) It’s a tale of self-discovery and perseverance.
2) Khan and Tudu make for interesting subjects with great screen presence.
3) You get a tour of parts of Afghanistan, and a peek into tribal Santhali life.

Zaffar And Tudu will be screened at IAWRT India's Asian Women's Film Festival at the India International Centre, New Delhi, on Wednesday 7 March 2018 at 3:45 pm.

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IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival