Football scores at the box office in cricket-mad India

Andrew Buncombe in The Independent:

One hundred years ago, a team of barefoot Indians from the city of Kolkata defeated a properly equipped squad of British soldiers from the East Yorkshire Regiment and won a national cup. Popular belief – though not the historical record – has it that such was the anger and embarrassment felt by the defeated British establishment that it was the final straw that made them decide to shift the imperial capital to Delhi.

Now, after five years of work by first-time director Arun Roy, a film about the football match between the regimental team and Kolkata side Mohun Bagan has just been released. Already it has been showing to packed houses in West Bengal and the production team is currently finishing work to dub a soundtrack into Hindi. Mr Roy’s hope is that when audiences in other parts of the country go to see Egaro, or The Eleven, people will be so inspired by the Indian team’s 2-1 victory over the dastardly British that they will become fans of the game.

“It used to be that India played very good football, but now it is not the case. In world football India’s doesn’t exist,” said Mr Roy, from Kolkata. “I am hoping that people will get involved?It took five years to produce. Normally in our film industry, the films have singing and dancing or else are a love story. This has none of that. There’s not even a heroine.” More:

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