For many of us, playing Frisbee is a pastime we usually indulge in during a holiday or in free time. But ask M.Ganesan, and he would beg to differ. Ganesan is part of a growing community of sportsmen and women who play Ultimate Frisbee on the beaches of Chennai on a regular basis. Rewind back a couple of years and things were looking bleak for Ganesan and his friends. As teenagers born in slums, none of them had an aim in life and were floating by, a rather common predicament in most slums. This, however, changed when Chennai Heat, the Ultimate Frisbee tournament came into being.
The sport gives these youngsters a rare opportunity to distance themselves from the daily perils and violence in and around their homes in the slums. The parents of these children hardly earn 200 rupees a day as street vendors. Hence, money related crimes are a regular feature of their locality.
Ram Kumar, is the one who coaches these children and also finances a large part of this vision. Having played various international tournaments, Ram a.k.a Boon, knows exactly what’s required to get the best out of these up-coming players.
However, playing Frisbee is not all that these children do. Every single one is also encouraged to educate themselves. Hence, it’s not all play and no work. They also study habitually, which puts them in a better position to advance towards a college degree, and ultimately a well paying job.
175 Grams is a short film inspired by this story.“When someone from the slums plays the game, they see the world differently and they see the opportunities that lie before them”, says the film’s co-director, Bharat Mirle. 175 Grams, directed by Bharat and Aravind Iyer, was one of the five Short Film Challenge winning movies at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
For these kids from Chennai, playing Frisbee is more than just a sport. It gives them a chance to socialize with kids from different economic and social backgrounds. Everyone’s an equal when running behind “175 grams” of plastic.
Watch full movie here: http://vimeo.com/114920914
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