Five time World Champion boxer Mary Kom may be India’s best hope for Olympic gold at the 2012 Games. Ameesha Joshi wants to help tell her story.
Ameesha is one of two documentary filmmakers who has been following the Indian women’s boxing team for 6 years now. Their story will end in just a few days at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where Mary Kom could be the first Indian woman ever to go home with the gold.
Co-director and Cinematographer Anna Sarkissian is in Liverpool right now with Mary Kom for her final days of training.
Be a part of Olympic Boxing history
Joshi and Sarkissian have launched an online campaign through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help raise money to pay for post-production for their film, and as of today have only two weeks remaining in which to raise $17,500.
The 35-strong Indian women’s national boxing team trains year-round, six days a week in blistering heat and heavy downpours. As you can imagine, women’s boxing is neither popular nor widely accepted in India, where many women are pressured to marry and abandon their career aspirations.
With This Ring
The film Ameesha and Sarkissian are making is called With This Ring, and it goes inside the training camps and into the boxers’ lives as they push their bodies to the limit and strive to balance their responsibilities as dutiful daughters, wives, and as in Mary Kom’s case, mothers.
“The topic fascinated us for many reasons,” said Joshi, co-director of the film. “India has some of the best women boxers in the world. They have risen to the top from very humble circumstances.”
“Although I grew up in Canada, my parents emigrated from India and I’m aware of the cultural expectations and could imagine some of the criticism these woman would’ve faced. We knew we had found some extraordinary trailblazers and their inspirational stories needed to be shared.”
Cinematographer and co-director Sarkissian expressed similar thoughts. “I’ve always been really interested in stories that would otherwise be overlooked or forgotten,” she commented.
“As for what intrigues me about these women: they are so unique, and yet unassuming. For a long time, they didn’t really understand why we were interested in filming them. Despite a few perks, they live tough lives, and train in difficult conditions to pursue a sport that many might consider laughable. I have profound respect for the amount of discipline, physical and mental strength that boxing requires and am in awe of their dedication.”
When the two started this project six years ago, several of these Indian women were ranked #1 in the world – and yet they were completely unknown.
Now Mary Kom is leading the charge to the London 2012 Games in the hopes of bringing home gold and gaining the respect of her fellow Indians.
And maybe even changing the way society thinks about women’s boxing.