The 'Viceregal Room' of a five-star hotel played host to a unique function on Thursday evening. A docu-drama, by director Sunil Yash Kalra's titled Poor Cousins of Million Dollar Babies celebrating the triumphs of, and problems facing, women's cricket in India, was previewed by an eclectic gathering.
While producer Bava Mahdoom missed the launch, his brother K. Mahdoom welcomed the chief guests which included Minister of State Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rani Mukherjee and writer Jaideep Sahni of Chak De India fame.
Famed Indian women's cricketer Anjum Chopra, one of the two protagonists of the film (the other being team-captain Jhulan Goswami, who was unable to make it to the event), was also present
The seven-minute preview of the documentary brought locker-room footage of the Indian women's team from Lord’s, Eden Gardens and Melbourne Cricket Ground in addition to clips of their top performances in various tournaments.
“This is a self-financed project which I have been working on for four years with Anjum and the girls. It is not a commercial venture but a goodwill gesture to bring to light the achievements and hardships faced by the women's team,” Kalra told HT.
Chopra was enthusiastic about the documentary as well. “What we lack most in comparison to the men's team, even more than the monetary aspect, is the appreciation,” she said. Chopra also said that their scenario was different from women cricketers abroad.
“A lot of us are absored into corporates. However, in England and Australia they are provided definite employment. I would not say we're badly placed, but the situation wavers.”
Questions from the audience were entertained. These ranged from corporate social responsibility to commercial viability of similar movies.
Six-time Olympian Raja Randhir Singh made an appearance as well and lamented India's decision not to field a women's cricket team at this year's Asian Games in China.
“I did not know how to answer the Olympics Committee of Asia as to why India was the only nation not participating,” he said.
The evening came to an end with the launch of the film's poster. Much had been scrutinised, but as Kalra had stated at the start of the show, “much more needs to be done, but tonight is a celebration.” It definitely was.