Documentary channel

Teenage girls, football and freedom in documentary ‘Under the Open Sky’

Kicking around a ball never seemed like a better idea in a film about gender and access to public spaces.

It is always heartwarming to see young girls playing a sport, any sport, in a public space. It’s especially more heart-warming when the girls are from Mumbra, routinely described as a Muslim ghetto, and hardly the kind of place that would allow girls in their early teens to shake off their veils and run around a field for a 90-minute football game.

Miracles happen or, as the documentary Under the Open Sky shows, can be manufactured. Egged on by the advocacy of non-governmental organisation Parcham (named after a line in a Majaz Lakhnawi poem), several residents of the Mumbai suburb agreed to send their daughters for weekly football sessions. With Parcham’s sustained efforts and the enthusiasm of the locals, the ground became a laboratory for a much-needed social experiment in allowing women to gain access public spaces and run about freely, just like men do.

The documentary is a collaboration between the School of Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Parcham, and it falls firmly in the NGO showcase category. Yet, Under the Open Sky, directed by Faiz Ullah, Shilpa Phadke (who has co-authored the book Why Loiter?) and Nikhil Titus, transcends its need to highlight Parcham’s campaign. The 35-minute film makes several important points about the lack of access of middle- and working-class girls from all faiths and communities to grounds, parks and other open spaces. Under the Open Sky happens to be about Muslim girls, but it is also the story of any community group.

The film underscores the need for constant negotiation – with parents, the girls themselves, local municipal authorities, even the local boys who regarded the ground as their territory. Once on the ground, the girls need to be coaxed into being freer with their bodies and their lungs. As one of the coaches interviewed in the film points out, girls are taught to be submissive and dainty. They are constantly being told to rein themselves in. Under the Open Sky is proof that they actually need to be set free.

Play
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Can a colour encourage creativity and innovation?

The story behind the universally favoured colour - blue.

It was sought after by many artists. It was searched for in the skies and deep oceans. It was the colour blue. Found rarely as a pigment in nature, it was once more precious than gold. It was only after the discovery of a semi-precious rock, lapis lazuli, that Egyptians could extract this rare pigment.

For centuries, lapis lazuli was the only source of Ultramarine, a colour whose name translated to ‘beyond the sea’. The challenges associated with importing the stone made it exclusive to the Egyptian kingdom. The colour became commonly available only after the invention of a synthetic alternative known as ‘French Ultramarine’.

It’s no surprise that this rare colour that inspired artists in the 1900s, is still regarded as the as the colour of innovation in the 21st century. The story of discovery and creation of blue symbolizes attaining the unattainable.

It took scientists decades of trying to create the elusive ‘Blue Rose’. And the fascination with blue didn’t end there. When Sir John Herschel, the famous scientist and astronomer, tried to create copies of his notes; he discovered ‘Cyanotype’ or ‘Blueprints’, an invention that revolutionized architecture. The story of how a rugged, indigo fabric called ‘Denim’ became the choice for workmen in newly formed America and then a fashion sensation, is known to all. In each of these instances of breakthrough and innovation, the colour blue has had a significant influence.

In 2009, the University of British Columbia, conducted tests with 600 participants to see how cognitive performance varies when people see red or blue. While the red groups did better on recall and attention to detail, blue groups did better on tests requiring invention and imagination. The study proved that the colour blue boosts our ability to think creatively; reaffirming the notion that blue is the colour of innovation.

When we talk about innovation and exclusivity, the brand that takes us by surprise is NEXA. Since its inception, the brand has left no stone unturned to create excusive experiences for its audience. In the search for a colour that represents its spirit of innovation and communicates its determination to constantly evolve, NEXA created its own signature blue: NEXA Blue. The creation of a signature color was an endeavor to bring something exclusive and innovative to NEXA customers. This is the story of the creation, inspiration and passion behind NEXA:

Play

To know more about NEXA, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.