A FIGHTING SPIRIT

Cinematography: Francesco Pistilli and Alice Sassu

Editing: Alice Sassu

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In India, young women are beginning to see boxing as a way to advance in life. This is the story of two female boxers, one Muslim and one Hindu, and how boxing has had an impact on their personal lives, their self-worth, and their aspirations for their communities and society.
In 2011 there were around 200 female boxers in India, and the Muslim communities of West Bengal contribute about 55 per cent of the total. This would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.
Asit Banerjee, the president of the South Calcutta Physical Cultural Association began a campaign for women’s participation in the sport at a meeting of the Indian Boxing Federation in 1998. Now, women boxers have already made an impact on India, and light-flyweight Mary Kom won a world boxing championship in 2003. In recent years, Banerjee has carried out a social experiment in Ekbalpore, and its neighboring Muslim ghettos by bringing together men and women, Hindus and Muslims, to box.The result: social and religious prejudices appear to crumble.