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I want people from around the world to know about this film and about Bengali history and culture.

About the Film

Mohun Began and East Bengal – A Great Football Rivalry
One of the greatest, and most overlooked, football rivalries in the world takes place in Calcutta (Kolkata), India between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.  The two teams, which play each other in the 120,000 capacity Salt Lake Stadium, have deeply loyal fans and deep traditions that embody the history, culture and social life of the region.  When they play each other, it is unpredictable what will happen.  But what is clear is that the intensity of the conflict in unmatched anywhere in the world. This sixty-minute documentary film will take a close-up look at the remarkable story of these two teams by following the players, team officials, and the fans as they prepare for one of their epic games. 

You cannot understand the history of football in Kolkata without examining the history of India and the history of Bengal.   According to sports historians Boria Majumdar and Kausik Bandyopadhyay, football in Bengal is bound up with the history of India, inseparable from  the struggle against British colonialism or from the trauma of partition. 
It was in 1911 that the Mohun Bagan team defeated a British regimental squad in the Indian Football Association Shield final thereby sending a message throughout India that Bengali athletes could defeat the British on the sports playing fields – and eventually earn their political freedom.   The documentary looks at that seminal event and how it influenced Bengali political developments and gave a psychological boost to the Indian nationalist movement.
The film also examines the impact of Partition in 1947 – at the same time that India was gaining its independence – and how that trauma shaped the history of Kolkata as well as the evolution of the East Bengal Club. 
Special attention will be paid to the deep memories that people carry with them of growing up in Kolkata and devoting at least a part of their social energy to supporting their favorite club.   The stories that people tell are the narratives that help them make sense of their past and to integrate those memories into their understanding of where they came from.  
We will also integrate the Bengali community in the United States in the telling of this story.   Bengalis from across the country work through their community and social organizations to preserve their culture.   Part of that culture is the intense cultural and athletic rivalry between these two clubs.  From Los Angeles, to New Jersey, to Toronto, Canada, the memories of the Bengali diaspora are important touchstones of how a community of memory is created and sustained. 

The two teams don’t exist without the fans, without the devotion, without the passion.   The film takes a close up look at the rituals and commitment of the Mohun Bagan and East Bengal fans.   We follow two fans as they prepare for the game, travel to Salt Lake Stadium to cheer their team, and celebrate or mourn after the game    A big part of this story is personal, what it means to make one of these teams a central part of your existence. 
Kolkata the City
A central character in this film is the city of Kolkata itself – the dynamic energy that drives daily life here.   A center of Indian culture, the film will look at every part of the city and the people and movements that have made Kolkata an artistic and intellectual center.     Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, historians, writers and scholars – will demonstrate why we need to move beyond the simple clichés about Kolkata. 
In February 2013, Director and Producer Kelly Candaele traveled to Kolkata to explore the city, shoot for twelve straight days, and to attend a match between the two teams.   He traveled to every part of the city and interviewed some of the most eminent historians of Bengal. 

THANK you!

We have worked on this film for close to two years.  Along the way I received help from many Bengalis who took the time to support us and even opened their homes to us.  I wanted to thank everyone who helped make this film possible.     - Kelly Candaele -  

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