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INDIA New England - Published July, 2013
"U.S. filmmaker embarks on journey to document historic soccer rivalry in India"

Accomplished writer, filmmaker, and professor Kelly Candaele has spent much of his professional life spanning the globe in search of fascinating stories. He's worked in Brazil, Australia, Vietnam, Spain, Cuba and Great Britain interviewing scores of prominent elected officials, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to name a few. -read more


East Bengal versus Mohan Bagan Through American eyes

Bengali family
Filmmaker Kelly Candaele, fifth from right, with a Bengali family in New Jersey

Published in India In New York

Los Angeles-based journalist and documentary filmmaker Kelly Candaele is making a documentary on Bengal’s legendary rival soccer clubs, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. 

Over the weekend, Candaele met with about a dozen Bengali soccer aficionados in New Jersey to know more about the clubs and their rivalry that still arouses popular passion back in Bengal.

Candaele, who has written for publications like Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and Salon.com, has just returned from Kolkata where he was shooting the film.

“I met coaches of both clubs,” Candaele told India in New York, “in addition to players and functionaries of the clubs to get a historical perspective of their rivalries since India’s Independence and why and how soccer in Kolkata, especially by these two clubs, came to be part of Bengali culture and tradition. I think it is a fascinating story to tell.”

At the meeting organized by Tapas Sanyal and his wife Arundhati — both soccer enthusiasts — at their Kendall Park, New Jersey home, the guests excitedly shared their feelings and memories in response to questions posed by Candaele.

Dwipen Ghosh, a senior member of Garden State Cultural Association and nephew of Dhiren Dey, who was the Mohun Bagan general secretary in the 1960s and 1970s and organized the visit of Brazilian club Cosmos — starring soccer legend Pele — to Kolkata, fielded questions from Candaele.

“I had a great time talking to people and taking their interviews,” Candaele said. “There were interesting recollections and perspectives by those present. The documentary will trace how history, politics, memory and passion are bound up in this fierce Indian soccer classic.” 

His previous film was about Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. He said although there is no comparison soccer wise between the Kolkata teams and the clubs from Spain, there is similarity in terms of the historic rivalry and the passion.

Candaele, who was fist inspired last year after listening to a BBC report on the Kolkata clubs, said he has studied Indian history, the freedom movement, Bengali culture as well as detailed history of the two clubs, to understand the subject before starting filming. 

“I would like to meet as many Bengalis as possible in the United States,” the filmmaker said, “to get a perspective of both first generation and second-generation Bengalis.”

At Sanyal’s home, there were a few young Bengalis, including Kingshuk Ganguly, a final-year medical student. 

Anyone interested in sharing their views/reflections on East Bengal and Mohun Bagan can reach Kelly Candaele via e-mail: kcandaele@sbcglobal.net


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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