In the present gloomy scenario of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a recently released Odia documentary ‘The Mountain Hockey’ is making waves amongst viewers. Even after being a trailblazer in many ways, the makers of this documentary worked day and night to bring this passion project to fruition. Now that this documentary has reached its destination with its glorious release on the prestigious OTT platform Disney Hotstar, let’s journey through its making process & meet its passionate warriors.
It all started when Avinash Pradhan, a mass communication student from Birla Global University, Bhubaneswar, got to know about a school in his hometown, Sambalpur, that provided hockey coaching to the students. Curiosity led him to have a conversation with the coach himself, which further led to even more revelations. The coach informed him about a tribal village called Amlikhaman, located in the mountains of Sambalpur. Around 400-500 girls were preparing for State & National level matches, led by a Christian priest- Father Rajendra Kujur in this village.
Avinash, who had been enthusiastic about sports since his childhood, was moved by the story of these girls. Anvinash’s father claims that he had been a very good hockey player in his childhood, but couldn’t pursue it as a career due to financial straits & lack of guidance. Noticing the same situation in Sambalpur, Avinash decided to highlight this issue through a documentary.
Avinash shared these developments with his friend & co-director of his previous documentaries, Debashish Mohapatra & they decided to visit the said village & research about it.
Debashish Mahopatra had met Avinash unexpectedly one day. Debashish had been a senior of Avinash at their alma mater. Moved by the idea of this documentary, they both proceeded towards the location. The journey was difficult, but they decided to continue their research for one and a half month. After their return, they pooled their personal savings & planned a twenty-day shooting schedule. They were accompanied by two more guys, amongst whom was Brajaraz Behera who would capture it all for them on his camera.
Avinash & Debashish’s fascination for hockey project had its genesis in the scintillating atmosphere of the grand Hockey World Cup, held in the capital city of Bhubaneswar in Odisha in 2018. They hovered around the stadium like a moth & managed to get tickets for two matches, which left them open-mouthed. They wanted to present this image of hockey through cinema. Making a feature length film on Hockey was out of question, as nobody would entrust them with the vast amount of budget required for the subject. After much deliberation, they decided to make a documentary on it.
Recently released Odia documentary ‘The Mountain Hockey’ is making waves amongst viewers.
Being in dire need of financial support, they turned to Subrajit Pradhan for help. He financially & morally supports youngsters who come up with innovative & creative stuff to ensure that they don’t get stuck due to paucity of funds. With his financial assistance, the team was able to complete the editing & sound post-production.
As Covid-19 pandemic continued, the team found themselves at their wit’s end and struggled to land a platform to showcase their labour of love. They approached various OTT platforms both at state level & national level, but nothing seemed to work out. Finally, Raj Kishor Hota appeared as a beacon of light which took their product of passion to its rightful platform.
After recognising the raw, organic vision of ‘The Mountain Hockey’, Raj Kishor assured the team members that he would take the documentary to a prestigious OTT platform. The immense hard work by warriors of ‘The Mountain Hockey’ team, finally bore success when it released on Disney Hotstar on 4th June 2021.