May 12, 2015

Documentary on Indian basketball star Prashanti Singh shortlisted for National student film award

Prashanti Singh - the former captain of India's Senior Women's team and one of the four 'Singh Sisters' to have taken women's hoops in India by storm over the past decade - was the subject of the recent documentary 'BA3 - Bosky, Basketball, Banaras' by Akshay Luthra of the Asian School of Media Studies. It was recently announced that the documentary has been shortlisted by the National Students' Film Awards (NSFA).

The documentary, which is just under 25 minutes long, charts the story of Singh - known popularly as 'Bosky' among friends and fans - as she picked up the game of basketball in her hometown of Varanasi (or Banaras) and rode passion all the way to India's national team, leading as captain and delivering India to some of their biggest recent victories. The journey also touches on Singh's struggles to be taken seriously as an Indian women choosing sport against tradition and her rebound after being shockingly dropped by the national team selectors.

Until recently, the documentary was available to be watched freely on YouTube, but the uploaders have since removed it.

Singh's origin story is like that of many others of India's elite women athletes that come from small towns and lower income households. In her case, the story sees her climbing all the way to the top of the totem pole and become one of India's best players. Among other highlights, the documentary focuses on how Singh fought against society as a woman in Varanasi to become an elite basketball player. Her sisters - Pratima, Akanksha, and Divya, all of whom played national or international level basketball for India, too - are featured too: they discuss their family background and how a supportive mother helped them achieve their dreams.

Several of Prashanti Singh's coaches - past and present - also speak in the documentary about the shooting guard's tireless work ethic and will to become the best.

"Basketball is my life, it means everything to me," Singh says of the game that made her, and she also discusses the heavy weight of leadership when she served as India's captain. There is some in-depth discussion of her greatest performances, including the time she led India to a huge upset victory over Korea at the William Jones Cup in 2011.

In 2012, Singh was the center of some controversy when she was surprisingly cut from the national side. The documentary digs out the reason behind this controversial decision and Singh's own reaction to it. She talks about her thoughts of quitting the game, and how her passion for the same game kept her fighting for a rebound opportunity back to the national squad.

The documentary provides many moments of unintentional comedy, all coming from the voice-over narrator and his quirky choice of words. Nevertheless, it can prove inspirational as Singh looks to be a role model to future Indian players. This NSFA nomination will help shine the light further on the player and on Indian basketball as a whole.

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