Kolkata: Kerala, where football is a way of life in India, now enjoys a pride of place in the shape of ‘Maitanam,’ a 40-minute documentary as a part of the bouquet on Fifa+ - the newly launched digital streaming platform of the world governing body of the game in the year of the Fifa World Cup. The film has been produced by RISE Worldwide, the sports marketing arm of Reliance Group, owners of IPL franchise Mumbai Indians.
Maitanam, the Malayalam word that literally means ‘ground’ or by extension, stadium, is an ode to the coastal state’s passion and attempts to capture their people’s love for the sport - comprising of six inspirational stories from the state. The timing of the release of the documentary seems perfect with the state - which has given India an assembly line of stars like I.M.Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri, C.V. Pappachan and V.P.Sathyan, has emerged as champions of Santosh Trophy on Monday.
From the state capital Thiruvananthapuram in the extreme south to the commercial capital Kochi to the cultural capital Thrissur — the documentary covers diverse terrains, meeting priests that play barefoot, a women’s team that has been making waves in overseas competitions, little girls training under nonagenarians; and a fascinating football commentator whose passion for the game is manifested in every belly-laugh and anecdote to the game of football in the state of Kerala.
Commenting on the documentary, Andrew Whitelaw, Commissioning Editor & APAC Content Lead, Fifa+ said in a statement: “We are happy to partner with RISE Worldwide as we foray into the Indian market with Maitanam, a docu-film on football set in the football-loving state of Kerala. Fifa+ Originals are aimed at millions of sports fans across the globe. These films throw up unique perspectives on how football is played across geographies and cultures and the place the game commands in the hearts of fans.”
James Rego, Head of Broadcast & Production, RISE Worldwide said: “We thank Fifa for extending this opportunity to showcase the passion for football in parts of India. We are humbled and privileged to bring to the world the extraordinary sway of football across the local grounds and lanes in Kerala in our documentary.
‘‘We take great pleasure in partnering with Fifa+ and look forward to showcasing our production expertise as we connect with billions of football fans across the world. This film marks India’s first step in multilingual indigenous football storytelling.”