Of Grit and Grace: Alum Alka Raghuram Debuts Feature Film 'Burqa Boxers'

Thursday, November 19, 2015
Image of female wearing boxing gloves

THE HINDU (CHENNAI, INDIA) -- At a time when the intolerance debate is threatening to bring even neutral players into the ring and Islam is being painted as the religion of the primordial, Razia Shabnam is a glorious exception. A practicing Muslim, the Kolkata girl is a boxing coach and one of the three international women referees from the country.

Now Alka Raghuram has captured her trials and triumphs in the documentary Burqa Boxers. Alka says in the early to mid-2000s, the women boxers from Khidirpur (the Muslim dominated neighborhood of Kolkata) received a lot of press.

“I was curious to know more about them. I grew up in Indore, a small town, and I know how difficult it is to break the mould of convention, especially for girls,” Raghuram says. “The stories made me want to find out about their journey.” A painter and a filmmaker, Alka pursued a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from San Francisco State University and has made several short fiction and experimental films.