Photographer Prashant Godbole showcases the latest obsession of Kashmiri youth: football
The Mumbai-based photographer was invited by the state’s first football team, Real Kashmir Football Club and Adidas, to capture this new passion
When one thinks of Kashmir, it’s either pristine vistas that spring to mind or stories of political unrest. But photographer Prashant Godbole, through his latest photo series, reveals a lesser known side of the state. Children of Kashmir are taking to football in a huge way. The Mumbai-based photographer was invited by the state’s first football team, Real Kashmir Football Club and Adidas, to capture this new passion. With his photographs being presented in an exhibition at Rangoli Metro Art Centre this weekend, we speak to the him about his experiences in the valley.
How did the series happen?
I got a call from Adidas and Real Kashmir to capture the state through the lens of football, a lesser known facet of valley. I jumped at the opportunity. The campaign celebrates the passion behind forming the RKFC and making Kashmir the new football destination.
Did you have any reservations about the project?
I was apprehensive initially because of safety concerns. But contrary to what I was hearing and watching on TV, I was able to roam freely. Only one person stopped me and asked what I was doing and when
I told him what I was there for, he laughed said, “Insha Allah, aman aa jaye.” (God willing, may peace prevail).
Which is your favourite picture from the series and why?
I remember this one incident. The film crew was getting ready for shots. Some kids were playing with a football on the road, near a group of commandos who were watching us peacefully. The ball rolled near one of the commandos and he started dribbling. I saw this bring a change in the man in a matter of seconds. It was quite special.
What role does football play in these children’s lives?
Like Goa and West Bengal, football is becoming their religion. In the last decade, brands like Adidas
have consistently invested and created new opportunities to inspire them, as the brand believes in changing lives through sport.
What do you wish to achieve through the exhibition in Bengaluru?
Through this exhibition, we wish to showcase the real side of Kashmir and make the world take notice of the immense football talent the valley possesses.
Until January 27. At Rangoli Metro Art Centre, MG Road