SUNAKALI, a documentary about a women's soccer team from Mugu in Western Nepal and its journey to the national championship.
This is a film about how a girl’s passion for football helps her pursue her dream and break free from the fate of most girls in her village.
Mugu in Western Nepal is one of the least developed regions in Nepal. According to the 2011 Nepal Census, 90% of women in Mugu are illiterate. Set against the harsh but beautiful backdrop of the region, Sunakali is an uplifting documentary of Mugu's women's soccer team and its journey to the national championship.
Sunakali Budha, a 13 year-old girl in the remote district of Mugu, saw football for the first time in 2011 and in less than three years time she has become a star in her village.
The girls were going against the conventions set for women and challenging the norms when they decided to represent their school in the district level football tournament and that was anything but easy. Even Mugu’s geography posed a challenge for the girls, as there was not a single field large enough where they could practice.
A friendly game against their neighbor Humla. Football was perhaps the last thing on their minds as they returned to their village and went about their daily lives. But fate wasn’t ready to give up on them and Team Mugu got the chance to participate in the national women’s football championship in Kailali.
Representing their district in a national tournament was not only a matter of pride but also a window to the world that lay beyond Mugu. The journey to Kailali proved to be the first of many. This was the first time they left Mugu, the first time they set foot on the plains of the Tarai, the first time they saw bullock carts, rickshaws, and airplanes among many other such firsts.
In Kailali, Team Mugu took to the game with a ferocity that was unmatched by any other team in the entire tournament. Sunkali’s consecutive goals in the matches took them to the semifinals and the finals where the girl in jersey number 12 showed the resilience of a player who just keeps getting better with every match and Team Mugu managed to lift the trophy.
Their triumph was celebrated with much aplomb in Mugu where the girls received a warm welcome upon their arrival at Talcha airport. The locals had arranged for horses for them: another first for the girls as it was unusual for women in Mugu to ride horses. People in all the villages along the way cheered for the girls, blessed them, and thanked them for making Mugu proud.
While most of the girls’ parents were elated, some were upset that Sunakali got so much attention that their girls’ contribution faded in comparison. But still there are many who vouch that had it not been forSunakali who showed great stamina and prowess in the field and scored crucial goals, Team Mugu might not have achieved this feat. The documentary Sunakali added to her soaring popularity especially after it won two awards at the concluded 12th edition of the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF)- 2014-Dec,11-15. Now, SUNAKALI bags 12 International Awards on different International Festival Festivals around the World.