Netflix’s documentary series ‘Home Game’ launches featuring episode ‘Pehlwani’ from FINCH director Zia Mandviwalla
HOME GAME features eight episodes that each follow unique and dangerous sports from around the world while diving deep into the communities and cultures where they thrive.
Director Zia Mandviwalla’s episode travels to India where the ancient martial art of mud wrestling (Pehlwani) is practiced by a group of traditionalist strong men, dressed in loincloths, tussling in the dirt. Recently the sport opened its doors to women, a move that has not been without controversy. Apeksha and Kasis are two teenage wrestlers who face a mountain of obstacles as they strive to achieve their dreams. From getting down in the dirt of the mud pits, to mastering the gruelling technique of the mat, these girls are tough and powerful. Strong, fierce and fearless they are part of the changing face of women in India as they strive to become professional female wrestlers.
Mandviwalla said: “We shot our episode over the hottest, sweatiest couple of weeks in the incredible, holy city of Varanasi just before the monsoon broke in August last year. Apeksha and Kasis, our two young wrestlers were just the most phenomenal women who let us into their homes and lives. In a country where the pursuit of sport is not the done thing for women, we quickly understood their strength was not just physical – they tackled obstacles outside the mud pit in all sorts of arenas. They were an inspiration to all of us on the crew.”
HOME GAME is produced by US production company Boardwalk Pictures for Netflix.
Mandviwalla is the first international director on the Netflix smash hit documentary series, CHEF’S TABLE, and the series’ first female director to be nominated for Best Direction at the James Beard Award for her “Asma Khan” episode featured in Season Six. Zia comes from a background directing short films and TVC’s for the New Zealand and Australian markets, and lives between Auckland and Los Angeles.