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These 5 Sports Movies Tell Us How Sports Can Inspire Youth

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Movies are one of the most important platforms to propagate a message in our society. Who does not like to watch movies? Each one of us loves movies of some kind or the other. But, let me ask what such a special thing about the movie is? Well, there are many, but the best thing I feel is that it brings us together in many ways. It is an indirect form of communication which has the potential to imprint a long-lasting impression on our mind. It is an excellent tool for socialisation. A movie is best enjoyed when we watch it with our friends or families. I still remember how a horror movie becomes a comedy when we watch it with our friends.

Though movies deal with different subjects and present us with various opinions, it also makes us aware of a particular subject. Some of the movies like Lagaan, Dangal, Mary Kom, Chak De India, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and many more, as per the list, have done a tremendous job to bring sports into a new light.

Let us explore how movies can impact sports, how they can serve as a medium to promote sports culture in our society, and how movies can also be a gift for several aspiring children, women, specially-abled, and youth of our society, who wish to pursue sports.


I still remember when I watched Lagaan during my early childhood days. It was one of the first movies that introduced me to cricket and the world of sports. It has such a profound impact on me that I couldn’t forget even today. It inspired me to go to the field and for that brief moment, I dream of playing cricket and becoming as popular as Sachin Tendulkar.

It was the story of a child, who just by watching something got so inspired that he decided to become a sportsperson. As we study science to develop the scientific temper, sports is an implicit training of our mind and body which helps us build sportiveness in ourselves. It is one of the quintessential requirements to achieve any goal in our life. It is as much as part of education as any other subject.

Chak De India!

Almost all of us were introduced to hockey from our general knowledge book in the process of learning, “what is the national sport of India”, or ” who was Dhyanchand”. It was not until I saw “Chak De! India”, I realize the uniqueness of the sport like hockey. Movies, hence, play an important role in re-popularising sports that are less played with time. For example, Kabaddi, Kushti, Hockey, etc. represent the uniqueness of our civilisation, and it is part of the very culture itself.

Movies can play a very significant role to develop sports and promote sportiveness in our society. It has a wider reach, which, when mixed with emotion and comedy, appeals to millions of people together.


Dangal, one of the highest- growing movies of Bollywood which earned millions of dollars and fame worldwide, has been a source of inspiration to many in the world. It promoted gender neutrality in sports with such great vigour and inspired many girls and their parents to give a chance to their daughters in sports equally as boys. “Mhaari chhoriya choro se Kam hai ke” (Are our daughters less than sons!) is one of the most touching and inspiring dialogues of the movie.

The way it has influenced the country and the world can open the path for many who wish to pursue sports in their life. Movies are the reflection of our culture, and it serves as an important tool to enhance the soft power of a country in the international fora.

Movies also highlight the challenges faced by an athlete while pursuing sports of his/her choice.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

In Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, we saw how Milkha Singh faced a lot of challenges at the start of his athletic career, and how he coped up from all the hardships in the journey and represented India at various international sports events.

Mary Kom

Similarly, In Mary Kom, it is shown how Mary restarts her Boxing Career even after motherhood by the help of her husband, who supported throughout taking care of children to maintain all the domestic chores. It has inspired millions of women to come out of the stigma that they can’t take part in sports after marriage.

One of the living examples of this is Deepa Malik, a para-athlete, who won several national and international recognitions despite being a mother and a specially-abled. These examples not only inspire people in sports, but it does to millions of youth from all the age groups to achieve success in their life.

Despite all these achievements, we have many more to achieve. There are numerous issues that can be pointed out by the help of movies. Some of the examples are multiple challenges faced by retired sportspersons of our country in their everyday life, women still not being given a chance to prove themselves. India has significantly less participation in the Olympics, stereotypes related to sports as a career, lack of training and proper guidance to rural children, incorporating divyang-jans in the sports etc are more such issues.

Movies can be one of the best mediums to highlight these issues on a large scale. Movies can also inspire parents to encourage their children towards sports and other physical activities.  They can also motivate children to go to the field and play different sports. Movies can give voice to the millions of people, a voice of change, a voice to play and shine.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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