Dumped by France, footballer Vikash Dhorasoo turns filmmaker

April 26th, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by admin  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, April 26 (IANS) Two years after being denied the opportunity to become the first ethnic Indian star of the World Cup, French footballer Vikash Dhorasoo has turned into an acclaimed filmmaker. “Substitute”, praised by French critics and due to be released in London May 9, is Dhorasoo’s film about his summer of 2006 in Germany, waiting to be called to take the field - a call that never came.

Dhorsoo’s film career began when a friend handed him a Super 8 camera and told him to film what happened to him during the World Cup.

In the event, he made only two appearances in the Cup - totalling eight minutes as a substitute in France’s first two games - and was made to sit out on the bench for the rest of the tournament by coach Raymond Domench.

“He betrayed me, and although I admire him, I still don’t know why he did it,” Dhorasoo told The Guardian newspaper, which described “Substitute” as a “dismal, if compelling, portrait of human misery” - but also “aesthetically cherishable.”

Dhorasoo, 34, is of Indo-Mauritian extraction, his Telugu-speaking ancestors hailing from Andhra Pradesh.

He and the film’s director Fred Poulet encountered the opposition of French teammates from the very start.

Dhorasoo said: “I guess the whole project was teetering on the brink of disaster. But the lack of access, the lack of material, that sense of exclusion and - more importantly - being depressed is what the film is about.

“We had nothing really except me collapsing into depression. The question then was - what do we do with it? Answer: make a film about depression.”

“The fact that I made this film gave me the spiritual strength to carry on in football for a few more years,” said Dhorasoo, who retired from the Italian club Livorno earlier this year.

He said he hoped, “Now I’m a star.”

The footballer, who has spoken out against racial bigotry and is an anti-poverty campaigner, defended spectators who are shown booing him in “Substitute” when he replaces French star Zinedine Zidane in a pre-World Cup friendly tie against Mexico.

“These people who come to the stadium hissing and hating me, I defend them because they are the masses, people who came from tough estates just like me. Even if I had nothing to do with them politically or socially, I will stand up for them,” he said.

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