Aasif Karim's documentary released in India's first ever sports film festival in Delhi

Aasif Karim picked up 27 wickets at an economy rate of less than 4.50 runs per over in 34 One-Day Internationals for Kenya © Getty Images

New Delhi: Aug 28, 2013

Aasif Karim‘s documentary ‘The Karims: A Sporting Dynasty’ is all set to grab the attention of the Indian diaspora. It was released during India’s first sports film festival in New Delhi.

Those who have been fortunate to watch the best days of Kenyan cricket wouldn’t quickly forget the names of Steve Tikolo, Maurice Odumbe or Thomas Odoyo for their lion-hearted performances against the best of teams.

The unassuming left-arm spinner Karim held his own among this pack in the 34 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) that he represented the country while taking 27 wickets at an economy rate of less than 4.50 runs per over.

No doubt his moment under the floodlights came when he took three for seven in just 8.2 overs against the mighty Aussies in a losing cause during the 2003 World Cup.

Now, a few months short of his 50th birthday, Karim, who is a Gujarati by birth, is in the capital with a documentary film on his life titled ‘The Karims: A Sporting Dynasty’.

The two-hour long docu-feature, which was screened at the Tiger Paw Sports Film Festival at the Alliance Francaise, tried to capture the sporting journey of an Indian family settled in Kenya.

The Karims can boast of being the only sports family of Indian origin in the African country which has always been revered for producing brilliant middle-distance runners.

Karim’s father Yusuf Karim was a tennis player who represented Kenya in the African Games. Even Karim was an accomplished tennis player who represented the country in the 1988 Davis Cup (Africa Zone) match against Egypt.

“Initially, I was planning to release my autobiography which is nearing completion but when Amit (Director Amit Tyagi) came up with the idea, I thought let’s go ahead. It’s a story about desire to succeed and the determination one needs to have despite all other shortcomings. It can act as an inspiration for the Indian diaspora leaving in Kenya. It can inspire them,” Karim told PTI.

Director Tyagi, who has been in Kenya for about a decade and a half informed that the documentary was made at a budget of USD 30,000.

“Now whether it’s a big or a small budget depends on which part of the world you are in. Just like African history doesn’t have a proper documentation, it’s a similar case with African sports. Karim’s story can be an inspiration not just for the Indian or Pakistani people residing in Kenya but also for the Black people.”

An insurance agent cum real estate brocker, Karim is disappointed with the state of affairs in Kenyan cricket.

“There was a time when people used to question as to why Bangladesh got Test status ahead of Kenya. Now we are nowhere in the picture. The primary reason being a meaningless development structure. NO one is bothered from where the next set of Tikolos, Odoumbes or Ravindu Shahs would come.

“The second reason being lack of quality domestic cricket. When we played back in late 80’s and early 90’s, players like Sandeep Patil, Chandrakant Pandit, Balwinder Singh Sandhu played in pur domestic leagues. We learnt a lot from them and it helped our game,” Karim recollected.

Asked about Odumbe’s career ending after being proved guilty of match-fixing, Karim said, “Till I was the captain in 1999, I can vouch that nothing was wrong. I don’t know what went wrong with Maurice as he was one of the most flamboyant cricketers that we have produced.”