Goonga Pehelwan

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Goonga Pehelwan
Directed byVivek Chaudhary
Prateek Gupta
Mit Jani
Written byVivek Chaudhary
Edited byPrateek Gupta
Jimmy Desai
Country India

Goonga Pehelwan (from Hindi गूंगा पहलवान, meaning '''Mute wrestler''') is a documentary film on the life and struggles of Virender Singh Yadav who is regarded as one of India's most accomplished deaf athletes from village Sasroli in Haryana. The documentary, which released in 2013, is an attempt to bring to light the unequal treatment and opportunities that disabled athletes have been on the receiving end of from the Government and the society.[1] Another aim is to enforce a change on the policy level which will benefit disabled athletes through inclusion and cash awards.[2] The documentary has been directed by Mit Jani, Prateek Gupta and Vivek Chaudhary, and produced by Drishti media. Both parties are based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.[3]

About the film[edit]

The inspiration behind making this documentary was a news article that one of the directors, Vivek Chaudhary, had come across. The article spoke about Virender Singh, a deaf and mute wrestler who, despite being a World Champion and Deaflympics Gold Medalist among other things, is unrecognized and uncelebrated by the country and the Government. This biopic is an attempt to bring to light as well as rectify the inequality in treatment and opportunities that disabled athletes receive, be it from the society or the system. Another aim the documentary has is to garner support and make possible Virender Singh’s desire to represent India at the Rio Olympics 2016.[4]

In spite of the scale of his wins, Virender Singh Yadav has had to resort to fighting mud-wrestling competitions against able-bodied athletes in order to make a living. The filmmakers have filed a number of Right to Information (RTI) appeals and a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) as a means to get to the crux of the issue and incite a change on the policy-level.[5]

Virender Singh Yadav[edit]

Virender Singh Yadav has represented India in a number of international competitions. Mentioned below is a list of his international achievements. The Government of India conferred the Arjuna Award on him for his achievements in the sport.

Position Event Year Place
Gold Deaflympics 2005 Melbourne
Silver World Deaf Wrestling Championship 2008 Armenia
Bronze Deaflympics 2009 Taiwan
Bronze[6] World Deaf Wrestling Championship 2012 Bulgaria
Gold[7] Deaflympics 2013 Bulgaria
Gold Deaflympics 2017 Turkey

Awards and nominations[edit]

Winner of 62nd National Film Award for the year 2014 under Best Debut Film of a Director (Non-Feature)Category. The film received the rare distinction of being selected as the Opening Film of the Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India, Goa. Goonga Pehelwan received a special mention at the International Documentary and Short Film, Kerala, 2014 and was screened at the VIBGYOR International Film Festival, which is the largest alternative film festival in South Asia. The film also bagged Best Film awards at the International Film Festival for Persons with Disabilities, 2015 (organized by NFDC) and the We Care Film Festival, 2015.

Goonga Pehelwan the film was also showcased at the following film festivals:

62nd National Film Awards, 2015. International Film Festival of India, Goa. International Film Festival for Persons with Disabilities (NFDC). International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala, 2014. Input Film Festival, Netherlands, 2014. 4th All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival, 2014. River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, 2014. 9th Seattle South Asian Film Festival, 2014. VIBGYOR International Film Festival, 2014. Delhi International Film Festival, 2014. International Documentary and Short Film Awards Jakarta, 2014. 5th Mongolia International Film Festival, 2014. International Film Festival of Prayag, 2014. We Care Film Festival, 2015.

In the News[edit]

During the time leading up to the release of Goonga Pehelwan and after, there have been an increasing number of articles on the film and Virender Singh Yadav. Many of these are by leading news houses and magazines including KnowYourStar, Tehelka, Live Mint, Caravan, The Indian Express, The New Indian Express, The Times of India, Times Crest, The Hindu and more.

External links[edit]

  1. Goonga Pehelwan IMDb
  2. Deaflympic Profile of Virender Singh
  3. Facebook Page
  4. Official Website
  5. Video Interview at


  1. ^ "Goonga Pehelwan gets national award". The Indian Express. 2015-03-25. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Goonga Pehelwan - Official Website".
  3. ^ "Upcoming Events | Indie Meme". Upcoming Events | Indie Meme. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Documentary film Goonga Pehelwan: The story of a deaf wrestler - Plano Profile Connecting Collin County". Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Rudraneil Sengupta (12 August 2013). "Gold, Naturally".
  7. ^ Biju Babu Cyriac (6 August 2013). "Virender Singh only medallist for India at Sofia Deaflympics".