A Slap in Time

Published: 11 March 2019

A new documentary film which explores the history of Panjabi Wrestling, from India to the United Kingdom, will be showcased at The Curve.

Young people from Slough Wrestling Club have made a new documentary film exploring the history of Panjabi Wrestling, a sport that came to Britain with immigrants from the Panjab in the 1950s.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the team worked with film makers digital-works to explore the history which dates back 500 years from Persia to the Panjab.

The young people interviewed the older generation who grew up in the Panjab learning this venerable sport in rural villages and competing against other villages. The lucky few might make it to the big time, fighting for the Maharajas.

“They were like the Henry Cooper and Muhammad Ali’s of their day” explains Ranjit Sandu, head coach of Slough Wrestling Club and himself a former Pahelwan as wrestlers are known. “There would be grudge matches between The Great Gama and others that would attract crowds of a hundred thousand.”

Panjabi Wrestling in the UK has gradually died out as the younger generation have turned more to Olympic style wrestling but this project has reconnected them with their heritage. The film captures the incredible history in the words of the old wrestlers themselves.

Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, with a responsibility for cultural activities, said: “We are so lucky in Slough to have a fantastic facility like The Curve, which has a diverse programme with something for everyone. A Slap in Time will be a fascinating film for Slough’s residents to watch and even better, it’s free.”

You can watch the film and find out more about it at a special free screening at The Curve on Saturday 23 March at 2pm.

There will be some experienced wrestlers there to answer your questions, as well as the young film makers.

You can also watch the film and find out more about the project on the Panjabi wrestling website.