The ‘Jungle Crows’ team was made up of tribal boys trained by Indian coach Rudraksha Jena of the Kalinga Institute of Social Science (played by Abhay Deol, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars), and Paul Walsh MBE, a British diplomat who gave up his career to teach rugby to disadvantaged children.
Rajdeep, who arrived in Wales last month where filming took place in three of their rugby stadiums, explained that his time at Don Bosco Ashalayam had helped him to speak freely in front of people and this was one of the deciding factors in him being chosen. For this he is grateful to the Salesian priests and brothers in Kolkata. He said that he and his two siblings had been rescued from Howrah Station many years ago by Fr Mathew. Although their father was alive, he was unable to support them and so the Salesians rescued them from a life on the streets.
Just before returning for India, we managed to get permission for Rajdeep and another boy from the Ashalayam to meet the lady that sponsored him through us. It was a beautiful meeting and a dream come true for Rajdeep. On the way back to the hotel we managed to call in at Chertsey for lunch where the community made us very welcome at extremely short notice. Both boys were delighted to pose on Fr John Dickson's bike and he was rewarded with warm hugs from both of them.
The director of the film is an ex-Salesian school pupil from one of our schools in Mumbai, who hopes to be back in London for the premiere in May.
Fr Andrew Ebrahim