This music video of Indo-Pak wrestlers in Dubai is amazing


A few people here in Dubai are aware that Indo-Pak wrestling is a thing, with freestyle bouts taking place in the likes of Deira and the Al Ain desert. The sport, that is popular amongst the Indian and Pakistani community, has now been captured in a beautiful video for the latest single from London/Bahrain music outfit Flamingods.

This ancient subculture is a side to Dubai that is hidden away from tourists and locals alike but this video, directed by, gives a real insight into the Pakistani fighters who still practice the Kushti version of the wrestling.

Kamal Rasool, the band’s founding member, says of the video for his song ‘Rhama’: “Over the past few months we have attended fights, got to know the wrestlers through our Urdu translator and lived among the wrestlers in their apartment in rural Al Ain, exploring not only the wrestling itself, but the mysticism and ritual behind it and flashes of everyday Pakistani culture and life in and around the UAE.

“The wrestlers leave their cultural homes behind in search for a better financial future in Dubai. The idea of breaking down Dubai’s clichéd image of being a glossy metropolis was also very important to us. Those who don’t live in Dubai have a fixed perception of the city, and though aspects of what they imagine are true, there is another side of the city that is massively overlooked.”

“Determined to track them down, we kept asking around, until one day a Pakistani taxi driver gave us the information we needed: the Kushti league’s current match location,” Rasool said in an interview with Dazed

The band and filmmakers took along a translator, and managed to infiltrate this small group of wrestlers, learning about the ceremonial pre-fight dances, the tossing of dirt as a mutual blessing, and the workings of the fight. The group spent three days living with Tota, a local wrestler in Al Ain to get an insight into his training, even eating with him and chatting about his thoughts on life in the Emirate.

Rasool says: “The communities who built this city, who came here to find a better future and provide for their families back home – they have all brought their culture, their food, their music and traditions, and are an integral part of the city. This is the part of the city we live in and are proud to be a part of. Though some might find beauty in the glamorous face of Dubai, we find it in the older side: reeking with culture, history and stories from communities all around the world.”

Here’s the video in full…

Flamingods release their album Majesty on June 10 via Soundway Records

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