Chippa Calcutta Carom Board
The Calcutta board with the cut-pocket // Credit Safdar Rahman

In one of the scenes in Chippa, young Chippa hears some boys playing a game of carrom from the streets and climbs up to the window of an under-construction building from where the noise was coming. Inside, a bunch of boys who work at a dhaba nearby are playing a game of carrom. Chippa longs to become a part of the gang.

Carrom is a game that is played all over South East Asia and the board is one that is instantly recognisable for Indians. In Calcutta specifically, a culture of neighbourhood sports clubs which dabble in street-side sport continues to exist and the humble carrom board is a basic expectation for any such club to possess. The Calcutta carrom board also has a specificity. The pockets in the corner cut on the edges, giving it the name of ‘cut-pocket’ board. Professional carrom boards elsewhere have pockets in the shape of round pegs just slightly bigger than the coins themselves. The cut pockets make it slightly easier to score points and encourage strong hits because they don’t throw the coin back (which round-pockets do), hence making the game more fast-paced.

Screengrab from Chippa - playing carom
Rupya Paisa // Chippa

The family version of the game (also more unpredictable than the standard game) is also called Rupya-Paisa where the coins are stacked on top of one another, and since in Chippa there is literally a bet that happens over a game of carrom, it is this version of the game that the kids play. Credit  Safdar Rahman

Under construction building with the light coming from a room
Under construction building with the light coming from a room // Credit Safdar Rahman

Writer/Director. Safdar Rahman

Cinematographer. Ramanuj Dutta

Production Designer. Anasuya Sengupta

Producers. Travelling Light Pictures, Ultra Media and Entertainment, Victory Media

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