October 25, 2018

The Karims – A Sporting Dynasty [Documentary Review]

“It goes without saying that a real sportsman will never dream of cheating in a game or taking unfair advantage over his opponent”.These words by Yusuf Karim are the opening lines of ‘The Karims’, a moving, emotional and insightful documentary, of a family that has spanned three generations and two sports.

This important lesson is also what has driven this family, on and off the playing field, making each member an exemplary role model in society. The documentary follows the origins of this family from Cutch in India, to Mombasa where Yusuf ruled the
tennis scene for 25 years. His sons take up the mantle after him, and it is his second-born Aasif who excels in both tennis and cricket (just like his father), taking the Karim name to an international level.

Aasif has been the longest serving member on the Kenya cricket team, having achieved many personal and team firsts in his cricketing career. Irfan, Aasif’s son is now the torch-bearer in this family, where he represents his country at international cricket. Yusuf’s fellow compatriots like Kishor Lakhani, Masood Rana, Franklyn Pereira held him in awe and speak highly of him with admiration. A work of dedication in honour of his parents, this DVD is a salute from Aasif and his wife Nazneen to Yusuf and Nargis Karim and their selfless love and support they gave to each of their children. You can almost feel the emotion when Nargis speaks about her husband and children. It has taken them over two years to produce this documentary which has been written and directed by Indian film-maker Amit Tyagi. The Karims’ has received admiration from the sporting community and critical acclaim from the world of motion pictures. Amit Tyagi and his wife Sonal have interviewed 65 people, gone through 1,500 pictures and pored over 2,000 articles and more than 50 DVD/video recordings to create this epic adventure of the Karim family on celluloid.


First receiving international recognition at the 2013 Tiger Paw Sports Film Festival in New Delhi, where 82 films were featured. It went on, three months later, to be nominated again at the Iran International Film Festival and eventually as one of the best documentaries in the 2014 Kalasha Film Festival in Kenya. As Ajay Kanchan, Mumbai film director so aptly puts in “where on earth one comes across a father and son battling it out in the final of the tournament, a sportsman juggling in to make himself available at different venues in different sporting events on the same day – incredible stuff.”

In 2008, Yusuf Karim was finally honoured by the All Africa Federation of his community, but he was in very ill health by then, passing on in March 2009. A road was named after him in Mombasa in 2012 by the mayor.

Aasif and Nazneen formed the Safinaz Group of Companies, whose main concern is insurance while also promoting sports, educational and social needs in Kenya. Qualified as an arbitrator and mediator, Aasif is a vocal advocate of the Government’s role in promotion of sports. He also feels that everyone has a story to share; it is paramount that the Government recognise their sports ambassadors who can who can inspire future generations with their stories.

This two-hour DVD was produced by Alpha Sports in 2014 and has subtitles in English, Kiswahili, Gujerati, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Farsi, Urdu, Arabic and Sign language.

Film Festival

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