Horse Podcast Ep 106: Polo & Ponies – Shooting Films About the Horse Cultures of North-East India

Equestrian Adventuresses Travel and Horse Podcast Ep 105 - Polo & Ponies - Shooting films about Horse Cultures of North-East India

On today’s episode Ute talks with Roopa Barua, an Indian filmmaker who made two documentaries about Women’s polo in Manipur and pony races in Assam, two states in India’s North East. Roopa herself is not a horsewoman, however has subsequently found herself drawn to horses and has enjoyed herself tremendously shooting horses and their people. We discuss her debut documentary “Riders of the Mist” which tells the story of a famous bareback pony race in her hometown in Assam and another documentary “Daughters of the Polo God” which is about girls playing polo in the Indian state of Assam which is considered the birthplace of modern polo.

Both documentaries have won international prizes and have captured two horse cultures which are hardly known even in India. Roopa tells, how she had the idea for her documentaries, how she got fascinated by horses and how she got involved with the Manipur polo girls. Enjoy this rare insight in two truly amazing horse cultures of India’s elusive North-East!

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Tea Plantations & The Birthplace of Polo

India’s North Eastern States of Assam & Manipur

If you look at a map of India, you will see that there is an area divided from the mainland by Bangladesh and connected only by a small land corridor. This area is known as the North-East and consist of seven very unique states which belong geographically already to South-Eastern Asia. Assam is the largest of these seven states and is well known for its tea plantations. Manipur, yet another state is located further South and considered the original home of Polo. Today we talk about this part of India which is often overlooked but has many different horse cultures and traditions.

Our Guest today:

Roopa Barua (India)

Indian Filmmaker who originally hails from Assam but studied in the USA and today lives in Mumbai. She has shot her debut film “Riders of the Mist” about the famous horse race taking place annually in her hometown of Jorhat. Her documentary “Daughters of the Polo God” for instance has won the Best Documentary Award at the Indian Film Festival in New York. You can find the teasers of both documentaries below!

Follow Rupa on Instagram

Don’t forget to check out the resources section in this article!


  • The wild ponies of the Brahmaputra river
  • Manipur – The original home of Polo
  • Pony conservation
  • Polo, an egalitarian sport in Manipur

Thank you for tuning in and happy trails!

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Thanks for listening to our horse podcast: Polo & Ponies – Shooting Films About the Horse Cultures of North-East India!

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