“Perception of disability lies in the mind. A person with a pure and enlightened mind is a valuable citizen irrespective of whether he is physically disabled or not. The life of a differently challenged person can be enriched through creation of indomitable spirit in him.”
-Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, (Indomitable Spirit)
I usually stay away from biographies, autobiographies or semi-autobiographical accounts. But when a book bears the name of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, it’s a different phenomenon altogether. Because even while recounting the events of his life he always speaks about others. The people in his life, family, mentors or others. And the thing that most inspires me is that he never speaks ill or foul about anybody or anything. He always looks at things in a way so as to take out and isolate the best of every person or situation. And those persons can be anybody, be it his teachers, great scientists like Prof. Vikram Sarabhai or Prof. Satish Dhawan, or even little children and students. And when he puts the accounts of his life and his perspective of it in a book, it becomes an uplifting experience. That’s what Indomitable Spirit was.
The words quoted in the beginning of this write-up are contained in the last chapter of his book- Indomitable Spirit (P. 240). This chapter is dedicated to the adversities of life and the spirit of people to rise against these odds. Especially of those who are physically challenged in some way. Elsewhere in this book (P. 91) he also talks about the power of films and the impressions (good or bad) they can create.
The above mentioned quote and the mention of films reminded me of some CFSI movies. These movies in their own simple way tell about the lives and ordinary expectations of children who are in some way physically disabled or differently-abled.
I will therefore take few such movies, a day each, as a run up till 3rd December. The 3rd of December is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This day is observed around the world to create awareness about the challenges faced by people with disabilities and for promoting their integration in each and every aspect of life.
My last movie by CFSI was Triyatri, about 3 months back. So, back to CFSI. The first movie is Udanchoo (1976) directed by Shivendra Sinha.
Babbu & Jumman are two dwarfs working in Circus. Their act in the circus is especially a big hit among children. But that’s where the popularity ends. Outside the ring their lives are, to be frank, miserable.
Their only friends at the Circus are Bulbul & Mary, who in need stand for them. Other than that, they are mistreated by everyone at the Circus.
They also feel that they should be paid more as they bring the biggest lot of audience and thus money for the Circus. One day Babbu & Jumman gather courage to talk to the Manager about a pay raise. Which obviously does not go down as expected and he throws them out remarking he gave them a job when they were penniless. They come back insulted and sad.
At this point they decide that they have had too much. They make a plan to run out of the Circus and start a new life. At the next show they suit their action to the plan, leaving everybody at the Circus bewildered. The Manager soon informs the Police stating that Babbu & Jumman have run away with Circus property. This however is not true as the motorbike on which they ran away was their own. The work of bringing Babbu & Jumman in, is given to Inspector Ghorpade.
After this a long chase ensues. The chase ends when they find themselves at a place which ultimately gives them solace and purpose of life.
The movie is only about an hour long and can be watched by anyone above 4 years of age. A fairly long part, almost 20-25 minutes have been dedicated to the chase between the protagonists and Inspector Ghorpade. This part is made funny only because of Johnny Walker & Tuntun’s presence. The ending however makes up for the chase sequence.
DWARFISM & THE MOVIE:
Dwarfism is the shortness in height which may result from a genetic disorder or a medical condition.
Strictly speaking, dwarfism is neither a disease nor a disability. Then why is the movie based on two dwarfs taken at the beginning of this series. The reason is our perceptions and treatment meted out to them as a society.
Because though the short stature may lead to health complications in some cases, in all other cases the only complications faced are from society and behaviour of people.
This behaviour is highlighted in the film through the Circus colleagues of Babbu & Jumman. As Babbu points out that the ridicule faced by them is one of the reasons they couldn’t continue education. Children, he puts it, are only happy to see them at Circus, elsewhere they are subjects of fun and ridicule.
People with short heights/ stature often become subjects of amusement. It is not the height but these perceptions of society which may become a hindrance in their progress.
Therefore, it is necessary that we as society cross our own barriers. The perception of disability, as Dr. Kalam said, lies in the mind. And these minds can be not just those suffering a physical handicap, but also in the minds of those who are able-bodied.
In the next two days we will take two more movies in the series. One is a simple, sweet story of Sonu and the other a gripping thriller about Ram.
So, do come back.
Pleas do share your views and/ or experience on the subject.
DISCLAIMER: The screenshots, stills and videos from the movie are included here only for the purpose of information, entertainment and propagation of children’s cinema. The copyright over the film rests with the owners/ producers of the movie.