A large number of people are usually found asking some questions to visually impaired, how do you eat? Will you be able to climb the stairs?
Some are found showing the hand gestures to blind persons and expect to receive replies. It is so strange to sometimes understand the human mind and intellectual levels in such scenarios. Does human intelligence stops to the point when a physical part such as eyes is not functioning normally? But in reality and practically, the human mind is not dependent on physical eyes but has cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory.
Saksham, a Delhi-based NGO, too believes in the innate qualities of persons with visual impairment and has started a project of audio described movies for the first time in India.
Why should people with visual impairment not watch the same movies as watched by others? Why cannot the movies that are an imperative part of spreading public awareness and source of links to history and entertainment be reached to persons with visual impairment?
Usually, persons with visual impairment concentrate on sounds and understand the movies. But under audio described movies, a narrator makes a movie more understandable by describing the crucial parts of the movie’s that have very less or no audio clues. A lot of crucial information such as facial expressions, costumes, ambience, environment, body languages and actions without dialogues are described. These movies are available at very low costs and till date over 22 movies are available as audio described.
The practice of producing is very common in Europe and American countries already. It takes time, money and effort to produce audio described movies.
Through such movies visually impaired get to know about the latest trends of fashion and style. Visually impaired persons are exposed to the usual landmark clues that otherwise are never known to them. the changing societal norms related to the finances, politics and education that open different channels for many, make the visually impaired more aware of their surroundings.
It was encouraging that under Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, the Accessible India campaign, in 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) for children with disabilities, there was an exclusive section for audio described movies. Saksham along with UNESCO has got the success to get this message through to Bollywood to make the entertainment inclusive to include an audio description in filmmaking process itself so that most of the movies are available to persons with visual impairment from the start. This will help to reduce the cost of making a movie audio described to zero and an Indian cinema can become a symbol of an inclusive society.