A huge collage of movie stills, actors, directors and film technicians formed the backdrop for a group of enthusiastic participants who had assembled for a walk on ‘The city and its cinema’ at the L.V. Prasad Film and T.V. Academy on Saturday. The walk was an accessible excursion for the differently abled, organised by ‘Explore Differently,’ and had many persons come in wheelchairs.
“The number of public places that are accessible for the differently abled is very limited and the walk was organised to make this experience more accessible to people who want to know more about cinema. We hope to bring in more such initiatives for accessible tourism as well,” said Aditya Sharma of Explore Differently. There were portable ramps laid out for persons in wheelchairs to access places during the walk and transport had been arranged for longer distances.
“Because there was no electricity for lights back then, film sets were erected in the open air and crows that flew around the area used to disrupt shooting. There used to be a person posted specifically to shoo away the birds,” Venkatesh Chakravarthy, regional director of the academy, told the participants.
Peppering his talk with many such anecdotes about the history of cinema in the city and its evolution, Mr. Venkatesh led the participants to a studio floor and the 70 mm theatre in the academy to elaborate on sound engineering and effects.
“Social exposure is extremely important for the differently abled and we need to find people who have the mindset to support and make such inclusive experiences possible. Once we fix the place, we go on a recce and check where we might need ramps as well as transport,” the members of Explore Differently said.
The walk was organised as part of the Madras Week celebrations and another accessible excursion to the Arms Gallery at the Government Arts Museum will be organised next week.
A unique experience
Anandraj, 24, was excited as he had just experienced his favourite actor’s charisma on screen. Anandraj, along with 70 other visually challenged people, were treated to a special screening of the Rajnikanth-starrer Kabali in Sathyam Cinema on Saturday morning.
The screening had audio descriptions, which made the experience normal and enjoyable.
“I am a huge fan of Thalaiva and was longing to go to for the movie. I am very happy that this was made possible,” said Anandraj, a student of Loyola College, who had also set Kabali as his cell phone ringtone. The descriptions were given during the pauses — it explained visuals and developments in the story.
“I loved the climax. Watching it, finally, was a great escape from the boring routine. I wish filmmakers could include such descriptions in other movies as well so that we too can have a good time,” said Radhika Kumari.
Source: The Hindu