Minugurulu- A new Vision for the Impaired

Minugurulu- A  new Vision for the Impaired

L Sailaja Kumar Minugurulu' is about Raju, a orphan who loses his vision while editing a video he was working upon. He is admitted to a residential...

L Sailaja Kumar

aad1Minugurulu' is about Raju, a orphan who loses his vision while editing a video he was working upon. He is admitted to a residential blind orphanage run by a depraved man Narayana, who abuses the resources meant for their blind school and keeps them in deplorable conditions. After being subjected to tyrannical brutalities of Narayana, Raju and his blind friends decide to teach him a lesson through a film that has every detail of Narayana's sadistic cruelties.

The movie's highlight is fantastic performance rendered by forty blind kids who mirrored the lives of their community, with amazing versatility! Needless to say Suhasini, Ashish Vidyarthi and Raghuvir Yadav have essayed their roles with their 'trademark' aplomb. Ayodhya Kumar shares some tender moments in the making of the movie�

Why did you think of doing this film? It all began with my research on education in primary schools and high schools on a different project; in this process I visited some of the visually impaired institutions in India. It was heartening and indelible experience of my life. I can never forget the excitement and the spark in the eyes of these children when I told them that they can be trained and groomed to make movies. Then my focus shifted to visually impaired institutions.

One strong question that grew on me was -how could a visually impaired visualise a scene? I recollected legends like Helen Keller's experiences. She said "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart". Had Helen Keller not fought her way to a higher education and freedom, many of them following her might not have had the courage to stand up for their freedom and independence. Had Louis Braille not spent years developing the braille system, reading would still be a long and tedious chore for the blind. Invention is a creative process, I want them to invent a new film grammar to make their own film and in this journey I want to invent my own creative process as a filmmaker. That's the premise of the film.

Why only visually impaired kids in the cast? Since the story is about how visually impaired children have overcome their difficulties in the orphanage, I didn't want to take people who can see and act like visually impaired. I was very sure only the blind can understand the problems of the blind better. Hence I took 40 visually impaired children who could act well and also had the added advantage of fair exposure to arts and extracurricular activities.

Is there any particular reason for choosing Suhasini and other big stars? Generally movies like these are treated as documentaries, whereas 'Minugurulu' is a full-fledged feature film. I would like the audience to see it as mainstream film so that it would reach wider audience. Keeping these prerequisites in mind I felt big stars do play an important role.

What are the elements highlighted in the film? It's the first time in the history of films that 40 visually impaired children acted in the film and involved in the actual mechanics of film making too. Another point I vehemently wish to bring to forefront is the problems faced by blind children in blind schools, throughout the country.

What are the highlights of the film? Amazing performance by visually impaired children, movie concept itself, international cast and crew like Oscar winning sound design team (Resul Pookutty) Needless to say the message of social responsibility towards visually impaired is something anyone who watches the film cannot ignore. Lastly, fantastic performances by Raghubir Yadav, Ashish Vidyarthi and Suhasini Maniratnam are also strong points of the film.

Does it have an optimistic tone? Of course, the very fact that visually impaired children took up the task of solving their problems instead of succumbing to them, is a positive note. It's this victory which is audience's takeaway!

Did you have any formal training in film-making? I have studied film at the prestigious Northwest Film Centre, Portland, Oregon. Some of my previous works like 'The New Scarf' and 'I am not a Chair' were critically acclaimed and showcased in Hyderabad International Film Festival, AOF International film festival, Beverly Hills Hi-Def film festival, Mid-Valley Video festival, China India community film festival, Ahmedabad international film festival and Nashik international film festival. I worked a top television channel in USA.

Could you mention any unforgettable experiences during the making of the film? There are many, but one thing on the top of mind and heart is the super-enthusiastic kids! I have learnt many a thing from these children which I can proudly say are my pillars of strength. In spite of long hectic hours, they are ready to start off with a new task by evening! Their exuberant energy levels baffle me! Their commitment and focus are worth worshipping.

What are your expectations from audience? I'd want the audience to just be with the blind children and experience their life through this film. Though challenged by the absence of sight, they can embrace all means of life. Nothing is impossible for them. They can do whatever they want to do; they can achieve whatever they want to. What's stopping the release of the film? No distributors are coming forward, in fact I'd like to use this platform to request to all those who can help me showcase this film, come forward. Though audience is thoroughly enjoying the film in private screenings, buyers are still doubtful about the commercial viability. For many a reason Telugu film industry still feels formula films are a safe bet. I don't wish to blame anyone because genuine attempts are always accepted and honoured by people. Ayodhya Kumar signs off with a strong hope in his eyes which could certainly give a vision for the blind!


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