Audio described 'Black' to entertain blind

Mar 18, 2006 Prashant K. Nanda

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) After winning praises and awards alike, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's blockbuster "Black" is now getting ready to entertain over nine million blind people in India.

A Delhi-based organisation has produced an audio described version of the movie "Black" for visually impaired enthusiasts. It has also produced the audio described version of children's movie "Kat Kat Kad Kaddu".

"Since, millions of people were missing out pure entertainment, in a first of its kind initiative, we have decided to audio describe the silent portion of the movie. We have completed two films - 'Black' and 'Kat Kat Kad Kaddu'," said Rummy Seth, director of Saksham, a non-governmental organisation in Delhi.

"Around 5,000 people have already enjoyed the audio described 'Black' so far and we are trying to reach out to a larger population in the near future," said Seth, who has been closely working with National Association for the Blind (NAB) for years.

In an audio described movie, the silent portions, including the casting of the film, are described minutely to make the viewers feel the scene.

For example, the opening cast is audio described as, "A Sanjay Leela Bhansali film presents 'Black'. The title is written with white ink on a black background."

"By audio describing the silent portions, we want to make them feel the scene," said Seth, who wants to screen "Black" in the capital next month.

She said after Bhansali, they have got a go ahead from Yash Chopra and Karan Johar to audio describe their films "Hum Tum" and "Kal Ho Naa Ho". The producer of "Hanuman" has also given a go ahead to the NGO for the same purpose.

"All these films are for free. Me, my organisation and the whole visually impaired community are grateful to all these producers and directors for helping us," said Seth.

It takes around Rs.25,000 and two to three weeks time to audio describe a film. And those who have already seen the movie are too excited to share their feeling.

"Earlier, we used to enjoy only 50 to 60 percent of a movie. When there was no dialogue, we used to keep silent or ask the person sitting nearby to describe it to us. But after watching audio described 'Black', I realised, what me and my community used to miss," said Deepika Sood, a girl who works for NAB.

"This step has helped us to watch independently and know more about the caste and crew. Now the emotion of the film can be well realised by any blind people in India," said Sood who has seen the film thrice.

Dipendra Manocha, NAB's director of IT, said: "This step is a great initiative to bring social integration. I think, it's a great move in the direction of empowering blind at one hand and giving complete entertainment to people like us."

"It's a welcome move to give us cost effective entertainment," Manocha added.

However, he said that all the new films should also be audio described. "We want to be in the mainstream and all the new films should be made available for the blind as well."

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