Vidya Venkat

CHENNAI: The recently released Tamil movie ‘Naan Kadavul’ has drawn flak from persons with disability. They have objected to the use of terms such as kurudi to address a visually challenged girl in the film and demanded that such references be removed.w

Tamil Nadu Welfare Board for the Disabled member K.Gopinath said he had sent letters of objection to the film director and film industry associations, but yet to receive a response.

“The word kurudi is used in the movie seven times. I wonder how the Censor Board allowed it,” said C.Govindakrishnan, who heads a non-governmental organisation Nethrodaya. “When the Board can be sensitive to the use of derogatory caste names or nudity, then why should it take the sensibilities of persons with disability so lightly,” he asked. He objected to the repeated use of the phrase “pichakara pasanga” in the film.

“I had gone to a theatre in the city to watch the movie along with a few other disabled persons. When we were coming out of the theatre, a group of persons ridiculed us as pichakaran (beggar),” he said.

Even the depiction of death as a liberator for the visually challenged girl Amsavalli, played by actor Pooja, has offended the community. A physically challenged homemaker A.Devi said such depiction hurt their self-esteem. “Not all disabled persons are into begging and prostitution. This film only reinforces stereotypes about our lives,” she said.

Freedom of expression

But a regional official of the Central Board for Film Certification said they had to defend the freedom of expression of artists in such cases.

The official said the audience would judge a film subjectively, but the board could not take everyone’s perspective into consideration while certifying a film. Film critic Theodore Baskaran was of the opinion that the Board be more careful regarding the portrayal of persons with disability.