Cinema & Bollywood · Public health

Bollywood, Aishwarya, and the Blind in India

This article was published in Huffington Post on 17 July 2015. Here is the link.

An excerpt:

Most Indian moviegoers are familiar with the iconic Shirdi wale Saibaba song where a blind Nirupa Roy miraculously gets her eyesight back. Just like that! (It was perhaps the craziest medical ‘miracle’ of Hindi films until 1995, when a ridiculously insane ‘brain transplant’ surgery trumped it.) Blindness, it seems, is Indian filmmakers’ most favoured physical impairment. From the time Gandhari vowed to forever cover her eyes out of (blind?) devotion to her blind husband, blind characterisation has become an important part of India’s culture and art: Sholay, Bollywood’s ‘greatest story ever told’, had room for a fairly important visually-challenged character (that of AK Hangal) despite Thakur’s somber bilateral upper limb handicap; and Amar Akbar Anthony couldn’t resist the Nirupa Roy vision miracle despite having already shaken the medical world through its gravity-defying ‘triple blood donation’ act…

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