Just before India’s 71th Independence Day, Goa witnessed the launch of the National Anthem in sign language featuring Amitabh Bachchan along with differently abled children who are featured in the video using sign language. NT KURIOCITY speaks to Satish Kapoor, the man behind the concept of the video
Singing the National Anthem is always a proud moment for any Indian but it took years for differently abled children to be part of it. It’s never too late and finally these children too can sing ‘Jana Gana Mana’. The video of the country’s National Anthem in sign language was recently launched in Goa, Bhopal, Chandigarh and Kolhapur.
The 3-minute 40-second long video featuring Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan along with 36 children include those who are visually impaired, mute, hearing impaired, those with intellectual impairment, cerebral palsy and who are not able to move and have to therefore use a wheelchair.
The concept of the video is by recipient of Acharya Vinobha Bhave National Volunteer Award and founder and director of Delhi-based NGO Brotherhood, Satish Kapoor. It has been directed by chief patron of ‘We Care Film Festival’, Govind Nihalani and the music is by late Adesh Srivastav.
Speaking about how he came up with the concept of national anthem in sign language, Satish says: “In India filmmakers are producing films without subtitles. We approached many film-makers of Indian film industry to produce accessible films for audience who cannot see, hear and speak. But on repeated follow-ups we failed to make them understand as disability sector is not their priority.”
It was then that he thought he should create awareness in the film fraternity to release films in an accessible format also. He says: “Our appeal is to have at least one show in a week dedicated to audience with visual, speech and hearing impairment. This should be mentioned in the schedule of each cinema so that target audience can benefit. It was with this idea in mind that I decided to produce the Indian National Anthem video in sign language.”
Satish further says that it was Govind who approached Amitabh Bachchan and in a month’s time he got confirmation that Bachchan would be a part of the video. Explaining why they chose to feature Bachchan in the video, Satish says: “Amitabh Bachchan had learnt sign language while acting in the film Black which, of course, is a landmark film. Amitabh’s relation in reel world with disability forced me to produce the video with him.”
The purpose of making this accessible video is to educate the Indian community that if Amitabh can learn sign language whether it is for film ‘Black’ or for the video, then why not us. “We are also going to appeal to Government of India to include this video in the curriculum of training institutes of education and include sign language as an optional subject in schools,” Satish says.
He also states that according to UNESCO this is the first accessible video of the National Anthem produced in India and they will promote this video as an example of accessible videos across the globe and encourage other counties also to produce similar accessible national anthems.