Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) Filmmaker Onir, who has made an emotionally fulfilling documentary titled “Raising The Bar” on those afflicted with Down syndrome, says there is a need to create a decent space for the specially abled.
“I have a show for social workers, NGOs politicians and activists in Delhi on Tuesday and then another later in the month in Mumbai.
“I want an awareness to be created as to why it is important for all of us to be patient and compassionate with those who are not as quick to assimilate as normal people are. We need to create a decent space for the specially abled,” he said.
The film, shot in Australia and India with the active contribution of those lovely children and young persons trying to assimilate into mainstream society, takes the audience on an emotionally overwhelming journey with the parents of progenies with Down syndrome.
These parents talk with unconcealed emotion about their shock and hurt when they first discovered their children’s special condition and how they eventually coped with the condition with a dogged determination to ensure that their children integrate into the mainstream.
“We shot the film in Australia and India. And I realised the importance of inclusiveness, of ensuring that people who are born special get a proper place in society not just through the support system created by parents family and friends but society at large,” said Onir.
“To my horror and shock, I realised that in India we do not even provide the basic amenities in public places that are required by people born with special abilities. In India, how many movie theatres accommodate wheelchairs? The disability gets as basic as that.”
Comparatively, Onir found Australia far more friendly towards those born with Down syndrome.
“In India it is considered a curse by some sections to have a child with Down syndrome. In my documentary, you hear a Maharashtrian mother reveal how she was advised by well-wishers to smother her child with Down syndrome under a pillow,” he said.
The documentary shows not only the indomitable spirit of the young people afflicted with this disability but also the determination of their parents to give them as normal an upbringing as possible.
Onir has formed a lifelong bond with all the parents and children who form a part of his documentary.
“I think it is very self-serving and cruel to befriend people just for your film and then forget them. Two of those with Down syndrome who figure in my documentary live in Delhi and I try to visit them every time I am in the city,” he said.