Bollywood star Salman Khan on Tuesday sent a special video message for differently-abled children who watched his comedy drama “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” at the first International Film Festival for Persons with Disabilities (IFFPwD), saying that despite all odds, such people should be provided all facilities at theatres.
Though Salman, who is currently busy shooting for “Sultan”, was not able to attend the screening, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” director Kabir Khan and child actress Harshaali Malhotra, who played the role of deaf and dumb girl Munni, were present at the venue.
In the video message, the “Dabangg” actor said: “I should have been a part of this festival, but due to my packed shooting schedule for ‘Sultan’, I couldn’t be there physically.
“But from my heart and soul, I am always up for such causes. To start a film festival especially for differently-abled is a really noble thought.
Salman further said cinema was a big part of Indian culture, so the differently-abled should not be neglected from watching films.
The 49-year-old said: “Cinema, movies or entertainment are a big part of Indian culture, but I don’t see differently-abled getting a chance to view films in theatres as most of them (theatres) don’t have wheel chairs and other facilities.
“I don’t understand why the differently abled people should be left out of this. I feel very fortunate to have all my senses. But there are many who can see but not hear and some who can hear but not see, they all should go and enjoy and should be provided with the necessary facilities.”
During a question-answer session, Kabir Khan said that while he was making “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, he never thought of focusing on the issue of differently-abled people, but in the whole film, everyone treated Munni like a normal person.
“‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ is a very special film for Salman and me because there is a very special character of Munni in it. While making the film, I never thought of her being a physically challenged child.
“The important thing that we wanted to show was that everyone forgets that Munni is disabled, we wanted to bring in that dignity and spirit of normal person in her and treat her like normal, regular person,” Kabir said.
“Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, which released on July 17 and collected more than Rs.600 crore at the box office, also starred Kareena Kapoor Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
The three-day festival, organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the social justice and empowerment ministry in collaboration with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), started with the screening of Marathi film “Yellow” on Tuesday at the Siri Fort auditorium.
It will screen 40 Indian language and international films — 16 short films, 14 documentaries and 10 features (7 fiction and 3 documentary films) before coming to an end on Thursday.