For all the creativity and melodrama that Bollywood’s championed all these years, Kalki Koechlin’s Margarita With A Straw, which releases on Friday, raises one moot question: Why does the industry always portray ‘disability’ on the screen in a half-hearted, caricaturist manner, which invariably borders on being insensitive? Sadly, B’town’s attitude towards the disabled is either stereotypical or patronising, or they have used them as objects of pity, comic interludes, liabilities, medical aberrations, or burden etc.
Margarita With A Straw, directed by Shonali Bose, could change the trend. The film has its lead, Laila (convincingly played by Kalki), a rebellious young woman with cerebral palsy struggling with her life. More importantly, it explores Laila’s sexual urges and a whole range of issues related to it. Bose’s deep understanding of Laila’s condition makes the treatment special, and also raises the hope that this film will be instrumental in changing Bollywood’s attitudes towards the disabled.However, till that happens, here’s a look at some films which did not just have a disabled character at the centre of its plot, but which also treated the subject with the right measure of compassion and sensitivity.