Soha Ali Khan, who plays a hearing-impaired person in her forthcoming film Soundtrack, an official adaptation of It's All Gone Pete Tong, says she found inspiration for the character from her father Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi’s indomitable spirit.
Mansoor, who lost vision in one eye at the start of his cricketing career, is an exemplar of the real-life tale of triumph of the human spirit. He not only overcame the disability, but also went on to become a pioneering figure, who played captain to the Indian cricket team.
"Papa had gone completely blind in one eye when he was only 20 years old. Initially, he would put an eye patch and play. But that distracted him, so he removed it and continued playing. When one has vision only in one eye, playing sports or driving is difficult as you cannot judge distances or fathom the depth and perspective. But my father played like that for the entire length of his career," says Soha.
While Soha wasn’t born that time, she has grown up listening to these tales. "Papa wasn’t married then. He had to deal with it pretty much himself, with the support of his team members and family. Sometimes I cover my eye to imagine what it would be like to face a very fast West Indian bowler, and I don’t know how he (Mansoor) managed to do it. Now in hindsight, it seems easy as one of those legendary stories of a one-eyed batsman," she says.
Soha, who learnt sign language for the film at the The Helen Keller Institute in Parel, says that earlier she used to take her five senses for granted, but after playing the role of a person with a disability, she keeps reminding herself to be grateful for all that she has in life. About her character in the film, she adds, “She’s completely happy and celebrates life to the fullest extent and doesn’t let any kind of disability hold her back in any way. Though born without the concept of sound, she still is quite zestful.”