Farhan Akhtar and Amitabh Bachchan starrer, Wazir, is coming out this Friday and people have issues with it already. Disabled Rights Group (DRG), led by disability rights activist Javed Abibi, on Tuesday condemned director Bejoy Nambiar’s remarks on “limiting” megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s persona in a wheelchair for the film. The group has demanded an apology for the “disparaging” statement.
DRG also plans to pen a letter to Amitabh over the issue.
In an interview, Nambiar, while talking about Amitabh’s portrayal as a paralysed chess grandmaster, had said: “Right from the beginning, we knew that the protagonist had to be on a wheelchair. Casting Mr. Bachchan, who has got such a strong persona, and limiting him in a wheelchair, was a big task for us to get used to”.
This is what has spelt trouble for Nambiar.
DRG on Tuesday issued a statement that Nambiar’s comments are “disparaging and extremely condescending towards people with disabilities, and highlights complete lack of knowledge, extremely archaic and derogatory perspectives that he has on disability”.
Abidi, the group’s convenor and a wheelchair user for over 30 years, said: “I’m very much a wheelchair user and so is Stephen Hawking! Neither are we ‘constrained’, nor ‘limited’ in any which way whatsoever, for god’s sake. I am extremely shocked to read Nambiar’s statement. Does he have such a regressive image of a person with disability in his mind? It seems that he does.”
Abidi wants Nambiar to “immediately retract his statement” and “offer an unqualified apology to India’s 70 million disabled citizens”.
He also added that he would be writing to Amitabh “personally and draw his attention to the extremely damaging remarks made by Nambiar”.
“No matter what, from now onwards and upto the release of the film and beyond, in all the publicity and promotion of the movie, acute care must be taken that this kind of derogatory language is not used ever again,” Abidi said.
“Wazir”, which also stars Farhan Akhtar and Aditi Rao Hydari, is revenge saga and a thriller with a unique friendship at its core. It is releasing on Friday.