Shah Rukh Khan starrer My Name Is Khan has become the first Bollywood film to be released in cinemas across the country with Hindi audio description (AD) for visually challenged people.
AD is as important to blind and partially sighted people as subtitles are to those with hearing problems. It is an additional narration that fits between passages of dialogue to describe action sequences, body language, costume and scenery, allowing the viewer to understand exactly what is happening on screen.
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) worked with 20th Century Fox to achieve this after research amongst blind or partially sighted people found that over 55 per cent of respondents were more likely to watch Bollywood films if AD was provided.
"Around 700 films are produced by Bollywood every year and our research tells us that blind and partially sighted fans want AD on these films. We hope other studios will follow 20th Century Fox's lead," said Fazilet Hadi, director of RNIB.
The studio has come out with both English and Hindi AD tracks for My Name Is Khan. "We are proud to offer for the first time ever a Hindi AD track on My Name is Khan. English speaking AD has been available on all our films for some time now, so we felt it was natural to progress and offer Hindi AD on our first collaboration with Bollywood,” Martin Bromfield, executive director Twentieth Century, said in a statement.
"With help from RNIB and Deluxe Digital Studios, we worked hard to create an English audio descriptive track which was then translated before being recorded by a Hindi speaking audio describer, in time for the second week of release,” he added.
Directed by Karan Johar My Name Is Khan features Shah Rukh as Rizwan Khan who embarks on a journey across America to win back the love of his life, Mandira, played by Kajol.