25 November, 2007

The Story of Iqbal

I was home on a Saturday night after quite a few weeks yesterday. So, I just decided to laze around and catch a movie. I had recently bought a ‘War movie’ collection, but since I didn’t want my mom to get bored (the last time I watched a war movie named ‘Hiroshima’ with my mom, she was out after the first 20 mins, and so this time I knew better). DD1 was showing ‘Iqbal’. For those of you who didn’t know, it’s a sports film by Nagesh Kukonoor.

The protagonist, a young teenager named Iqbal (played wonderfully by Shreyas Talpade) is deaf and dumb, born into an impoverished family of a farmer, but is absolutely passionate about cricket. He finds an unwilling coach in Naseruddin Shah, who was a one-time cricket star, but is now a perennial drunkard. The story is about how Iqbal, makes it to the Ranji team and finally to the Indian cricket team. A wonderful film, and towards the end, you’re really praying for Iqbal to make, although you how the movie is going to end.

But other than the wonderful story of the under-dog winning in the end, there was something else about the movie that I really liked. The coach was a major factor in the success of Iqbal. But how many of us actually get that kind of a coach in real life? A coach who really wants you to succeed? Who would go out of his way to ensure that you do well? One of the biggest regrets of my college life was that I didn’t have a teacher who I could really look upto. And if you had known the rules that my college had, you’d know that there was a lot to regret about. There were some who would teach you what was prescribed in the textbook, and others who would come and chat with us and try to be a friend. But none who could inspire us to learn more about what they had to teach. Not surprisingly, when I was at a friends place recently, I could hardly remember the names of some of my teachers

Recently, I was watching a show on NDTV, where during a college farewell, the teachers had something to say about each and every outgoing student and presented each student a gift to remember. In comparison, my convocation was a song and dance show and we were not even invited onto the stage to receive our degrees.

The second story coming from Iqbal was the story of differently-abled children. And what was wonderful about this film, was the manner in which it chose not to focus on his disabilities, but rather to focus on his abilities. I think in real life too, its important that we give differently-abled people their place in mainstream society, and treat them whenever possible as normal people rather than sympathize on their disabilities.

My neighbour has two children, one of whom was born deaf and dumb. But due to the dedicated efforts of his mother, he is now able to speak and hear to a good extent. While, initially I did pity him, I later realized that he is a wonderful artist. And I’m not even exaggerating here. He’s won a scholarship and a state-level drawing competition to prove that.
I think we all strive for recognition, and not pity. So why differentiate?

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