Nation Current Affairs 08 Dec 2016 International Film F ...

International Film Festival of Kerala apathy to special people

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARCHANA RAVI
Published Dec 8, 2016, 6:29 am IST
Updated Dec 8, 2016, 6:32 am IST
One of the IFFK organising committee members R. Gireeshkumar, who has a polio affected leg, had specifically asked for certain facilities.
 One of the IFFK organising committee members R. Gireeshkumar, who has a polio affected leg, had specifically asked for certain facilities.

Thiruvananthapuram: Organisers of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) had thoughtfully set up a separate counter for people with disabilities during registration. But are the theatres accessible to them? The number of people who came for registration at the special counter was not more than 20, and none were wheelchair-enabled, according to an IFFK volunteer.

Author and a self-confessed movie buff, Soni Somarajan has never been to IFFK since he came to Thiruvananthapuram in 1991.He is wheelchair-enabled and finds most of the city inaccessible.

He has been to one of the recently refurbished theatres, Aries Plex, where after a ramp and an elevator, a flight of stairs greeted him inside the theatre. “Most often one would be with a couple of friends. But, when the stairs are too many and too steep, two people won’t be able to lift one. Then there should be earmarked areas to park wheelchairs. So that no one will have to lift you into a seat,” he says.

One of the IFFK organising committee members R Gireeshkumar, who has a polio affected leg, had specifically asked for certain facilities. “They have allowed parking our vehicles right in front of theatres. Moreover volunteers will be helping a person up should there be a need,” he says.

However, the ones using a wheelchair find it awkward when strangers come to help. Most often, the people who help may not be sensitive to the feelings of a person with disability, according to Gokul Ratnakar. The young lawyer who had a life-changing accident some years ago would not like to be dependent on anyone. He drives his car, but to watch a movie, he needs to go with at least six friends so that they can lift him up the stairs.

There are those who point out that theatres like Kalabhavan and Kairali are accessible. But Gokul says, “Even a small step, like the one next to Kalabhavan’s ticket counter, is a hurdle, and one will have to depend on someone.” For now, he banks on his film-lover friends, who get him DVDs.

The only theatre completely accessible to those with disabilities is Tagore.

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