Indian cinema's wordsmith Gulzar, who has touched many with his lyrics and films, says movies on differently abled people should be separately honoured at the National Awards to encourge more filmmakers to tell stories of the special.
Gulzar was here to attend a screening of his daughter Meghna Gulzar's documentary "Closer" at the first edition of International Film Festival for Persons with Disabilities (IFFPwD) on Wednesday.
Happy with a film festival dedicated to the cause, Gulzar told IANS: "It's a good thing that we are getting to witness film festivals like these, mainly because they are focussing on a very big part of the society. It's not that we didn't know about the disabled, but our focus was not much on them."
"With such type of festivals, our focus has shifted towards that section of the society which we need to pay attention towards. Sometimes I feel that disabled people don't need our help as much as we need theirs, because we have somehow neglected them. They don't care for us and they are proving themselves without much support," added the industry veteran.
The 81-year-old also feels more film galas like these must happen.
"I also wish that in National Awards, there should be a particular session or award especially for these kind of films. It will be an encouraging step," he added.
Gulzar said that it's the entertainment industry's responsibility to make more films on such issues as cinema creates a big impact in changing viewers' perception towards the society.
"Cinema plays an essential role. It can create an impact on people's perception. If it wouldn't have, then I won't have been here. The reason and consciousness with which you make a film doesn't end with that film. Everything that you say in the film is your conviction and you have to prove that in real life too," said the filmmaker, who has made films like "Koshish" and "Parichay".
His daughter Meghna believes "people are making films on issues of disabled people, but we need platforms for them to be visible".
"There are examples like 'Koshish', 'Khamoshi', 'Taare Zameen Par', 'Black' and 'Yellow'. These are films that are made on such issues. We as makers make the film, but it gets slotted later as an art film or a niche film because of the audience viewing pattern. We as filmmakers have done our job by making a film, but it is dependent upon viewers and how they accept it."
Meghna, whose last directorial was "Talvar", also said that when people make films on social issues, the endeavour is that they can make a difference.
"Films are always a soft target for what goes wrong in the society. People think that whatever is happening is because of the type of films that they see. But films do a lot of other work as well. That doesn't get noticed. I hope it does," she said.
Talking about her documentary "Closer", Meghna said: "This film was made four years ago. When we were making this film, we had to remind people everytime that please don't say 'disabled' and say differently abled. Don't say deaf and dumb, say hearing or speech impaired. Because it was about softening those terms and removing the negativity."
The three-day festival, organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the social justice and empowerment ministry in collaboration with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), started with the screening of Marathi film "Yellow" on Tuesday at the Siri Fort auditorium.