Raising the Bar Movie Review

Feb 23, 2018, 13:08 IST | Johnson Thomas

This Indo-Australian documentary feature that aims at creating awareness about the universal message of inclusion and diversity while celebrating the differences that make us all unique , is a heart-touching experience

Raising the Bar
Cast: Aarshia, Alle, Abdullah
Director: Onir
Rating:

This Indo-Australian documentary feature that aims at creating awareness about the universal message of inclusion and diversity while celebrating the differences that make us all unique, is a heart-touching experience. Helmed by National Award winning director, Onir 'Raising The Bar' has already won several awards internationally.

The film follows the lives of six young individuals from across two different continents, grappling with Down syndrome, and how with the steadfast and unstinting acceptance of their loving parents they are able to raise the bar on what they can individually achieve in such a compartmentalised existence. Their life stories are depicted through interviews with parents and caregivers, activities designed to help them evolve their self-worth and anecdotes from their individual experiences highlighting their own efforts to keep up with the world that could have just as easily alienated them altogether.

The 6 individuals had shared their tales at the World Down Syndrome Congress held in Chennai and Onir's documentary takes off from there to tell their individual tales. Shot in Melbourne, Kolhapur, Delhi, Agra & Chennai, the documentary speaks about their unstinting love and devotion for their parents who have encountered grave hardships in order to make them at least partially self-sufficient in achieving their goals. Their determination and grit to overcome their handicaps comes across in full force as they gather together to participate in a congress that brings together people from different walks of life and countries sharing diverse experiences of love and never-say-die human spirit. Onir's effort may be a tad simplistic but it tells the story like it is in real life.

The effort of the intellectually disabled to break free from the stereotypes that society has enforced on them, is vividly brought out. Their breaking out of preconceived barriers in an effort to conquer personal challenges is something to be seen and believed in. The camerawork allows for intimacy with the characters and that's what gets you cheering for them. Their innocence and guilelessness and the sheer joy at achieving whatever they possibly can, is a visual that will stay with you long after the film is over. Down syndrome, at almost 30,000 cases per year, is a huge challenge for India where general disability itself doesn't get it's due. Onir's film will of course go a long way in sensitising the mass and educating them on acceptance of this condition without prejudice or criticism. But it really needs to be seen to achieve that.

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