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With a voice for every Maddy move, blind students catch the action of ‘Vikram Veda’

TimesOfIndia.com

CHENNAI: S Meghavannan and his friends may not have been able to see R Madhavan in action in the film 'Vikram Veda', but the group of blind boys could certainly feel every pulsating moment of it on Thursday thanks to Ability foundation's screening of the film with audio descriptions.

This is the first time I could understand a movie completely," says an excited Meghavannan. "I've never managed to follow a movie like this all through, where I would be told exactly what each character was doing or what the setting was. Here I could imagine everything because there was a voice telling me what was happening... that there was rain falling in the background, the neighbours were watching the cops, there was a gangster sneaking up behind the hero, it was thrilling," says the 23-year-old college student.

On the penultimate day of the Ability Fest 2017, the excitement at getting to experience a Tamil blockbuster in its entirety reverberated through the entire Sathyam Theatre, where more than 100 blind people sat glued to their seats gasping, hooting and clapping on cue.

Audio describing a film, says Janaki Sabesh of Qube Cinema, involves first getting the descriptions of the scenes dubbed, and then adding it into the actual audio track of the film to make it seem seamless. "In this case it was Radio Mirchi that handled the dubbing, while we did the final mastering," she says. "It is not very expensive to do and most companies do it as a CSR activity," adds Sabesh.

The fest, which is screening films from different countries till September 14 at Sathyam Cinemas, gets at least one film audio described every year. "This is the first time, we managed to do so for a film that is still running in theatres. So it was all the more exciting for our audience," says Ability Foundation programme director Janaki Pillai. "We see this as a first step in getting films released with audio-descriptions, so when they come to theatres can be watched by everyone," she says.

Not that distant a dream perhaps, as at the end of the 'Vikram Veda' screening, overwhelmed by the response of the audience, directors Pushkar and Gayathri mentioned that they would consider doing it for the release of their next film.