A Kannada director is all set to make a film, perhaps for the first time in cinema history, in 99 languages titled “Gestures”. What sets this film apart from others is that the lead pair are both hearing and speech impaired. Sairam Shantha Kumar wants to tell the story of two impaired people who overcome the challenges posed by society to achieve success for themselves and their ilk.
Speaking to press, Shantha Kumar says: “‘Gestures’ is one of its kind in the entire cinema world. Here, the hero and heroine converse in sign language throughout and there is no attempt at conversation by other artistes.” Then how does he plan to make the film in 99 languages as cinema easily transcends language barriers?
“My film will have words but is not verbal. We are using DI (digital intermediate) and other special effects to create speech balloons each time an artiste other than the hero or heroine has to say something – just like in comics. The balloons will have words in the languages suited to each region”.
The director says the film narrates the story from the perspective of two MBA graduates who aspire to work for one of the many MNCs located in Bangalore. Once here, they encounter reality – they can’t get by their oral exams due to their inability to speak. Soon, the two overcome their disappointment and start a company which offers solutions not only for their problems, but also to those of people like them the world over. Their achievement then draws the attention of the world which vows to help people with disabilities some more.
Shantha Kumar wants his film to cover the entire globe and is inserting dialogues in languages ranging from Kannada to Konkani to Korean to Kirundi (spoken in Burundi and Uganda), Mandarin, Balochi, Mythili, Nepali etc, totalling 99 languages. Xhosa, Zulu, Greek, etc., too find a place in the list.
“The film’s subject matter has a universal appeal,” says the director.
Dhruv Sharma, a known face in Sandalwood and the Man of the Series in the recently concluded Celebrity Cricket League plays the hero, while Spoorthi, a dancer who’s pursuing her PU course in the City, will play the heroine. The film, which will be launched on Monday, has a 120-day schedule during which the film unit will travel to Darjeeling, Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. The computer graphics interface (CGI) work will then take up to 50 days.
Cinematographer Santhosh Kumar, whose outlandish special effects were first seen in late Ramanand Sagar’s fantasy serial ‘Alif Laila’ on Doordarshan several years ago, is handling the camera for this venture. Shantha Kumar plans to donate the proceeds of the film to a Trust he will soon establish. He plans to open stores that will exclusively employ people who have various types of disabilities and are therefore unable to gain employment.