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Sunday, 28 August 2016
Vision beyond eyes: The story of a blind film buff from Kerala
"I am not ready to live my life any lesser than others," Rejoy says.
As a child, Rejoy resented his family members watching television, but did not mind tagging along to a cinema hall with his parents.
“I used to go to cinema theatres just for the AC and to eat puffs during the interval,” says Rejoy KK.
The 22-year-old film buff was born blind.
“At that point of time, it was more or less an unexplained dislike for television. I didn’t want anybody in the house to watch TV, something that I wasn’t capable of doing,” Rejoy recollects.
Things changed a few years later, when the sound of an action movie playing in the house caught Rejoy’s attention and he was intrigued by it.
On his way back from school, bringing home audio cassettes of latest movies became a regular practice. This Malappuram native would spend hours listening to the cassettes over and over again.
He would listen to audio cassette of a new film and then catch the same film in the theatre.
"The experience of watching a film in a theatre is so very different from listening to audio cassettes. At a cinema hall, I watch a film with undivided attention. I can even hear the sound of rain," he says.
Year 2011 marked a new beginning for Rejoy, who is now undergoing computer training in Thiruvananthapuram.
A Class 11 student then, the Malayalam movie ‘Beautiful’ starring Jayasurya inspired him beyond measure. Jayasurya’s character is paralyzed from waist-down, but lives life without an ounce of worry.
A still from the movie 'Beautiful'
“That movie gave me the self-confidence with which I now speak to people, interact with them. I was a shy boy, who lacked confidence even to react to people when they would taunt me. But not anymore,” Rejoy says.
There is a determination in his voice when he says, “I admit that I am blind, but I am not ready to live my life any lesser than others.”
Rejoy recounts an incident outside a theatre in Palakkad, when he stood outside the theatre, unsure of where the gate was. A man walked up to him and said that he was standing outside a theatre, a place where he had no business. It cracked him up.
An ardent lover of Malayalam films, he has a major issue with how physically challenged, especially the blind, are portrayed in films. That is also why 'Beautiful' was a refreshing change.
“There are many films where a blind is portrayed as someone who can’t even take care of himself. People have no clue about how our lives are,” Rejoy laughs.
Though he started off by going to movies with his family, he soon began to go for movies with friends. On a day when his friends did not want to watch a movie he wanted to, Rejoy discovered freedom.
"Until then I had never considered going for movies alone. But now I don't wait for anyone to accompany me," he says.
When Rejoy met director Ranjith Sankar in 2015 as part of his under graduation project
His love for movies led him to chose film analysis as his under graduation project. Though met with skeptical supervisors who doubted his ability to 'see' films, Rejoy indeed had the last laugh.
"I may not be the only blind who watches films. But they have influenced me enough to make me a better person," he says.