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11 Dec 2023, Edition - 3072, Monday

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Kumar, India’s first visually challenged film director crashes glass ceiling

Sunandha Vijayakumar


K. Richard Kumar’s ‘Idhuvum sathiyam’, the title of his short-film defines his life. Kumar is a visually challenged RJ, mimicry artist, now the first short-film director of India.

Can a visually impaired person dream?  – is the tag line of this short film. Kumar dreams were vivid and he worked hard towards making it a reality. Kumar is a multi-talented individual, who wants to make a mark in this world, breaking all the prejudices the society has about visually impaired.

Can a visual challenged person become a director? This  was the question posed by Kumar to veteran tamil cine film maker Mr. Balu Mahendra, at an event held in 2014. Mr. Balu was impressed by the Kumar’s resolve and asked him to join his RKV Film Institute. He was tutored by Mr. Balu with rest of his students until his demise.

This experience gave Kumar the vision to direct movies. He dreamed of reaching higher horizons and shot his first short film, ‘Kanal neer’. But he was cheated by his cinematographer, who absconded with the footage. He incurred heavy loss in this venture.

Kumar, never gave up and took up petty jobs to fund for his next short film. At that point in time, he and his wife lost their house and had to live in pavements for months. After few years of struggle, he directed his next short-film and this was released by Actor Ashok Kumar, in the event ‘Rendevous 2.0’ organized by Headway Foundation, an NGO which focuses on improving the lives of physically-challenged.

 Veteran actor Kamal Hassan was invited to this event as chief guest.  K. Ragavi SenthilKumar, Founder of Headway told The Covai Post that Kumar was also featured in their yearly calender as one among twelve differently-abled icons.

Further Kumar thanked his wife Viji Kumar for being a constant source of  motivaton. Viji, like Kumar is a visually challenged tailor. Apart from his wife, he has a loyal group of friends who support his ambitions. Kumar stated that his parents however weren’t of much support . “This is the case of many visually impaired children with normal siblings”, he rued. 

Kumar is a good mimicry artist who can mimic overv150 voices. He also trains aspiring RJs and VJs. He enthusiastically revealed that he has already scripted his next short-film that is to be released soon. He needs empathy and not sympathy, he adds.

Kumar has changed all his ‘Can I?’ to ‘I can’ in life.  Now it’s our turn to stop asking ‘Can they?

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