Disability Media

Gulfam: A Revolution in Accessible Entertainment

A few days ago, I received a call from one Sanamjit Talwar, a film maker from Mumbai. He told me of Gulfam, a feature film he had made during the pandemic. He proudly claimed that Gulfam was born accessible, specially created keeping in mind both the sighted and blind audience. He was keen that I watched the film and gave him feedback. Of course, you must have used audio description I quipped. He urged me to take a look at the film before I drew any conclusion.

Gulfam has a fascinating story line. The film is just over a couple of hours but very engaging. The narrative begins in Kashmir but then the bulk of the action plays out in the US. The film is fast moving and has its fair share of action, emotion and intrigue. The film opens with the young Gulfam stumbling across his mother lying dead on the veranda of his home with a bullet in her face. The boy then is smuggled into the US to live with his father. But as Gulfam makes his entry into Loss Angeles, the little boy is left literally at the mercy of the World around him. The story is about how the young Gulfam copes with his new situation and how the people around respond. The plot is gripping and will keep you glued to the screen till the very end.

I watched the film alone on my laptop screen and had enjoyed every bit of it. I realized that the film script was constructed in a manner that the entire story was being narrated by Sampooran Singh one of the characters in the story. As the narrative progressed, I could visualize each scene as it unfolded. I must also mention here that the music and the sound effects in the film has been sensitively put together and seamlessly adds to the story telling.

I decided to share the link with a colleague to get her views on the film. Her response was fascinating. She said that the film had no visuals, there was just a sound track. But she added that as she heard the narration, she could visualize pictures on the screen. This was amazing. No real visuals, yet the viewer was able to see what was going on. I believe Sanamjit Talwar has come up with a unique and powerful idea of a “Sound Film. The power is in the scripting that integrates the pictures as part of the narrative. This is an innovation that could open up an entirely new platform of story telling and entertainment that is born accessible.

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