From Entertainment to Disability: Bollywood Is A Serious Business

Movies deal with every possible theme. From romance to alien attacks to true stories. You name it and there are  a plethora of movies from Hollywood, Bollywood and World Cinemas that deal with different themes and genres.

And amongst this array of subjects, one theme that always strikes the right chord with the audience’s heart – the portrayal of challenged. Raise your hand if you cried while watching Aamir Khan‘s Taare Zameen Par. Or you were moved by Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s Black. But if you were unaffected, then we must say you are mentally super-strong.

Be it Taare Zameen Par or Black or Guzzarish, each movie was spectacular, spellbinding, brilliant and so on. But they all had one common element – a protagonist with disabilities. Though the movies were great on their own, the idea of having a disabled character in the lead role is something worth appreciating.

The physically-challenged characters in some films are born handicapped while others struggle owing to accidents or conflicts. Movies with physically challenged protagonists may feature tragedy and depression. But there lies an unexplained sweetness and joy that make these underdogs the final victors.

So here are our choices of Bollywood films where physically-challenged characters stole the limelight.

Taare Zameen Par

Topping the chart of actors who played disability-oriented roles is Darsheel Safary. At the age of 10, he portrayed the character of Ishaan Nandkishore Awasthi in Aamir Khan‘s Taare Zameen Par. What’s the challenge? His character suffered from dyslexia – a learning difficulty. Darsheel portrayed his learning disability act with utmost ease and was a natural.


One of the best performances by Rani Mukherjee. Inspired by Helen Keller’s character, the brilliant actress gave a dynamic performance as the blind-deaf-dumb Michelle McNally. Each frame of this Sanjay Leela Bhansali creation absorbs the viewer completely into the life of Michelle. The magnificence of the film can’t be expressed in words. You need to watch it to feel it.


Another brilliant creation by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Though the film flopped at the box office, it garnered rave critical reviews. Playing the character of Ethan Mascarenhas, a quadriplegic, wheelchair-bound magician, Hrithik Roshan added a special spark to the role. A beautiful story backed by a talented star cast, this movie deserves to be watched.


The role of Auro was a milestone in Amitabh Bachchan‘s career. In Paa, Auro suffers from a rare genetic condition of progeria. At 66, performing as a 12 year-old with a special condition definitely wasn’t a cakewalk for Big B. With the character of Auro, he once again proves that he is indeed one of the finest actors to ever emerge out of Bollywood.

My Name Is Khan

With My Name Is Khan, Bollywood’s Baadshah proved that he is not always busy romancing his heroines. He played the role of Rizwan Khan, a character suffering from Asperger Syndrome (a type of Autism). From the expression to the body language, Shah Rukh Khan‘s performance was impeccable. With a superb underlying message, My Name Is Khan is yet another film that deserves accolades.

You have nothing great to do over the weekend? And if you enjoy the feel-good factor evoked by movies with a physically-challenged protagonist then add these movies to your weekend planner and enjoy.

Also, if you enjoy plays based on this specific theme, then our recommendation for you are Don’t Wake Me and If These Spasms Could Speak. Being part of the Going Solo International Theatre Festival, both the plays will be staged across 4 cities – New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkatta in October. If you want to enjoy a brilliant play with soul-touching theme, then don’t miss out on Don’t Wake Me and If These Spasms Could Speak.

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