Wazir: PwD rights group unhappy, Bejoy Nambiar apologises
Farhan Akhtar and Amitabh Bachchan in a still from Wazir. (Facebook)
Director Bejoy Nambiar, who is gearing up for his Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar-starrer Wazir, has apologized for ‘hurting sentiments if any’ after Disability rights activist Javed Abidi condemned his remarks on “limiting” Amitabh’s persona in a wheelchair. Disabled Rights Group (DRG) on Tuesday demanded an apology for Nambiar’s “disparaging” statement wherein he spoke about Amitabh’s portrayal as a paralyzed chess grandmaster.
Nambiar had said: “Right from the beginning, we knew that the protagonist had to be on a wheelchair. Casting Mr. Bachchan, who has got such a strong persona, and limiting him in a wheelchair, was a big task for us to get used to.” This spelled trouble for Nambiar when DRG on Tuesday issued a statement that his comments are “disparaging and extremely condescending towards people with disabilities, and highlights complete lack of knowledge, extremely archaic and derogatory perspectives that he has on disability”.
Farhan Akhtar and Aditi Rao will be seen together in Wazir. (Facebook)
The team of Wazir -- Nambiar, as well as the film’s co-writers Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi -- has apologized, but also clarified that “no malice” was ever intended. Nambiar said, “I have no clue (about the issue)...that’s the character he’s (Amitabh is) playing... what is so wrong in what I’m saying?”
Joshi said, “Absolutely nothing offensive was meant, that can be assured. There’s not one percent malice towards anyone”, while Chopra said: “How can he have malice? Our character is that (paralyzed). Amitabh Bachchan is playing that. We don’t mean malice.” Chopra, who is also a producer of the movie, said they “apologize if somebody’s sentiments are hurt”.
Watch Wazir trailer
Meanwhile, reacting to Nambiar’s comments, Amitabh Bachchan said at an event, “I do not think it was limiting... It was exciting to be doing a role that I had not done before... The approach to the character was dictated by the director.”
John Abraham will also be seen in Wazir. (YouTube grab)
DRG’s convenor Javed Abidi, a wheelchair user for over 30 years, had said that he was “extremely shocked to read Nambiar’s statement”, which reflected a “regressive image of a person with a disability in his mind”. He expressed hope that “no matter what, from now onwards and up to the release of the film and beyond, in all the publicity and promotion of the movie, acute care must be taken that this kind of derogatory language is not used ever again”.
Wazir, which also stars Aditi Rao Hydari and John Abraham, is revenge saga and a thriller. It is scheduled to hit theatres on Friday.