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Salman Khan wants more differently-abled people to be able to watch films in theatres

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 3 December 2015, 19:53 IST

The first ever International Film Festival for the Persons with Disabilities (IFFPD) was launched on 30 November.

A total of 40 films were screened during the three-day festival - which was organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and National Film Development Corporation.

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Kabir Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which broke records when it released earlier this year, will go down as one of the most impressive films of Salman Khan's rather illustrious career. A screening of Bajrangi Bhaijaan was held for a group of differently-abled children on 1 December.

Khan, who was unable to attend the screening, sent a special video message for his viewers.

"I should have been a part of this festival, but due to my packed shooting schedule for 'Sultan', I couldn't be there physically. But from my heart and soul, I am always up for such causes. To start a film festival especially for differently-abled is a really noble thought," he said.

The superstar said that persons with disabilities should called "differently-abled", and not "disabled".

The actor, who was last seen as Prem in Sooraj Barjatya's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo also said that theatres in India should have wheelchair facilities to make them more accessible.

"Cinema, movies or entertainment are a big part of Indian culture, but I don't see differently-abled getting a chance to view films in theatres as most of theatres don't have wheel chairs and other facilities."

Khan's comments came just days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Accessible India campaign on 3 December - the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

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Salman Khan is currently in Karjat for his next film Sultan in which he will essay the role of a Haryanvi wrestler. The movie is slated to release on Eid next year.

Director Kabir Khan interacted with the audience at the festival and told them why Bajrangi Bhaijaan - which stars Harshaali Malhotra essaying the role of a speech and hearing impaired child - was a special film.

"The important thing that we wanted to show was that everyone forgets that Munni (Harshaali Malhotra) is disabled, we wanted to bring in that dignity and spirit of normal person in her and treat her like normal, regular person," the Indian Express quoted him as saying.

-- Text By Himesh Mankad

First published: 3 December 2015, 19:53 IST