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People often ask us how many students are deaf and how many are blind. They can't fathom that there are many who suffer from both the disabilities," points out Yogesh Desai, CEO, Helen Keller Institute for Deaf and Blind Mumbai. "Most parents, who can't understand their children's condition, believe they are mentally unstable and begin treatment in that direction, causing a delay in their development," he adds. That is why when the institute got a chance to be part of a film based on Helen Keller's life, they agreed. Two former students of the school, Zamir and Pradeep, were assigned the task of training Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan for Black, even as Sangeeta Gala acted as convenor and interpreter.
"We need the script at least a month in advance so that the sign language or gestures can be devised," explains Desai. The unpleasantness, which resulted at the end of the movie, with Zamir claiming he didn't get his due, is attributed to "misunderstanding since there was no pre-decided fee" for the job. The institute also trained Soha Ali Khan for her part as a hearing-impaired woman in the 2011-movie Soundtrack. The institute now charges at least Rs 2.5 lakh for a film.
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