I happened to watch oppam (a 2016 malayalam film) and kaabil (a 2017 hindi film) one after the other in a span of a few days. And believe me, watching two films with two enthusiastic blind men in the lead did nothing to my psyche or sympathy for anybody or the film. But it made me go find Yodha (an older 1992 Malayalam film) on you tube and watch it all over again for its treatment of the same handicap.
I should neither be judgemental nor be critical about a film. But what irked me most about both the newer films were how they glorified the blindness aspect of their lead characters from the start when these characters are shown to be self reliant and do not think of their blindness as a handicap to live by.
Therefore I go back to Yodha, where nothing of the blindness is highlighted in extravagant proportion to make the star, that is Mohanlal. It could be because the star becomes blind mid way through the film when the plot of the film has entered a crisis. Ashokan, the character played by Mohanlal, finds it as a handicap, but tries to adjust to his blindness without much fuss, learns to horne his other senses and use them to the hilt. The rest as Coleridge has said we need to suspend and just believe.
When a Malayalee today sits to watch Oppam, they may see a Mohanlal who has already been trained to live with his blindness, a training he was given in Yodha back in the 90s. In that way, the film is a commemoration of sorts.
However, nothing explains how and where the hrithik roshan of kaabil receives his training from 😎😂😎😂
Oppam (2016) Malayalam | dir: Priyadarshan | Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu
Kaabil (2017) Hindi | dir: Sanjay Gupta| Hrithik Roshan, Ronit Roy
Yodha (1992) Malayalam | dir: Sangeeth Sivan | Mohanlal, Madhu, Siddhartha, Jagathy