Disability does not stop him from dreaming big
The 45-year-old’s mind is sharp and he is into many things. Overcoming his disability, he has studied law and business management. He has been a disabled rights activist and motivational counselor for last several years.
Jitendra Kumar Biswal is an amazing person. A quadriplegic since childhood, Biswal is bound to a wheel chair. He cannot stand up, cannot walk and move his hands or legs.
Only, he raises his right forearm to talk to his mobile phone with the help of an attendant, who remains with him all along.
But the 45-year-old’s mind is sharp and he is into many things. Overcoming his disability, he has studied law and business management.
He has been a disabled rights activist and motivational counselor for last several years.
In May last year, he created a video called My Attitude, My Life Despite My Disability with a collage of still photographs accompanied by text messages.
It went viral on YouTube drawing appreciation from television personalities Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt and author Sashi Tharoor.
The appreciation encouraged Biswal, who hails from Bargarh district of eastern Indian state of Odisha, to do something more substantial and he conceived the idea of a story to be made a short film.
Desire, the 35-minute short film focused on a person with extreme disability and how he develops a beautiful relationship with a normal girl.
“Through my film, I wanted to send a message that people with disability have feelings, emotion and desire like any other normal people and society have to respect that,” says Biswal.
As he looked out for a financier to realise his dream, he met fellow Odia Avinash Nanda, an ad filmmaker in Mumbai. Nanda was immensely impressed with Biswal’s idea and vitality.
Besides giving his nod to direct the film, Nanda also urged his entrepreneur friend Rajinder Singh Bhatia, who has business in Bhubaneswar, to produce the film.
The shooting of the film started in mid-2015 with Biswal and Mumbai based model Swapna Pati as lead actors.
“However as the film progressed, we all felt that it could be made into a full-length feature film,” Biswal says.
After a lot of deliberation, Biswal, Nanda and Bhatia converted the film into a 90-minute feature film and changed the name to Two Desires and a Dream. Changes were made in the script and new characters created.
Bollywood actors like Aryan Vaid, Preeti Jhangiani, Hemant Choudhury and Brijendra Kala were roped in. It also makes Biswal probably the first quadriplegic in the world to be a ‘hero’ in a full-length movie.
The film was shot mostly on locations and after it was completed, the makers showed the first cuts of the film in Mumbai in August.
They are planning to screen the movie in three international film festivals – International Film Festival and Awards, Macao, Cairo International Film Festival and Dubai International Film Festival – to be held between November and December.
Biswal says shooting for a full-length feature film was quite taxing but it was very exciting as well. But it could not have been possible without Nanda and Bhatia, he says.
Nanda, on the other hand, says Biswal’s strong will, confidence and energy despite extreme disability made him get associated with the project.
As for Bhatia, who had never been into film production, the whole experience was quite rewarding.
“Here is a person bound to a wheel chair all the time, but ready to try out things that so-called normal people would think twice before doing. The film also reflects Biswal’s perseverance and enthusiasm and that’s what drew me to the project,” he says.