“Learning to accept autistic kids is crucial.”
So says Kaushik Roy, the father of a son who, according to his father “is mildly autistic, a slow learner and not like regular children.” Roy is a successful businessman with a passion for film that is hardly surprising when you consider that he is the nephew of Bimal Roy, one of India’s most successful film directors.
Perhaps more surprisingly, he took time out from a demanding business career to make a film, inspired by his son. Apna Asmaan is a film I really want to see after reading Kaushik Roy’s inspirational comments on the film’s web site. There is also an interview in which he says
The film started in a personal way though it is not autobiographical. It started with a dream in 1999. I dreamt that my younger son Orko (who is mildly autistic, a slow learner and not like regular children) was doing extremely well in life, became famous but did not recognise me. Immediately, I told my wife Nina. This triggered the thought. My son was fine the way he is and he had started drawing and painting. We saw in him the urge to do something and he was also proud of the recognition he got when people appreciated his work. We had an exhibition of his paintings too.
To some extent, Apna Asmaan is real — the frustration of the parents when they have such a child is real. But the story had to unfold like a drama. I wanted to make a point come through the film — that is, learning to accept is critical. If not, the parents will be unhappy.
The brain booster in the film is allegorical. Turning a disabled child into a genius — though this is fictional, it is hugely relatable in India. People are looking at magical remedies — even visiting babas. So I brought this in and there are two doctors — one rational and the other maverick.
I have no idea if this film will make it to general release in the west. I do hope so. And I would appreciate the opinions of my Indian readership [Ajai? Merry?] on this film.