In the first week of November 2010, we shared our views and the grounds of our petition, with the leading media houses. But nothing ever surfaced. Now suddenly the news is all over and it shares the view point of the makers of Golmaal 3. Veiled doubts have been raised about our motives and seriousness. While the matter is certainly sub-judis, here is our response to some of these questions raised in media.
1. Such films have been made in the past, why is TISA objecting now?
TISA got registered as a public charitable trust only in November 2009. It was not humanly possible to screen and react to every movie; In any case, we positively appreciate the sensitive, balanced and objective portrayal of stammering in movies like Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani, Kaminey, Jhutha hi sahi. These movies do not portray stammering as a constant source for teasing, cheap laughter and stereotyping of people who stammer as socially and intellectually deficient people. In Golmaal 3, stammering character is not the hero (as claimed by Shreyas in the news item in Mumbai Mirror) and is only a character introduced to evoke laughter, in a cast full of characters. He is constantly being made fun of for his speech.
2. If not this, what else could create comedy?
We do not believe that laughter has to be evoked at the cost of some or the other disability. There have been many good comedies (the original Golmaal, Chupke Chupke, Jaane Bi Do yaaron – to name a few). Comedy could be based on situations rather than on people’s appearance, speech, walk and such characteristics over which they may have no or little control. A difference has to be made in what is clearly a disease or a disability on one hand and on the other, peculiarities, which are not considered a health condition. While other disabilities (like blindness and paraplegia) evoke a thoughtful response in society, stammering unfortunately often evokes laughter. This is why, we think, stammering should receive a better treatment as Dyslexia received in Taare Zamin Par, and Paraplegia in Guzaarish: sensitive, balanced and objective portrayal. There is already a social stigma against stammerers, why worsen it through such negative stereotyping?
Secondly, many people and movies assume that stammering is a habit, just lack of self-confidence, a funny emotional thing etc. For last few years it has been known that it is not so- that it is a neurological condition based in BIOLOGY. Read this article at British Stammering Association:
Further, teasing and bullying of children and even adults who stammer, makes their problems worse. Golmaal 3 clearly sends a message out: it is okay to tease a person about his/her stammer. Read this article to learn about the role teasing/ bullying plays in evolution of stammering in childhood and adolescence :
Therefore many schools are supposed to have clearcut “no-tolerance” policy, certainly in west. Look at these links:
3. It should be seen just as a comedy film. Why spoil the fun?
TISA does not wish to infringe on anyone’s right to watch any movie. If a certain section insists and likes, there could be Golmaal 4, 5, 6, and 7! To quote a mainstream review:
“The film’s trailer blatantly lays the onus on the viewer…
“You liked Golmaal and Golmaal Returns, here have some more! You can’t really blame us, your behavior showed your preference.” So, now we can’t even blame the makers, eh? Oh well…” (link)
We have nothing against the actors or the movie makers. But the movie begins with an apology to the dog:
“The dog used in one of the sequences in the film is a dummy and no harm was done to the real dog.”
Well, this dog sequence lasted hardly for a few minutes in the whole film. But the poking of fun at the mute and stammering character, continues through out the film. And there is not a single line of apology anywhere!
4. The poking of fun on stammering was not intentional..
Can anyone believe, if one said that the use of the dog called facebook, was not intentional? The frequent mocking of stammering and the mute character, was not intentional, but just crept in as a last minute improvisation? a last minute inspiration of creativity? Just an accident while shooting?
If so, why the apology to Animal rights groups in the beginning of the movie? and why not to the people who stammer and who are mute? No, use of stammering and its mocking, to produce cheap laughter is an integral, intentional part of the movie Golmaal 3. To this, we object.
5. TISA is trying to ban the movie: No, our humble request is to edit out such scenes and re-release, if possible. At the very least, accept that it is ethically wrong, damaging to self-respect of people with disabilities, and in poor taste.
We are just demanding that stammering be treated as a disability and with a sense of social responsibility for above mentioned medical reasons. 10-15% of India’s 45 crore children stammer. 2-3 % of adults stammer. We are a significant minority and wish to be treated like other citizens- with dignity. (Please read the comments left behind by the signatories to our petition addressed to “censor board”.)