Visually and hearing impaired people in India will now be able to enjoy Aamir Khan’s biggest movie, ‘Dangal’, as telecast rights holder Zee Entertainment Enterprises has decided to use audio description for the audiences.
Audio description conveys the most important visual aspects of the story by providing commentary during natural pauses and moments of silence. It is voice-over narration that explains what’s happening on the screen, including physical actions made by various characters and other important visual elements. The narration is inserted between lines of dialogue. This Audio Description is recorded and made available as a separate audio track that can be selected by the audience on their remote.
Taking the initiative #ZEEForAll, the Indian media conglomerate has decided to provide audiences with a sensory handicap access to entertainment that is currently enjoyed by millions of Indians with sight.
“Zee Cinema will be the first movie channel in India to premiere a film curated for the visually impaired. It will also have subtitles for the hearing impaired audiences,” said Punit Misra, CEO – Domestic Broadcast Business, Zee Entertainment Enterprises.
We hope that the premiere of ‘Dangal’ reaches out to the maximum number of visually and hearing impaired audiences in India. We are also exploring adding the audio description in other Indian regional languages in the future. Just like Aamir gave us the audio description assets for Dangal, we will reach out to all our content partners requesting for the same as we expand the initiative,” he explained.
While in mature markets like the US it is already mandatory by law for all major networks to offer audio descriptions for the blinds, in India, there’s no such law. In fact, no efforts have been made by any private broadcaster so far despite the country being home to 8 million blind, 54.5 million people with low vision, and 62.6 million people with visual impairment, as per the World Health Organisation 2010 report, which makes India home to the second largest visually challenged population globally.