History made as blind becomes Bollywood star

Nasser Khan-starrer Shadow hits screens

A scene from the film ‘Shadow’.

That is Nasser Khan, a Kanpur-based businessman, who has become the world’s first blind actor to play the lead in a feature film. The film, Shadow, hit the screens across the country on Friday.

What makes Khan, who is also the producer of the film along with Shamshad Alam, so unique is that even the The Guinness Book of World Records informed him that his feat could not be included in the tome, simply because it was a record that could hardly be surpassed.

“I will remain the first blind man to play the lead in a feature film, and that record will remain unbroken even if other blind people do the same in the future,” Khan told Deccan Herald in a chat after a special screening of the film for the media on Thursday night.
Indeed, cinematic history has been made by Khan, and the film, directed by Rohit Nayyar, will be known for this even though in cinematic terms it is a loud film with the oft-repeated subject of a vigilante bumping off corrupt politicians and builders.

Risky stunts

Khan, who plays a man with normal eyesight, performed some risky stunts and even danced with over 100 performers, all by instinct and under Nayyar’s guidance. Khan now wants to turn to direction, but not before acting in another film to learn the intricacies of the art.

“Of course, I will have to find out someone with whom I will have to have perfect vibes so that he or she can be my ‘eyes’ when I direct a film,” says the nattily-dressed actor-producer.

Khan, of course, is no great shakes as an actor — his body language and dialogue delivery are quite rigid — but one cannot but admire the inspirational courage displayed by him in doing so.

Background

Khan lost his eyesight quite young. He was born with cataract and operated upon several times, resulting in about only 15-20 per cent eyesight in one eye. At the age of eight, a house tutor was arranged for his basic education, and he was taught English, Hindi, Mathematics, Urdu and Arabic.

Five years later, he took admission to the fifth standard in a small school by his own efforts and switched over to a more renowned school in Kanpur. 

By the time he was in his seventh grade, learning became difficult for him as he had to wear different spectacles for reading and other purposes. He used to hold magnifying glass to read. In spite of all this, he stood first in all the three classes he studied.
A year later, the retina of his right eye got detached, forcing him to leave his studies as that was the eye he could barely see with. Surgeries failed, and he became completely blind.

But he struggled on, training as a typist, and then going on to do a diploma in electronics, learning the ropes of his traditional family business of leather tanning, setting up his own leather tanning business, setting up computer education centres in UP, and becoming the first blind man to pass all four certification of Microsoft — MCSE, MCSD, MCSA, and MCDBA.

DH News Service

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