Eros International's VEER, a love story set in the historical context of the British rule in India has resulted in modern day British-Indian collaboration, making VEER the first movie in India to have an audio-description (AD) track in Hindi on its DVD. The aim is to ensure that no fan of Salman Khan remains untouched by the charms of this romantic action movie.
UK-based Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) worked with Eros International to achieve this milestone after its research among blind or partially sighted people of Asian origin in the UK and India found that over 70 per cent of respondents were more likely to watch Bollywood films if AD in Hindi was provided.
AD is as important to blind and partially sighted people as subtitles are to those with hearing impairments. It is almost like an observer narrating a story to the viewer, an additional commentary that fits between passages of dialogue to describe action sequences, body language, costume and scenery - allowing the viewer to understand exactly what is happening on screen.
Pranab Kapadia, Head of International distribution at Eros International says: "We are extremely excited to join hands with RNIB and present the first of its kind film DVD with the epic VEER having Audio Description for the blind or partially sighted fans of Indian cinema. We strongly believe in our social responsibility and this is our humble attempt in initiating a step that we believe will benefit consumers largely".
Stephen King, RNIB Director of International Affairs says: "RNIB has worked with the Bollywood industry to bring the benefits of audio description to new audiences. The decision by Eros to include audio description on its DVD release is momentous, transforming the experience of blind and partially sighted Bollywood fans watching films at home, not just in the UK but internationally. Our research tells us that fans want AD on Bollywood films and RNIB hopes that other distributors will follow the lead of Eros."
Film fan, Naseem Rehman, from Coventry says: "I love Bollywood films, but I don't often go to the cinema because I find it difficult to follow all the action on screen. I've also got three young children and having audio description on DVDs that I can enjoy at home with my boys will be fantastic. I'll be able to watch with them and know what they are seeing too, without needing someone to explain the action to me."
VEER from Eros international is directed by Anil Sharma and produced by Vijay Galani movies. The film stars Salman Khan, Zarine Khan, Sohail Khan and Liza Lazarus. The DVD will be available world wide from March 8, 2010 and it will carry a Hindi audio description track. The AD track has been produced at Red Bee Media Limited which has offices in UK, Australia, France, Spain and Germany.
Eros International, international distributor of Bollywood films, is also exploring the possibility of making DVDs for ever green classics such as SHOLAY, WAQT and DEVDAS available to blind and partially sighted audiences across the world.
RNIB's campaign for AD has resulted in several major distributors of Hollywood films releasing their DVDs with an AD track in the UK. Now, for the first time, the DVD of a Bollywood film with an AD track in Hindi will be made available worldwide.