The American marched inside the posh Residency Towers conference hall in Chennai, accompanied by Vikram and AL Vijay at the back. Hadn't been for the stick he carried you couldn’t possibly believe the fact that he is blind. Daniel Kish, an exponent in human echolocation and an inspiration behind the plot of Thaandavam, had come down to honor the team on request of UTV Motion Pictures.
Dhananjayan Govind, the South Chief of the leading production house gave a formal welcome address and handed over the responsibility of introducing the guest of honor, Daniel Kish to Vikram and Vijay.
AL Vijay, generally a soft spoken man, was too enthusiastic in introducing the echolocation specialist. "After completing Deiva Thirumagal, Vikram said that we must do another film. I already had a script, which had a blind man going for revenge as the crux. Vikram said he liked it but it lacked logic. So I told him we will find logic soon. Few days later we both were discussing the script again and Nirav Shah was with us too. After hearing the story, he immediately took out his iPad and showed us about a visually challenged American who could do almost everything a normal man could do. That's how we came to know about Daniel Kish and thus we got the confidence to proceed with this story," narrated Vijay about the story behind the making of Thaandavam.
Later, Vijay wanted to meet Daniel and study him. But all he knew about Dan was that he was an American. That's when everything started falling into place. Later, for a completely different purpose he came in contact with a social worker, Jayashree, who personally knew Daniel. Through her the director got his appointment and went to Dan’s house in California. He stayed with him for a couple of days to get to know him. "After a couple of hours of conversation, I completely forgot that he is blind. He lives alone on his palatial bungalow, he goes for walks, goes cycling and does everything that makes us not believe that his eyes cannot see," exclaimed Vijay.
The director showed a video of Daniel Kish and his students playing basketball and going for treks in risky mountains. It was truly inspiring to see the clip and as Vijay said it did feel as if we are not exploiting our brain to the fullest.
Vikram again threw light on some of his experiences with Dan and spoke about the film too. “The entire team has worked their fullest for this film. Still, you can only see AL Vijay in all the departments. The entire product is his creativity and ideas, just the hands are different. It might be me on screen, but whatever you see in me is only Vijay’s actions. So, if the film comes out as a super duper hit, which I don’t doubt, the complete credit goes to him,” praised Vikram, turning Vijay pink.
Finally, the hero of the event Daniel was called upon to speak a few words. He rose from his seat, ticked his tongue twice and stood exactly in front of the mike, showing no signs of blindness.
He is the President of World Access for the Blind, through which he has developed a huge network of people all over the world, whom he has trained in human echolocation, to spread the skill to all the visually challenged people.
Dan said “What we are able to do isn’t important. What we have been able to teach is what makes the difference. So we at World Access for the Blind aim at that. We help our students to find freedom in life. We help them in doing what they want to do. Many of our students play basketball and soccer.” Then he jocularly said that he hasn’t trained his students to be professional assassins yet, obviously referring to the film.
He has also done a cameo in the film. About his experience, he said, “It wasn’t very tough for me as I was just being myself in the film. But still, I took it as a very big responsibility, even though it is not my favorite. My students and my solitude come first in my favorites list.”
The hall resounded with hearty applause after his inspiring speech. Later, Dan spent time with his newly formed fans and patiently answered all the questions they threw, irrespective of the repetitions.
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