By Mithun
Cuckoo: How do visually challenged love and dream?, Cuckoo, Attakathi Dinesh


Love and eyes have always had an unassailable association in cinema. Their various forms - from ‘love at first sight’ to ‘love without seeing and meeting each other, until the climax’ - have been exploited to the maximum. At this juncture, we have Cuckoo, a movie touted as an honest and cute love story of two blind people - Swatantrakodi (Malavika Nair) and Thamizh (Dinesh), coming out this week.
"All love stories, real or reel, are associated with colour, beauty, money and what not. But love is beyond all this and that is what I've captured in my film," says Cuckoo’s director Raju Murugan. 
Murugan has drawn inspiration for the movie from a visually challenged person, whom he had met during his stint as a journalist. Murugan says, “When I worked as a journalist, I had come across a lot of interesting people. Among them was this visually challenged person. He used to tell me the story of his life and love for his girlfriend who was visually challenged as well. This idea has now become Cuckoo.”
A loftier challenge is involved in making such love stories, which are entirely different from the regular ones, for it involves just four senses rather than the regular five.When a person is born blind, the capacity of the brain's visual cortex stays deactivated. But, such people usually compensate this shortcoming with the use of another sensory perception – auditory or olfactory or other sensors. For instance, in the movie, Swatantrakodi buys Thamizh a perfume to recognize him with its scent.On a particular day, when she is waiting for him in a railway station, she gets a whiff of the perfume and thinks it is him. However, it turns out that all of Thamizh’s acquaintances had used the perfume, leaving nothing for him…
To play such daunting roles, the lead actors had enrolled in workshops, in which blind people are taught life skills, and spent months observing real blind folks closely. Dinesh said, in a recent interview, “I spent many evenings watching blind people at the bus stops and railway stations, studied their mannerisms. It took me nearly two weeks to walk like a blind person, so you could imagine the time and effort that has gone into the character.”
What cannot be studied, though, is how and what the visually challenged feel, their love and dreams. Generally, people’s feelings are based on memories, on what they have experienced in life. So, a person who has never experienced "seeing" will not dream using sight. To get that right would be the chief challenge for the lead actors and the director. 
When asked, Dinesh said, “The films I have done so far expected me to only act well, but Cuckoo was one film where I had to get under the skin of the character. I feel it has extracted the best out of me.I have given 200 percent to my role.”
Murugan had a deeper insight, “When two blind people fall in love, there's no room for all external factors. There's just honesty in their love and that's what Cuckoo is all about.”
Perhaps, just as in the lyric of the movie’s song -“kannilae illaiye kaathalum, nenjamae kaathalin thaayagam” (the doorway to love isn’t the eye, it is the heart).


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