Disability is still a socially fragmented discourse in our society and till today lacks the attention that is intrinsically required. Priya Ramasubban the writer and director of ‘Chuskit’ a much appreciated film of 2018, exhibits the grit and determination of a differently abled child overcoming her hurdles in his film. Chuskit is not just another movie, rather its an effort to cinematically portray the issues of differently abled for the society.
Inspired by true life events the movie revolves around a young nine year old girl named Chuskit in Ladakh, who like any normal kid of her age looks forward to attending school the next year after the harsh winters. However, with the turn of events an unfortunate accident takes place that renders her paraplegic and indisposed. And, this starts her journey of trials and tribulations.
Chuskit’s life changes in a split second as she is unable to carry out her day to day chores or play with her friends or attend school. More resistance comes from her grandfather who objects to Chuskit attending school as he feels that it would be burdensome for her parents to her carry her on their backs and that it would be better if she learnt to live in her limits. He even suggests that she be handed over to the monastery as it would be tough to raise a paraplegic child in the village.
As days pass by, a deconditioning factor that begins to become severe is a sense of social frustration. Chuskit feels ‘excluded’ and as film’s director Ramasubban elucidates in an interview that ‘wanting to go to school was her way of wanting to be included’.
Standing true to her name ‘Chuskit’ which means ‘eagerness, the nine year old is determined to overcome the adversaries and get back to school which now becomes her objective.
Set and shot in the beautiful and picturesque landscape of Ladakh the film ‘Chuskit’ also depicts the difficulty of easy access to mobility and the daily troubles disabled face such as access to a wheel chair in a Ladakh village. The film questions if equal opportunities are fair at all where places are not designed to be equipped with such situations. This film is also not solely intrigued in showcasing disability, but also depicts the cultural understanding of a population situated in the highest plateau in India that has had a unique heritage and cultural orientation and is undergoing a process of acculturation. This process, of course, is complex and a dynamic one in itself!
The film also depicts the idea of community living and how in the case of Chuskit the community comes in unison to help Chuskit tread the road to school. The movie caters to a diverse audience right from a child to an adult and has a very powerful social message that every child must have the right to compulsory education and that through mental strength one does overcome physical impairments. Chuskit is a beautiful film that celebrates diversity in the country.