CHENNAI: “This is an important example of how people born with mental disabilities can integrate fully in society,” said Ferenc Jari, Consul General of Hungary in Mumbai on Friday at the introduction of the award-winning Hungarian documentary film, Lend Me Your Eyes, Baltazars, which aims to create awareness on Down Syndrome. The Honorary Consul of Hungary in Chennai in association with the Down Syndrome Federation of India and the Consulate General of Hungary in Mumbai introduced the film which traces the journey of the actors to Tamil Nadu and to the Vaiteeswaran Koil temple in 2015. “In January 2018, the film won the best director’s prize in the documentary film category at the Jaipur International Film Festival,” said Jari.
“The film is the first ever Hungarian film shot entirely in Tamil Nadu and produced with Tamil dubbing and English subtitles. Baltazar Theatre has always been committed to Indian culture and spirituality. The spirituality and faith that radiates from Tamil Nadu is overwhelming.” The actors expressed how Tamil Nadu is one of the ‘rare spots’ in today’s world where faith has an overwhelming presence which is what created a very strong spiritual bond linking them to Tamil Nadu. “The members of the Baltazar Theatre, founded 21 years ago, are professional, but actors with mental disabilities. The film lets us see faith through the filter of art and monitor how artists with mental disabilities of the Hungarian theatre embrace the spirituality of south India,” said Dora Elek, the director of the award-winning documentary and founder of the Baltazar Theatre Company.
The Baltazar Theatre aims to create conditions for people with disabilities to earn a living using their talent. Their ultimate objective is to ensure that social judgement on people with mental disabilities changes. Some of their performances are linked to Indian culture and one of their most successful plays, Happy Hour, has karma as its central topic. “Art can cast the focus on their talents,” Elek said. “Art has strong integrative power and is an area of life where diversity is a virtue. It has the power to make the invisible, visible. I want people to know that these are actors who are doing this for professional purposes and not for therapeutic purposes.”