Shome Makhija: Sonam Kapoor would do one rehearsal with her eyes closed


Shome Makhija knew that he would make his directorial debut with a thriller, given his experience as an associate director on Sujoy Ghosh’s `Badla` (2019), `Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh` (2016) and `Typewriter` (2019). What he didn’t know was that Sonam Kapoor Ahuja would instantly be a part of his first feature. “When we met at Sonam’s house the first time, we spoke for over a couple of hours about the film. At the time, she hadn’t seen the Korean original,” he says, recounting the inception of `Blind`.

An adaptation of the 2011 Korean thriller of the same name, `Blind` sees Kapoor as a visually-impaired woman who becomes a key witness in a crime and finds herself confronting a serial killer, played by Purab Kohli. For the prep, she relied on “alternate vision coaches” in Scotland. “James Goldsworthy and Nadia Turnbull help people adapt to being visually impaired. Both lost their eyesight at a certain point in their lives. Now, they help people function [on a day-to-day basis],” says the director.

Shome Makhija

Kapoor was trained by the duo before the JioCinema film rolled in December 2020. They had training sessions on Zoom since the pandemic was going on at the time. “We went through every scene with them to make sure that the representation is authentic. We didn’t want to misrepresent differently-abled people. They asked us to tweak certain scenes that weren’t plausible. For instance, in a scene, Sonam was to talk to her guide dog lying on the bed. James and Nadia pointed out that a guide dog’s training doesn’t allow them to climb on any furniture. So, the dog wouldn’t sit on the bed.”

To the leading lady, playing a differently-abled person was both a challenge and a chance to push her boundaries as an artiste. She reported to the location in Scotland three days before the shoot to familiarise herself with the set-up. “Sonam visited the apartment where her character is shown staying, three days before the shoot began. She learnt where everything is placed in the house. She’d always do one rehearsal with her eyes closed, checking whether she knew the places intimately. Also, we got her hand-painted lenses, and she couldn’t see properly with them. But Sonam wanted to [wear them] as they would help her play the part better.”

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