29th was the screening of TZP in Seattle for the IDA (International Dyslexia Association). There were about 200 members, mostly American I think, and I was curious to see the response of a non Indian audience to what we had made.
First of all, it was not in a cinema hall but in a conference room so the acoustics were not good, and it was a DVD projection. Carlos, the projectionist, was really sweet and had done his best in the circumstances. As the lights dimmed I was really nervous. Here were people who know all about Dyslexia and work in the field of learning disabilities. Also, whenever I watch my work around 6 months after it has released I usually hate it, and this time was no different. As the film played out I kept squirming, wishing I could disappear into my seat.
And then finally the film got over and the lights came onÖ.. to an ABSOLUTELY THUNDEROUS STANDING OVATION!!!
My God it was so moving. I was so overwhelmed. Then I came forward for the Q&A and saw the tears streaming down the cheeks of the audience. I canít tell you how happy I was to see so many people cry! Needless to say I was part of them, I cry at the drop of a hat. And here were people from all over the world who had dedicated their lives to helping children with learning difficulties. I was so glad that IDA had chosen to screen TZP at their annual conference, and that I was able to make it to Seattle. And I felt so blessed to be part of a film that touches people so deeply.
Everyone just loved the film and it had struck a really deep chord. In fact the reaction was exactly as it had been with audiences back home in India. It really amazes me how people from all across the world react to some films in pretty much the same way, which reaffirms the fact of how similar we all are no matter which part of the globe we come from.
Darsheel struck once again and won all hearts. The story and screenplay were unanimously appreciated as were all the other aspects of the film. The music and songs were especially loved and everyone wanted to know more about Shankar, Ehsan, Loy and Prasoon.
All of them wanted to know when the film would release in theatres in the US. On being told that the film has already been released here they all insisted that the film be re-released in the US in theatres, this time for the mainstream American audience. One of the interesting points which came out of the Q&A was the request from the audience to dub the film into English when re-released here. They felt, and rightly so, that they wanted their children to see the film and were afraid that the smaller kids will not be able to read the subtitles. So Iím going to look into that. At the very least the DVD release here can incorporate a dubbed version as well.
Well, you can imagine that I didnít get much sleep that night. So on the night of the 29th there was at least one person who was sleepless in Seattle, and this time it wasnít Tom Hanks.