Firdaus Kanga, an Indian writer, journalist, and actor born into a Parsi family in Mumbai in 1960, currently resides in London. He has authored two books: the semi-autobiographical novel "Trying to Grow," which is set in India, and a travel book "Heaven on Wheels," which details his experiences in the United Kingdom when he first met Stephen Hawking. He played the principal character and scriptwriter in the Sixth Happiness movie, based on his book Trying to Grow. Kanga was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, frequently known as brittle bone condition.
More about Firdaus Kanga
Firdaus Kanga is a gay man with a disability who practices the "wrong" religion in Bombay. On the other hand, he gets the full superstar treatment while filming "Sixth Happiness," the film about his background in which he was convinced to act. Firdaus is a Bombay native who stands only four feet tall. He has brittle bone disease, which prevents him from walking and puts him in danger of fracturing a rib even if he sneezes. He is a Parsee as well, a religious minority that is frequently ignored in the city.
Sixth Happiness, a fictionalized account of his teenage years, has a message of victory over suffering and is remarkably similar to what is known in the industry as a "wheelchair movie." It is a humorous, passionate, occasionally intimate, bitter-sweet story of growing up. Rather than being about a brave, disabled character, it is about rising maturity. This would be the standard one-line Hollywood pitch: "My Left Foot meets My Beautiful Laundrette meets The Tin Drum."
The screenplay for Kanga's strongly unsentimental novel, Trying to Grow, was adapted from his book. Not only that, but he also makes his acting debut as Brit Kotwal, the lead. It needs to be observed that the 38-year-old succeeds admirably at the difficult task of portraying a fictional version of himself from the age of eight to eighteen. Kanga was initially worried about accepting the role, but the requirement for credibility eventually convinced him. It was hard to locate an actor with the necessary experience to portray Brit's character accurately.
The producer, Tatiana Kennedy, "was very against having an actor who was able-bodied and playing someone who was disabled." Further, she explains, "With that, I wouldn't have felt comfortable." There was no other method for imitating this impairment except by tying a person's legs or utilizing effects in post-production. As a result, Kanga was convinced to accept the assignment, and as payment, he is currently enjoying the celebrity treatment. On set, he's known as "the maharaja" with affection.
Documentaries by Firdaus Kanga include Double the Trouble Twice the Fun (directed by Pratibha Parmar, 1992), a thought-provoking documentary play that addressed intimacy and disabilities. The movie was shown as a part of the gay and lesbian television program on "Channel Four." Taboo, Kanga's other presentation, looked at how religion might stigmatize and exclude people with disabilities.
Kanga's History and Cultural Contribution
Osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly called brittle bone disease, is a disorder Firdaus Kanga was born with. Throughout his youth and adolescence in India, he suffered numerous severe fractures. He was raised in a one-bedroom Bombay flat with his five siblings. He opposed the socialist consensus in India and supported Reagan and Thatcher's political ideologies. Kanga's first significant work, Trying to Grow, a novel that examines disability, sexual orientation, and culture, was also translated into French [Grandir] and Italian. The portrayal of disabled persons as having strong, healthy sexual desires violated countless taboos in India, where religion still controls most cultural practices.
Kanga openly objected to Hindu beliefs about karma, which are frequently imposed on persons with disabilities and link the cause of pain to possible actions taken by humans in a previous life. Kanga was one of the first prominent individuals in India to defend the rights of homosexuals and to celebrate sexuality in a culture that continues to criminalize homosexuality but rarely, if ever, brings cases against those who practice it.
Influential Indian Writing
The Vintage Book of Indian Writing: 1947-97, a significant collection of the works of the most significant and influential Indian writers of the past 50 years, decided to include Kanga. With the anniversary of India's independence, Salman Rushdie and Elizabeth West released this book.
Born within a Westernized Parsi community in Bombay, Kanga focuses much of his writing on issues of sexuality and disability.