Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022

Films On Cerebral Palsy – The Disorder That Satya Nadella's Late Son Was Born With

As the world commemorates Cerebral Palsy Awareness month, here are a few inspirational movies that showcased this rare congenital disorder. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s 26-year-old son passed away after living with this all his life.

Kalki Koechlin In 'Margarita With A Straw'
Kalki Koechlin In 'Margarita With A Straw' Instagram

Films have time and again showcased numerous illnesses and diseases. Some of them are really rare, and happens to one is almost a million people. Cerebral Palsy Disorder is one such rare ailment that has suddenly become a hot topic of discussion on social media, ever since Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s son, Zain Nadella, passed away after suffering from this. He was just 26.

For the unversed, March is commemorated as the Cerebral Palsy Awareness month. So, let’s go down memory lane and have a look at some of the most inspirational movies that had characters having a cerebral palsy disorder. 

‘Margarita With A Straw’ (2015)

Actress Kalki Koechlin plays the character of Laila who is an aspiring lyricist and writer. She is born with cerebral palsy. She stays in India with her family. She is soon accepted on a full scholarship to New York University, and she decides to take up the challenge. She travels to Manhattan with her mother. She suddenly falls in love in the city and begins to fight against the confines she's lived with her entire life. The plot of the movie revolves around Laila's attempts to try and live a life that is as normal as possible despite the fact that she is suffering from cerebral palsy. The film received a lot of praise from all over the world for making the character’s disorder an important part of her life, but not letting it ever overpower her will, and never allowing the ailment to become the only feature of her personality.

‘Enter The Faun’ (2014)

‘Enter the Faun’ stars Gregg Mozgala who was born with the disease and endured 12 years of physical treatment before working with Tamar Rogoff, a choreographer who altered the way Mozgala walks in just a matter of eight months. This documentary, filmed and produced by Rogoff, details the entire journey and the experience of teaching Mozgala to become a dancer in a work of art which was called ‘Diagnosis Of A Faun’. What was impressive about the film was that the narrative of Rogoff and Mozgala broke through boundaries that had been created over centuries connected to handicapped people in any which way. The film managed to spark a movement to motivate others to not let the disorder stop them from doing what they wish to do in their lives.

‘Door To Door’ (2002)

‘Door to Door’ is based on the actual tale of the late Bill Porter, a man with cerebral palsy who, despite being informed repeatedly that he was unemployed, became an extraordinary door-to-door salesperson. Day after day, Porter ignored his physical restrictions and never allowed them to take charge of his willpower. He continued to walk 8 to 10 miles each day. Slowly and steadily he ended up gradually winning over clients. Soon enough his hard work had paid off, and he became one of J.R. Watkins' top salesman. His character was played in the film by actor William H. Macy. To prepare for the role, Macy, an able-bodied actor, spoke with Bill Porter and did some study on cerebral palsy, although he admitted it was tough to play the condition.

'My Left Foot' (1989)

Actor Daniel Day-Lewis played Christy Brown, an Irishman with cerebral palsy born into a working-class family in the 1930s. He is the main subject of this film, which is based on his autobiography written in 1954. The film follows Brown, who can only move his left foot, as he attempts to find his place in the world. He goes on to become a fantastic writer and painter. Day-Lewis, who is famed for his method acting, went on to put in great efforts to correctly represent Brown onscreen. Throughout the production of the film, he remained in character as a guy with cerebral palsy. So much so that he never was seen leaving his wheelchair and was having to be pushed around the set and spoon-fed by the crew on sets of the movie.

‘Gaby: A True Story’ (1987)

‘Gaby: A True Story’ is based on the life and work of Gabriella Brimmer. Gabriella Brimmer was born in Mexico in 1947 with cerebral palsy. She became a published novelist and one of the first to fight on behalf of persons with disabilities after a long battle to attend traditional school to learn to read and write. Actress Rachel Levin played the character of Gaby in the film. In the film, it is shown that Gaby learned to speak by writing out words on an alphabet board with her big toe in the film. She continued to battle valiantly for her right to attend public school rather than the special school for pupils with impairments. The story is relevant even in today’s time despite it being over 35-years-old.