Learning Difficulty





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Deaf: Major Films  
TitleSixth Happiness, The (1997)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityGeneral Brittle Bone Disease Deaf
GenreHistorical drama
DirectorWaris Hussein
CastFirdaus Kanga Souad Faress Khodus Wadia Sabira Merchant Indira Varma
NotesThe story of a boy born with brittle bone disease which means he'll never be more than 4 feet tall. Because of his brittle bone disease he's called Brit. A wonderfully literate, witty script and well-acted all round esp... the mother and Brit. Firdaus Kanga wrote the screenplay from his book "Trying to Grow" and plays the part of Brit. It's established early on that Brit can break a rib simply from a hiccup or cough. He's carried around by his father because he really never grows from the size of a 4/5 year old child. Firdaus Kanga playing Brit has such presence it's hard to say whether or not he's a good actor. He is simply totally convincing and natural. And I think really that's got to be good acting. He's also a natural comedian. First he's pushed around in a baby's pram later he's in a wheel chair. The daughter of a friend/cousin is deaf but her mother doesn't bother to put in her hearing aid, "who wants to hear the traffic noise?" she asks. Tina, the daughter, is Brit's intended. He has learned her sign language before he could talk. She can also lip read. His mother takes him from one charlatan to another looking for a cure. The family is very much Anglo-Indian (though they are Parsees who fled Persia hundreds of years ago and are somewhat estranged from Indian society) and the older ones are comically pretentious and ambitious. The father works in a bank but when his wife and Brit visit they discover he has told no one he has a son. The father more or less disowns him though wants to take him to Lourdes to cure him. At Brit's birthday a friend is asked why she is wearing white. "Because when this child was born it was a tragedy". "The birthday boy can't dance and his intended can't sing". While sat in a cellar during a bombing raid (India-Pakistan war, 1948) Brit sees himself writing a diary and becoming the boy Anne Frank. Taken under the patronage of a wealthy women he goes to school. At school he gets a special prize for being the bravest boy. The father takes their daughter to New York to get married (to a Moslem who they accept while generally hating Moslems) but he is killed by a car crossing 5th Ave. After this tragedy the family take in a young good looking lodger and he and Brit get on famously to the point where the mother catches them kissing. They are lovers (to what extent we don't know) but the lodger has a girlfriend as well. Meanwhile Brit's intended runs away with another man. Then Brit meets the lodger's girlfriend and sleeps with her. At the end his mother is killed by all the food she's hoarded during the war as it falls from the top of the cupboard onto her. A truly wonderful picture of an eccentric family.

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