#ChampionsWithCP – Find out what makes movie critic Paresh C Palicha the last word on Malayalam cinema
This month, our campaign celebrates people with cerebral palsy who have beaten incredible odds to live up to their potential. We start with Paresh C Palicha from Kochi, a big time movie fan and critic. This 47-year-old has reviewed hundreds of movies and is regarded by many as the go to person for all things to do with Malayalam cinema.
Anyone who spends time with Paresh C Palicha will not miss the positive vibes this veteran movie critic gives out. An ardent movies buff, Paresh was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in early childhood but that never came in the way of dreaming big and the canvas of cinema just fuelled his dreams and energy.
And what amazing energy Paresh has! He is not only a freelance journalist and movies critic, but also works for a private company for over 20 years.
Paresh, originally from Gujarat, has been living in Kochi since birth. After finishing class 10, he did a degree in commerce. He says he was blessed to receive strong support from his mother and siblings. Until he died some years back, Paresh’s father was also a major support factor. He used to carry Paresh to movie theatres and made sure his son watched all the releases – first day, first show.
A film on Paresh’s life called The Will To Wish captures his incredible journey. Made by Joshua Newton, a journalist-scriptwriter friend, it show the enormous effort he takes to write his reviews. It shows how his father would physically lift Paresh over his shoulder, and transfer him from his wheelchair to a rickshaw. Once, when the autorickshaws refused them in pouring rain, his dad wheeled him all the way home on his wheelchair, so Paresh would not miss his deadline.
In his spare time, Paresh reviews movies and writes for leading media houses but he says he could have done more if he had not been hampered by the limitations his disability brings.
I have been writing for the past 20 years. When I look back, I see people who started off with me doing very well in their career. They work as editorial staff and some of them have authored books too. I feel I could have done that too if I did not have physical limitations. If I was vocal, things would have been different for me. I wanted to compete in this world along with other people who do not have disabilities. – Paresh Palicha, Movie critic
During the early days, Paresh’s siblings would write down the words he dictated. With the advent of technology, he became more independent. Paresh also has a blog where he posts his short stories, poems and even photos that he has clicked. He has interviewed many leading Malayalam actors and movie-makers including Anoop Menon, Jayasurya, Blessy, VK Prakash and Ranjith Shankar. He was even offered a role by director-turned-actor Lal in the Malayalam movie Black starring superstar Mammootty..
Award winning film critic Meenakshi Shedde is among those who looks up to Paresh’s columns. In an article in Mid-Day, Shedde calls him “my go-to man if I wanted a reliable opinion on any Malayalam film”, and adds that she “feels incredibly lucky to count this marvellous critic and burnished soul as a friend”.
Paresh has taken a backseat from writing for now. “I am in semi-retirement mode now because I am unable to be a part of the rat race. Earlier, movie reviews used to come out a day after release of the movie. Now, it takes only a couple of hours and they are published online”, says Paresh. “Every person has their limitations, whether they have a disability or not. Not every person is psychologically equipped to go through everything in life”, he adds.
His family remains, as ever, his biggest support factor. Paresh lives with his mother Indu, who takes great pride in her son’s achievements. “We have been very supportive of Paresh. Since childhood, he loved drawing cartoons and writing to his heart’s fill”.