This Heartwarming Story Of Determination and Resilience Started With a Simple ‘No’

How Ishmeet found her wings after getting a job

This article has been sponsored by KFC Some stories bring a smile to your face, and Kshamata, a short film directed by Shoojit Sircar, is no different, and is just

This article has been sponsored by KFC

Some stories bring a smile to your face, and Kshamata, a short film directed by Shoojit Sircar, is no different, and is just the right dose of emotion we needed before wrapping up 2022. A must-watch if you haven’t already,  this heartwarming story narrates the tale of young Ishmeet, a girl with speech and hearing impairment, and how she found a way to script a brighter future for herself. A powerful film, it encourages society to think about the power of storytelling, independence and finding space for oneself in the world. 

All through Ishmeet’s childhood, she was told to hold someone’s hand wherever she went — in school, while going to the market, and even with friends on walks. For her parents, family, and teachers, this was the only way to keep her safe. 

But she wanted more — to let go of the hands she had held all her life and explore the world on her own. 

All Ishmeet wanted was to let go and explore the world
Ishmeet wanted to let go of the hands holding her and explore the world

As she grew older, she craved the freedom to explore, to stand on her own two feet. That is, until, the day she came across a girl in a red uniform, using the same mode of communication that Ishmeet had used all her life — sign language. This was Ishmeet’s introduction to KFC India and a glimpse into the world that could be hers too. She never looked back; Ishmeet, with her sheer determination and will, unlocked her true potential despite all odds and societal pressures. 

Kshamata takes inspiration from the lives of many of KFC’s specially-abled employees, much like Ishmeet.

KFC has hired more than 150 specially-abled employees
KFC has hired more than 150 specially-abled employees

Talking about the short film and the character of Ishmeet, Sircar said, “I wanted to tell the story in a very real and authentic way. For that, it needed to be told from the point of view of the specially-abled girl. I wanted to cast people who are specially-abled, and not just actors. And eventually, it is the innocence and lived experience of the two girls that has shone through and has made this film feel honest.”

KFC also launched their #SpeakSign campaign, on the International Day of Sign Languages with an aim to spread awareness and acceptance for sign language. As an extension of the campaign, the brand encouraged customers to communicate in sign language across the 33 Special KFC restaurants, operated by speech and hearing impaired employees, in 19 cities.

Moksh Chopra, General Manager, KFC India, said, “Our work on Kshamata goes beyond the hiring function. With #SpeakSign, we are strengthening our efforts to create awareness and acceptance of sign language as a mode of communication, striding to lower barriers and nurture inclusivity. Drawing inspiration from the lives and realities faced by our own specially abled team members, we are extremely humbled to present the story of Ishmeet.”  

Since 2008, KFC has hired more than 150 specially-abled employees across its restaurants in India.

By 2024, KFC has also pledged to double the number of Special KFC restaurants and increase the number of women employees in their workforce. 

Watch the film here: 

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