Mental health is an important component of the overall health and well-being of individuals. Bollywood has come a long way from treating its characters as ‘Pagal’ to recognizing their health issues as mental illnesses/disorders. 

But have they genuinely achieved the pinnacle of enlightening the audience about mental disorders? Here are a few films that have absolutely missed the mark when it comes to mental health.

1. Atrangi Re

In one scene from the recently released film Atrangi Re, starring Sara Ali Khan, Dhanush, and Akshay Kumar, a psychiatrist-in-training fills a theatre with his ‘patients’ and explains to Vishu aka Dhanush, that they are all experiencing the same delusion. 

“This theatre is full with patients who have OCD, Alzheimer’s, bipolar disease, and schizophrenia,” the doctor explains, implying that because of some mental abnormality, they might all experience the same vision and hearing hallucinations.” 

This is where the film felt misleading. Generalizing diverse mental and behavioral disorders and putting them under one roof is risky and irresponsible; even AR Rahman’s heavenly music cannot save it.

2. Hasee Toh Phasee

The key reason for the many laughs in this rom-com was Parineeti Chopra’s character’s behavior. She portrayed a character that acted strangely and had strange habits. She would even take pills if she was in a position over which she had no control. But not once was the cause for her strange conduct explained.

After seeing the film, I heard several people use the word “abnormal” to describe her role. This ‘abnormal’ was frequently interchanged with ‘Pagal’ in colloquial usage.

Also Read: Bollywood Has Got College Life In India All Wrong

3. Dear Zindagi

According to a practicing therapist, the fact that Dear Zindagi deals with emotional wellbeing and the treatment process is heartwarming and a significant step toward recognizing the importance of mental health.

However, the portrayal of the therapist and her connection with the client tragically undermined the strong message, leaving instances where all you could hear was the therapist lecturing.

The therapist also pointed out the inaccurate representation of psychologists, psychiatrists, and medicines. When it comes to treatment, a traditional psychologist would have a regimented atmosphere. It will not be a stroll down the beach as shown in Dear Zindagi, 2016. There must be a scientific methodology.

The main issue with the film is that it presents a glamorized picture of therapy while overlooking the importance of professional boundaries, which are the foundation of a therapeutic relationship.

Shah Rukh Khan’s portrayal of Dr. Jehangir Khan as a therapist who conducts sessions on the beach while cycling with Alia and subsequently on a boat appears to send confusing signals. While he may not appear flirty, he does appear to be leading Kaira on.

4. Anjaana Anjaani

This picture was not just a snoozer, but it also tampered with the notion of suicidal sadness. Two adults are in the midst of a life crisis and view death as their only option.

The plot of the film is on two depressed souls who finally fall in love and live happily ever after. It clearly explains everything Anjaana Anjaani neglected.

While we frequently criticize Bollywood for producing formulaic films, there have been occasions when they have produced good-quality movies that dealt with the critical problem of mental health. More research, better representation, and clarity on mental health will make these movies Jewels!

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Indian Express; + Blogger’s own opinions

Find the blogger: @chiinniiiii

This post is tagged under: Bollywood; Mental Health; Mental Disorder; Illness; Social Opinion; Atrangi Re; Sara Ali Khan; Dhanush; Akshay Kumar; Dear Zindagi; Alia Bhatt; Shah Rukh Khan; Anjaana Anjaani; Ranbir Kapoor; Hasee Toh Phasee; Bollywood Misleading Mental Health

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