Here's how Bollywood films are changing their approach towards mental health for the better

Bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia all fall under the big umbrella of mental illness. But the dialogue is slowly changing and we hope this is a positive beginning for filmmakers to explore this theme.
Discussion,Dear Zindagi,mental healthHow Bollywood films are changing their approach to mental health for the better.
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The conversation around mental health in the last few years has grown tremendously. From Hindi filmmakers merely portraying them as additions to the dialogue around mental health seeing a huge, positive change, films too over the years have made poignant statements without being disrespectful. One of the latest examples of this was the Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan starrer Dear Zindagi which released in 2016. The film, directed by Gauri Shinde, was not everyone's cup of tea.

The story of a young girl in her '20s dealing with deep-rooted issues and insomnia made many uncomfortable, but for many others, it was an eye opener. From the symptoms to therapy to state of one's mind, Dear Zindagi enlightened the audiences on the various stages of depression. Alia not only told her story on the surface, but let her emotions get the better of her when the scene required it. For someone like this writer, who was oblivious to the concept of panic attacks a few years ago, Alia's panic attack scene made her realise that she also suffered one many moons ago.  

Mental health is not a widely discussed topic for teenagers and youth. Right from school, one probably just hears terms like depression or insomnia. The Indian education system or households are largely not equipped to provide the emotional tools youth or teenagers require to battle mental health issues. Which is why films like Dear Zindagi play an important role.

Apart from Dear Zindagi, other Hindi films who have managed to put their point across rather well are Karthik Calling Karthik, 15 Park Avenue and the latest being Judgementall Hai Kya. Yes, the Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao starrer may be a quirky one, but it is probably for the first time in Hindi cinema that a mentally unstable character has been addressed differently and not with empathy. In a way, that it will leave a smile on your face.

Bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia all fall under the big umbrella of mental illness. But the dialogue is slowly changing and we hope this is just the beginning of something super positive.

Have you ever resonated with a Hindi film, character or story? We would love to hear from you if a character inspired, taught or simply made you laugh with them. Send in your entries to pinkvillareaderswrite@gmail.com and we will feature them here every week.
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