How are India Films Addressing the Stigma Attached to Mental Health

'A good film is one where the screening finishes and thinking begins in your mind, which doesn't end'

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Cinema holds up a mirror to the society and attempts to bring about a change by addressing real-life issues and social aberrations.   

The stigma attached to mental health-realted issues has been portrayed by several directors as a persistent problem that needs to be addressed. Their films have helped in creating awareness so that people dealing with them get societal acceptance.

Directors have always tried to do justice to the topic by portraying it with great sensitivity. They have often tried to break the stereotypical depiction of the issue by giving it a fresh outlook, putting their creativity to test.

In a chat with Entrepreneur India, Pune-based psychiatrist and noted theater and film actor Mohan Agashe discussed how Hindi films are creating awareness on mental health issues and what more needs to be done.  The actor feels that cinema can only depict reality in a way that no other medium can.

“Films are perhaps the only medium that directly penetrates the unconscious and the subconscious alike. It can help you develop a learning attitude. A film has the power of the visual and audio. Depending on how you make it, it could be an inspirational film or an informative film or a film which makes you think. To me, a good film is one where the screening finishes and thinking begins in your mind, which doesn’t end. A bad film is where after 10-15 minutes, you start thinking what you are going to do after the film,” said Agashe.

The real education and awareness has to happen at a more personal level, he added.  

With the Internet as the most powerful tool in our lives today, youths are embracing the digital storytelling medium. Aghase elucidated how has digital technology made it possible to express in language, rather than mere words.  

“There is going to be an information overload. So now you really have to know what you want. Earlier, you were open to experiences in life because there was some kind of accommodativeness. But now you have too much information around.  If you decide to get all the information, you will die under the weight of it. So you must know which is a reliable information,” he stressed.

(Interview by Aashika Jain)