Top 6 movies in India dealing with mental health
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Entertainment and media are a big part of our lives. Feeling bored? Watch a movie. Want to destress? A comedy movie will help you do that. Hanging out with your friends? A good ol’ movie is never the wrong option. The kind of media we consume can impact our mental health. Leisure activities, such as watching a movie, can also reduce symptoms of depression (Goodman, Geiger, and Wolf).
Movies can help us relax and significantly affect our opinions. With the Indian film industry slowly maturing over the years, more and more movies on mental health are coming out. While they are not perfect or 100% accurate in their portrayal, they have paved the way for acknowledging that mental health struggles are real.
MyndStories dug deep and found these Indian movies that authentically show the lives and struggles of people with mental health issues.
15 Park Avenue (2005)
Aparna Sen’s 15 Park Avenue is considered a masterpiece in Indian cinema. It follows the life of Meethi (Konkona Sen Sharma), who lives with schizophrenia. Meethi believes her real family lives at 15 Park Avenue, and her mother and sister are stopping her from going to them.
The film describes the impact of Meethi’s mental illness on her caretakers, her sister, and her elderly mother, beautifully. It doesn’t try to romanticize her illness or give a magical cure. That is why, perhaps, it won the hearts of many.
Karthik Calling Karthik (2010)
Starring Farhan Akhtar and Deepika Padukone, this movie deals with schizophrenia and identity disorder. Directed by Vijay Lalwani, the movie follows an introvert and loner, Karthik, who suddenly gains success with the help of a mysterious voice heard over multiple phone calls. The film is a psychological thriller and received praise for its authentic portrayal of a person living with schizophrenia.
My Name is Khan (2010)
My Name is Khan depicts the life of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome. The movie received critical acclaim across India for its unique storyline and SRK’s portrayal of a person with Asperger’s. Directed by Karan Johar, it follows a Muslim man accused of murdering his stepson. To prove his innocence, he journeys across the US to meet the president.
Asperger’s Syndrome causes a person to have immense difficulties in social interactions, and SRK shows those struggles beautifully. My Name is Khan was also the first Indian film to earn over 1 billion Rupees in overseas markets.
The movie shows the entangled lives of three people – Ranbir Kapoor, who has hearing and speech impairment, Priyanka Chopra, who lives with autism spectrum disorder, and Ileana D’Cruz. The movie follows the adventures, relationships, and complications between the three characters.
A masterfully crafted romantic comedy, Barfi was critically acclaimed across India, especially for the characters portrayed by the lead actors. This movie showed that not all films that deal with mental issues have to be sad and serious.
Barfi is available to stream on Netflix.
Dear Zindagi (2016)
Dear Zindagi depicted the importance of seeking help for mental health issues. It portrays the life of Kiara, played by Alia Bhatt, a cinematographer living with depression and abandonment issues, who decides to seek help to recognize her struggles. She meets a psychologist, played by Shah Rukh Khan, who is somewhat unconventional and free-spirited.
Directed by Gauri Shinde, the film received positive reviews, especially for its themes, direction, and music. This film was a game-changer as it normalized therapy and mental health.
You can watch Dear Zindagi on Netflix.
Taare Zameen Par (2007)
Taare Zameen Par was one of the first Bollywood movies to address dyslexia. With Darsheel Safray and Aamir Khan in the lead roles, Taare Zameen Par shows the life of an 8-year-old boy who is sent to boarding school for not doing well in his studies. With his art teacher’s help, his parents discover that he has dyslexia and help him get the education he needs. This movie is one that people, to this date, still watch and cry.
Watch it on Netflix.