Exploring Bollywood’s Take on Mental Health: 6 Must-Watch Movies

Mental Health
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A significant increase has been witnessed in the importance of mental health in society over the past few years. Conversations surrounding mental health have picked up a lot of relevance, and numerous celebrities have openly admitted their personal struggles with mental illness. Icons like Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Karan Johar, etc have publicly discussed their mental turmoil and made an attempt to persuade the masses about how it is okay to not be okay. Bollywood’s portrayal of mental illness has undergone a considerable shift. The way that filmmakers have approached presenting mental illness on screen has changed noticeably over the past two decades, showing increased maturity and understanding. These filmmakers are now conscious of how crucial it is to express the defining symptoms of their struggling characters through the story by diving deeply into their experiences. Bollywood has thus become a platform where artists and filmmakers are successfully spreading a strong message of compassion and empathy to people who are dealing with mental health issues. Here’s a list of 6 must-watch movies to understand Bollywood’s take on mental health.

Anjana Anjaani 

Anjana Anjani, a love story directed by Siddharth Anand, stars Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor. The lives of two people are explored in this romantic comedy-drama about two people who meet and decide to travel together after a difficult time in their lives. The movie explores themes of anxiety, sadness, and the quest for purpose and happiness via their shared experiences and relationships. Sensitivity and subtlety are used to delicately and nuancedly depict the protagonists’ challenges, emphasising the effects of mental health problems on their lives. “Anjaana Anjaani” illustrates the value of compassion, support, and self-discovery in the midst of emotional issues and provides a thought-provoking glimpse into how Bollywood traverses the complexity of mental health.

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Without including Anurag Basu’s film Barfi, the conversation about mental health and Bollywood would be incomplete. The film is an apt demonstration that Bollywood is capable of exploring mental health issues and telling compelling narratives that have a lasting impression. In this charming film, themes of love, friendship, and the tenacity of the human spirit are explored. “Barfi” sensitively and compassionately depicts mental health, highlighting the difficulties experienced by those with impairments as well as the value of empathy and inclusiveness. The movie expertly depicts the difficulties of having special powers and demonstrates how strong human bonds can be in the face of adversity.

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The film Chhichhore, starring the late Sushant Singh Rajput, is a poignant reminder that dealing with mental illness is a shared experience and that family support can have a significant positive impact. The film explores topics of academic pressure, failure, and the effects on mental health via a combination of humour and empathy. It delicately depicts the characters’ battles with anxiety, sadness, and self-doubt while highlighting the value of fortitude, camaraderie, and the influence of a positive outlook. “Chhichhore” is a compelling picture of mental health issues, highlighting the value of empathy, understanding, and the conviction that obstacles can be overcome. 

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Dear Zindagi

The movie Dear Zindagi inspired the younger generation to seek mental health care and stop stigmatising it. It is well depicted that seeking counselling is acceptable. This compelling drama talks about the journey of a young lady named Kaira, portrayed by Alia Bhatt who is battling emotional difficulties and looking for direction. Kaira’s inner anguish is delicately explored, as is the transformational power of self-awareness and self-acceptance. With its emphasis on the value of getting assistance, de-stigmatizing treatment, and emphasising the relevance of discovering one’s own route to recovery and happiness, “Dear Zindagi” presents a novel perspective on mental health. 

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Taare Zameen Par

This Bollywood movie had a profound impact on the audience as they witnessed the numerous ways that our neurodivergent children were ignored and failed by the Indian educational system. Ishaan, a young kid who battles with dyslexia and encounters scholastic and social obstacles as a result, is the subject of this heartwarming movie. The film highlights the significance of identifying and resolving learning disparities as well as the effects they can have on a kid’s self-worth and general well-being via a sympathetic perspective. It emphasises how important it is to have compassion for, knowledge of, and the capacity to help children facing such difficulties. The movie is a worthwhile cinematic experience for everyone passionate about mental health and equitable education because of its message of inclusion, compassion, and the strength of alternative thinking.

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My Name Is Khan

Any Bollywood fan who wants to learn more about mental health should watch the Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan-starring film My Name is Khan. This inspirational film shares the journey of Rizwan with Asperger’s disease who sets out on an extraordinary mission to meet the US President. The movie discusses the difficulties experienced by those with autism spectrum disorders and the prejudice they experience. It covers issues including social inclusion, love, and acceptance. The film “My Name is Khan” presents a nuanced view of mental health, questions social stereotypes, and emphasises the value of empathetic understanding and tearing down barriers. It reminds us of the strength of the human spirit and the need of valuing variety.

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