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Bollywood has been very influential in people’s lives. Especially mine. I grew up obsessing over cheesy romantic comedies, slapstick comedies, overly dramatic action films, thrillers, and a range of other genres that Bollywood has to offer. But the bigger it gets, the more it is under the scrutiny of the public, and rightly so. With the changing times, we expect a platform like Bollywood to preserve its entertainment factor, assess what is actually entertaining now and get serious with its representation. If you pick pretty much any film from the early 2000s, you wouldn’t get through the entire film without misrepresentation of some social cause. It’s either racist, misogynistic, or a misrepresentation of mental issues. The conditioning is deep and layered. So, movies that do get serious and also perfectly encapsulate the proper Bollywood entertainment factor, become so important.

Here are 3 films that give an insight into mental issues:


This film came out when I was 15 and changed the trajectory of my life. At 15, I was just a high school girl figuring out life, but insecurities, anxiety, and low self-esteem have always been a part of it. Obviously, I was unaware for most of my school life and built various defense mechanisms, but lately, I’ve been making constant efforts to be sensitive towards issues. Thanks to films like Dear Zindagi, coming to terms with intrapersonal issues has been a tad bit easier and ‘normal’.

Alia Bhatt’s portrayal of a young woman feeling betrayed and lost for most of her life, dealing with heartbreak, and finally coming to terms with her issues was a treat to watch, and honestly one of her best performances. The struggles of insomnia and depression are very real and painful and need to be brought up in conversations more often.

 I believe this film’s attempt to showcase the importance of seeking help and acknowledging mental issues has been successful. Seeking therapy is still taboo-ish, but films normalizing therapy is a great deal and Shahrukh Khan as a therapist is just *chef-kiss*.


When I call this film underrated, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Everybody knows the beautiful music album created by AR Rahman, but how many have really watched the film? Unfortunately, it wasn’t a hit at the box office, but one of those gems that film lovers have preserved and appreciated over time.

Ranbir Kapoor’s character, ‘Ved’ in the film suffers from a borderline personality disorder. The film takes us on a journey of different parts of his life, childhood, and adulthood to understand what led to his issues in the first place. Because of societal expectations and constant pressure to be something, to do something, we end up losing ourselves. We are chasing some kind of dream, that we are not sure, belongs to us. Ved, also, ends up giving in to the pressure and drifts away from his love for writing, and questions his identity and the true purpose of his life, but eventually does find his way.


Everybody remembers this film for its songs, ‘Manjulika’, and Akshay Kumar’s comedic timing or if you’re from the southern states of India, you’d know, it’s a remake. But a film that came out as early as 2007, might have made a few errors with representation, but in my opinion, I think it has hit a huge mark. Vidya Balan’s character ‘Avni’ suffers from ‘dissociative identity disorder (DID) and constantly becomes this whole other character, Manjulika, whom she was fascinated by, throughout the film. Akshay Kumar plays a psychiatrist in the film and eventually figures out Avni’s illness and how it’s deeply rooted in her childhood traumas.

This film has portrayed a blend of spirituality and science and how they can co-exist. At least, that’s how I see it. Sometimes, we’re our own demons, unintentionally and probably completely unaware of it too.

Honorable Mentions:

Karthik Calling Karthik, a beautifully chilling psychological thriller film talking about schizophrenia.

Anjaana Anjaani, a rollercoaster of a film in the love department, but also with an important theme – depression and suicidal thoughts.

Heroine, a famous actress facing the downfall of her career due to her bipolar disorder and eventually finding peace and solace.

A recent gem, Qala, also compared to ‘Black Swan’, discusses the trauma of toxic parents, flawed relationships, and postpartum depression.

While some of the films I mentioned, could be perceived as flawed, it is at least starting conversations around mental health. Media is influential and will be influential for a long long time. It is slowly but surely becoming more necessary for creators to indulge in representation and find the ‘right’ way to represent it. Here’s to us hoping a platform like Bollywood changes for good.

Author: Pavitra M – A bit quirky and a lot inquisitive with the strangest humour ever. Basically, she laughs at anything and everything. Pavitra is currently pursuing her Masters’s in Media and Communication Studies and has an incoherent but deep passion for self-care and ultimately on a quest to understand the best ways to do it. 
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author.

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