Psychiatrists slam 'insensitive' 'Mental Hai Kya'

Bollywood movie 'Mental Hai Kya'.

In a strongly worded letter to the makers of the movie and the Censor Board, mental health professionals from across the country have condemned the Kangana Ranaut and Rajkumar Rao starer Bollywood movie 'Mental Hai Kya'.

Mental health professionals believe that it is an act of sheer insensitivity to be using the phrase as the title of the film as it ridicules the pains of anyone with a mental illness and would lead to increase stigma.

The Indian Psychiatric Society has penned a letter to Prasoon Joshi, the chairperson of the Central Board for Film Certification, psychiatrists have said, "We take serious objections to the title of the movie which is discriminative, stigmatizing, degrading and inhuman in projecting mental disorders and persons who suffer from mental disorders. We strongly demand the title to be removed with immediate effect preventing further damage to the modesty of mental health service users.

Psychiatrists have also said that this is in violation of the Mental Health Care Act 2017. "The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) being a quasi-judiciary body makes it more legally bounded to set an example to the citizens and be the guardian of rich Indian heritage and culture."

Speaking to DH, Dr Mrugesh Vaishnav, president, Indian Psychiatric Society said, "Hollywood is also making so many movies on psychiatric patients and they do not ridicule patients. Over a long period, Bollywood has ridiculed patients with mental illness. The stigma is so much that people go to temples and dargahs and not see psychiatrists," he said.

He also sought to know if the same would be done with other illness. "Do you ask someone with cancer who is taking chemotherapy or drugs, 'cancer hai kya'? Why should there be so much stigma only about mental illness," he said.

Dr Vaishnav also feared that on the release of the movie, college and school students would use the title of the movie indiscriminately to address someone.

Dr B N Gangadhar, director, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences also questioned, "Do you use 'andha use kya' to mock at a visually impaired person? To see mentally ill people as an object of ridicule is incorrect. This is stripping someone off their dignity. Illness should not be a subject of mockery," he said.

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