The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) has objected to the title of Kangana Ranaut-Rajkummar Rao’s upcoming film Mental Hai Kya. In a letter addressed to CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi, IPS has argued that the film’s posters depict mental illnesses in a poor light and violate sections of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017.
“We take serious objections to the title of the movie which is discriminative, stigmatising, 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 care service users,” the letter reads.
We reached out to Dr Mrugesh Vaishnav, President, Indian Psychiatric Society, who said: “We have submitted our complaints to Prasoon Joshi, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathod (I&B Minister) and PM Narendra Modi’s office. Psychiatrists across India are trying hard to raise awareness about mental illness and bring mental patients to the societal mainstream. At this juncture, keeping such a title as Mental Hai Kya, is demeaning to our efforts. It will be used to make fun of mental patients.”
He added, “(Producer) Ekta Kapoor claims the film is a work of creativity. Well, if that is the case, I pity their creativity. If you look at Hollywood, they are also coming out with movies about mental illness. But they carry a positive message. They do not ridicule or make a mockery of mentally-ill people.”
Dr Vaishnav added that the IPS is determined to fight till the end. “As per Section 92 (2) of the new Mental Health Act passed by the Parliament, anybody who intimidates or insults the emotions of mentally-ill persons, either verbally or through behaviour, is liable for imprisonment for at least six months plus fine. Through our protest, we want to educate the filmmakers, as well the general public, about the stigmas surrounding mental health,” he said, adding that he has requested a personal meeting with Prasoon Joshi over the matter.
Meanwhile, the makers have insisted that, contrary to allegations, the film will “encourage people to embrace their individuality and distinctiveness.”Responding to the concerns raised by mental health care professionals, producers Balaji Motion Pictures on Saturday issued a statement defending the film’s intentions. The makers insisted that, contrary to allegations, Mental Hai Kya will “encourage people to embrace their individuality and distinctiveness.” They added that the film is a mainstream entertainer that makes “a larger point”.