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Silver Linings Playbook to Dear Zindagi, five films that offer a poignant discussion on mental health

Mental health has gained a proper platform in the recent decade, without hyping or stigmatizing it. These 5 films offer a sensitive yet candid approach to mental health and are a must-watch for all.

Silver Linings Playbook to Dear Zindagi, five films that offer a poignant discussion on mental health

Last Updated: 07.13 AM, Dec 02, 2023


There was a time when calling a troubled or picky character ‘cuckoo’ was normal. Thankfully, such glaring insensitivity has begun lessening due to increased awareness and discussions on mental issues and wellbeing. And similar trends have arisen in cinema as well, paving the way for films that properly handle and portray authentic characters that are affected by a variety of mental health concerns. Ranging from a bipolar teacher to a depressed cinematographer, these five films cover a plethora of mental issues as well a unique way of looking at it.

Silver Linings Playbook

This 2012 rom com is based on the titular novel by Matthew Quick and features a stellar cast of the likes of Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Di Niro, and Anupam Kher. The film traces the story of two individuals and their blossoming bond as they train for a life-altering dance competition. While Pat Solitano Jr. Is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Tiffany Maxwell is a widow suppressing grief along with other undiagnosed mental issues, and each bring out the best and manage to temper the worst in one another. The film can be streamed on Prime Video.

Happy Pill

This 2018 feel-good film features the underdog of Bengali cinema, Ritwick Chakraborty as the protagonist Siddhartha. Currently streaming on Hoichoi, this theatrical release won all hearts because of its simple yet poignant ‘what if’ premise. What if happiness could be achieved by popping a pill? A wonderful portrayal of the psyche of society and the pros of placebo effect, Happy Pill is a balm for all melancholic hearts.

Inside Out

Inside Out is a Pixar-produced Disney-distributed animated bildungsroman (or coming-of-age story) that follows the inner workings of the mind of a young girl named Riley as the five basic emotions, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger control her. Whoever is the leader, that particular emotion becomes a person’s characteristic disposition. As Riley experiences and overcomes several big changes in life, the emotions are there to help her, albeit also hinder her at times. But the film highlights the fact that what is life but a rollercoaster ride, full of emotional highs and lows that impact our lives. Inside Out is available to view on Disney+hotstar.

Dear Zindagi

This 2016 Gauri Shinde-directed and Gauri Khan-produced project played a huge role in spreading the positive impact of therapy and destigmatizing asking for help when mentally distressed. Starring Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan in the leading roles, Dear Zindagi focuses on the story of budding cinematographer Kaira who one day becomes disillusioned with life and starts looking for meaning. Her fun-loving, bohemian lifestyle comes to a standstill after a romantic faux pas costs her a big gig. Only when she reaches the nadir of melancholy and frustration does Kaira find Dr. Jehangir Khan’s eccentric yet effective life philosophy lift her up. Dear Zindagi can be streamed on Netflix.

Still Alice

This 2014 drama film is based on the titular novel by Lisa Genova. Still Alice, written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, stars Julianne Moore as Alice, along with Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish. It tells the tragic yet hard-hitting story of Linguistics professor Alice Howland and her debilitating battle with early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease. As Alice slowly succumbs to the memory-snatching monster, her family is split over their inability to watch her fade and need to take care of her. The film is available for rent on Prime Video.

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