Monday, August 30, 2010

Bollywood teaches about diseases


Cinema is a reflection of the society. And with so much of popularity as a powerful medium of information and entertainment, there is no doubt that it has also been reflected in the society. There are many things we did not know, realize or think about before we saw it on the silver screen. Things that we did not give much importance held a lot of importance after we watched the same in the form of a story in a theater or on TV at home. Crime in the society, roots of terrorism, corruption, and many other topics were introduced to us in a highly presentable way. We watched, learnt, and tried to get away from the evil after every cinematic experience. Cinema has done one more favor on us by introducing us to various forms of prevailing diseases – some of them we normally see around us and some of them are very rare.

Bollywood (Hindi Film Industry) has played a very important role in introducing us to some of the rarest diseases. Some of those diseases were never known to the common men before. “Lympho Sarcoma of the intestine”, said the doctor when the patient inquired about the disease he was suffering from in the movie Anand released in 1971. After knowing about the condition, the patient said “wow, what a big name?” and laughed. The movie teaches how a patient can make everyone laugh though he knows that there is a big tumor growing inside his stomach.

It’s when Amir Khan came up with his directorial debut ‘Tare Zameen Par’ in 2007, many people came to know that the inability to write and read can be a medical condition called ‘Dyslexia’. People who earlier used to force their children to read and write realized their mistake and people who have children facing the same problem learnt how to tackle the issue. The way to overcome the problem is through love, affection and exceptional care with intelligence and not avoidance or punishment is what the movie advises. Similarly, Ajay Devgan’s directorial debut ‘U, Me aur Hum’ that released in 2008 taught us about the ill-effects of Alzheimer's. The movie showed how a husband chooses a different style of life to take care of his wife who suffers from the disease. Leaving the patient in an asylum is not the solution but with utmost care, the issue can be tackled.

There are two movies which surprised the audience by highlighting two very rare diseases. Diwangi in 2002 highlighted the condition ‘Split Personality’ whereas Aparichit in 2006 documented the violent effects of ‘Multiple personality disorder‘. Audience were left spellbound with the way the consequence of the medical conditions presented in the two movies. One person starts behaving like another In Diwangi whereas Aparichit shows how a single person can wear multiple personalities in different times.

Mahesh Manjrekar’s first Hindi movie Nidaan released in 2000 described how a teenage girl suffered from AIDS and how she went through different physical conditions until death. On the contrary, Phir Milenge made in 2004 on the same subject of a HIV positive victim doesn’t talk about the miseries of the disease but highlights the negative social approach towards the patient.
Bollywood introduced many people to Progeria through the movie Paa (2010), Autism through the movies ‘Main Aisa Hi Hun’ and ‘My Name is Khan’. Starting with 'Dil Ek Mandir' in 1963 till 'Kal Ho Na Ho' in 2003, the industry gave us many movies on Cancer.

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