Opening this week

Film review: ‘Dilwale’ has little heart and many attacks on good taste

Action, comedy and romance equal a pulpy mess in Rohit Shetty’s latest film.

Rohit Shetty’s latest big-budget hodgepodge stars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, and a crew of scene-stealing comic actors, including Sanjay Mishra and Johnny Lever. Dilwale’s big sell is yet-another pairing of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol as lovers, but if Mishra’s antics as a fence are among the highlights, something clearly isn’t right.

The 155-minute movie opens in one of the many brightly coloured neighbourhoods in which Shetty usually finds himself. Car designer Vir (Dhawan) has lost his heart to Ishita (Sanon) shortly after giving her a lift. He wants to marry her almost immediately, but not so fast. His doting elder brother Raj (Khan) has a dark past, which involved running a gang in Bulgaria for seemingly no reason other than that the country's tourism board offers Bollywood crews cheap rates for shooting there. In Bulgaria, Raj, whose real name is Kali, had lost his heart to Meera (Kajol), only to have it broken. Fifteen years later, it turns out that Ishita is Meera’s sister. Kismet or contrivance?

As Vir and Ishita plot to bring the star-crossed lovers together, a local hood named King (Boman Irani) chases a missing consignment of drugs, Johnny Lever puts on a generic Southern accent, Sanjay Mishra does his thing, and Pankaj Tripathi and Mukesh Tiwari, who are the only ones who know Raj’s antecedents, pick up their pay cheques. There are nods to Hum, How I Met Your Mother and Love Actually, but the main reference point seems to have been Shetty’s own money-spinning Golmaal comedies.

Careening from romance to action to comedy like one of the vrooming cars that pop up in every Shetty production, Dilwale is a movie in need of a road map. Shetty is best known for comedies and action flicks, but he can neither sustain a drama nor build a convincing love story. The Khan-Kajol pairing proves that the stars still have what it takes to set the screen alight, and they are more combustible together than Dhawan and Sanon, but their romance is tired and trite. The movie works best when it stays within the Golmaal zone, and Farhad-Sajid’s WhatsApp-level humour keeps the eyelids from meeting ever so often.



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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.