Like Dear Zindagi, 10 other acclaimed films on mental health

From the Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Dear Zindagi’ to Russell Crowe-starrer ‘A Beautiful Mind’— some films that tackle mental health as its essential theme


Shah Rukh Khan (left) and Alia Bhatt  in a still from Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi’.
Shah Rukh Khan (left) and Alia Bhatt in a still from Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi’.

New Delhi: Last Friday’s Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dear Zindagi that netted Rs 8.75 crore on opening day is the rare Hindi film to tackle mental health as its essential theme. While cinema worldwide does not have the richest tradition of addressing the issue sensitively enough, here are 10 memorable takes.

1. Rain Man (1988): The comedy drama featured Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant and Tom Cruise as his brother who are brought together by their father’s death. The Barry Levinson directed film picked up four Academy Awards and made $354 million worldwide.

2. What About Bob? (1991): Bill Murray played a psychiatric patient following his therapist (Richard Dreyfuss) on vacation in the black comedy. The Frank Oz directed film made $63 million in domestic box- office collections.

3. A Beautiful Mind (2001): The Ron Howard directed biographical film on the life of Nobel Laureate John Nash explored his struggle with paranoid schizophrenia. The Russell Crowe-starrer that went on to win four Academy Awards made $ 313 million in box office collections.

4. Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007): The comedy horror film directed by Priyadarshan featured Vidya Balan as a dissociative identity disorder patient. An official remake of the 1993 Malayalam Mohanlal movie, Manichitrathazhu, the Akshay Kumar-starrer earned Rs49 crore at the box-office.

5. My Name Is Khan (2010): Shah Rukh Khan, a middle-class Muslim diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome confronted religious and social politics in Karan Johar’s drama. The film, also featuring Kajol in a pivotal role, made Rs 82crore in box-office collections.

6. Karthik Calling Karthik (2010): Director Vijay Lalwani’s psychological thriller featured Frahan Akhtar as an introverted schizophrenia patient. Co-starring Deepika Padukone, the film managed Rs18 crore at the box office.

7. Silver Linings Playbook (2012): The romantic comedy drama saw Bradley Cooper play a bipolar disorder patient moving back to live with his parents and attempt to win back his estranged wife. The film that also starred Anupam Kher made $236 million at the box-office.

8. Barfi! (2012): Director Anurag Basu’s comedy drama revolved around Ranbir Kapoor, a deaf and mute simpleton and his relationship with two women, one of whom is autistic (Priyanka Chopra). The film that was selected as India’s official entry to the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category that year, made Rs112 crore at the box-office.

9. The Skeleton Twins (2014): Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig played fraternal twins dealing with depression in the Craig Johson directed comedy drama. The critically acclaimed film could only manage about $5 million at the box-office.

10. Inside Out (2015): Disney’s animation comedy played out the multiple emotions that growing children go through the eyes of a youngster voiced by Kaitlyn Dias. Directed by Pete Docter, the film earned $857 million in box-office collections.

All figures have been sourced from movie websites Bollywood Hungama, Box Office India and Box Office Mojo

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