LifeStyleEntertainmentThe 7 Most Popular Bollywood Movies Based on Mental Illnesses

The 7 Most Popular Bollywood Movies Based on Mental Illnesses

Mental illnesses are conditions involving a change in individual emotions, thoughts, and feelings that can be dangerous for the person, vague, and interfere with daily life functioning. According to Our World in Data statistics in 2017, 792 million people were suffering from various mental health disorders comprising depression the most common one (264 million people worldwide), followed by Schizophrenia (20 million people), Bipolar disorder and personality disorder (45 million), and many other disorders. Many people in India suffer from mental illnesses shown by the statistics were 197.3 million people in 2017. But the resources and especially the awareness regarding these disorders are less that lowers the reporting, identifying, diagnosing of these disorders. The statistics from different reports show that one in eight adults receives mental health help. There are numerous cases in India that unreported by the person or the family due to a stigma attaches to mental illnesses.

But, in recent times, the awareness regarding mental illnesses and giving people community and medical care has increase instead of theological treatment and imposing stigma on them. One of the roles in this awareness and more reporting, diagnosing, and treatment of the disorders played by Bollywood, Hollywood movies based on mental illnesses and Indian movies, where the directors, producers, and actors tried to highlight these mental illnesses through their Movies in a very positive way, empowers the suffering person.

Top 7 Hindi Movies which has Focused upon Mental Health and has Highlighted many Common Mental Issues and Illnesses are as the followings:-

1. Taare Zameen Par (Based on Learning Disability, Dyslexia)

Taare Zameen Par

Taare Zameen Par, a 2007 movie, very famous and watched by mostly every Indian. The film was popular and indulging as it tries to bring awareness among people regarding learning disabilities and highlights the stigma imposed on individuals suffering from these illnesses. At a psychological level, this movie focuses on a learning disorder. Aware of the audience, the hardships one has to go through the societal stigma, especially the closed ones on these individuals.

But, the first question is WHAT DYSLEXIA IS? Dyslexia is a learning disorder wherein the individual faces problem in reading and writing, along with difficulty in speech sounds and failing to differentiate between words and patterns that can interfere personal, social, psychological functioning of an individual. Taare Zameen Par shows the struggle of an 8-year old dyslexic child who faces insults by society due to his illness. The issue highlighted is that even the close members do not accept the children learning disability. A child can grapple with all his fears and fight against all the odds is a pragmatic phenomenon focused on this film.

2. My Name Is Khan (Based on Asperger syndrome)

My Name Is Khan

It is a 2010 movie that receives a greater appreciation from the audience as it shows many engrossing theses. The most important one it touches is Mental illness, shown in the lead character (protagonist) of the movie, ASPERGER SYNDROME, a part of AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER. Instead of focusing on the disorder itself, MY NAME IS KHAN focus on struggles, behaviour, and difference in his life from other shows this disorder and how a person suffers through this disorder. As the movie points to an individual suffering from Asperger syndrome faces some difficulty in social interaction, express what they say, and understand the other person. Individual depicted in the movie has a desire for a strict routine, sameness. The person can have hypersensitivities to different lights, colours, and shapes as in the picture; the lead character has a problem with yellow and many other items.

The other theses, the movie has highlighted is the societal stigma on these mental disorders. The lead character was not able to adjust with others as the person was treated differently by everyone. A Positive impact that the movie has despite the person having this mental disorder, grappling with all these issues, struggling a lot and, considers as different from others, but, the lead character does not lose hope and turn all around him in his favour.

3. Dear Zindagi (Based on Anxiety, Sleeplessness & Psychological Issues)

Dear Zindagi

A 2016 Hindi picture centres around all the drama, struggles, relationships, friendships an adult faces in life. DEAR ZINDAGI gets praised, especially the acting in the movie but, the phenomenon it focuses on is a mental illness. The movie did not show Alia Bhatt (one of the lead actors in the film) as having some specific clinical disorder but show that she was suffering from psychological symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety issues, abandonment issues, and some signs of depression. This movie also focuses on some social, childhood factors that can play a chief role in these problems and disorders. When one does not get diagnosed with treatment, these symptoms can change into a severe Disorder that happens with many people in India.

A positive impact the movie has is the breaking of the stigma where Alia Bhatt seeks a counsellor and expresses her problems, leads to healing and identity-forming that empowers a lot of people out there who are still grappling with these psychological issues undiagnosed.

4. Judgemental Hai Kya (Based on Dissociative Identity Disorder, Mild Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Hallucinations)

Judgemental Hai Kya

It is a 2019 movie, though not much famous but has highlighted a mental disorder and issue which gets undiagnosed and unreported many-a-times due to a considerable societal stigma attached to this disorder, SCHIZOPHRENIA, MIDL PERSONALITY DISORDER, HALLUCINATIONS. This movie has a little tinge of comedy along with a great message on mental disorders and health. Here, the main actor, Kangana Ranaut, has shown suffering from dissociative identity disorder, which is also known as multiple identity disorder associated with traumatic experiences in childhood as shown in the movie, as her father harasses her mother. Here, the person assumes alternate personalities as the lead character assumes herself as SITA and the other person as RAVAN. Another issue that the movie focus on is SCHIZOPHRENIA AND HALLUCINATIONS, as the lead character has a psychotic disorder that impacts her personal, social, and occupational functioning along with perceptions of the stimuli not present in reality, as in the film Kangana Ranaut imagines people that do not exists in reality

The positive impact of JUDGEMNETALL HAI KYA is that it empowers all the people suffering from this disorder. Kangana Ranaut shows that even suffering from a mental Disorder does not give society the right to put stigma and accepted herself as she is and inspire others to do so.

5. Barfi (Based on Autism Spectrum Disorder)

Barfi Movie

It is a 2012 Hindi comedy movie that shows a friendship between the three characters in the picture and provides a good drama. The main impact it has made at a psychological level is its focus on common mental health issues, AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER empowering all the sufferers of AUTISM to get diagnosed and treated. Autism is a complex developmental issue where the person has a persistent challenge in social interaction, difficulty in relating to other people unable to initiate social behaviour and unresponsive to other’s feelings, desire for a strict routine, and shows a restricted range of interests. It is one of the common disorders in children and, the reasons for the same are varied and not just one. But, according to many pieces of researches and reports, Autism is caused by biological abnormalities. Later, other researchers point out the role of social factors as well.

A positive impact of this picture is that the ailment is conveyed positively rather than presenting it as a dark and struggling phase, which becomes a positive message for the sufferers. The movie tried to diminish the societal stigma attached to this disorder.

6. Tamasha (Based on Borderline Personality Disorder)


Tamasha, a Hindi romantic-comedy-drama movie that gets praise from the audience and, it was one of the best works as considered by people. Along with a love story and daily life problems, this movie has focused on mental illness, a common disorder that has a stigma over it refers to as Borderline Personality Disorder. BORDERLINE PERSONALITY disorder is characterized by different moods, behaviours, thoughts, self-image as shown in the movie where the lead character Ranbir Kapoor can be happy, outgoing one moment and shy, reserved, dull in the next moment. As shown in the film, the suffering person may have problems in the relationship as Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone has, and the person can also have some impulsive actions. Here the person experiences mood swings and, their image of self is altered as to how they viewed themselves in society that can later change their values and impact their lives as shown in the movie.

The positive impact this movie has that it gives proper justice to the disorder and shows all the symptoms and struggles faced by the sufferers. It emphasizes the positive aspect and empowers people to express their illness and, stops the societal stigma.

7. Karthik Calling Karthik (Based on Schizophrenia)

Karthik Calling Karthik

Karthik Calling Karthik, an Indian psychological thriller that has engrossed the audience and, the Bollywood industry has also appreciated the movie. The movie emphasizes a psychotic disorder, and through its fictional story, the film tries to bring out the real symptoms and sufferings faced by the schizophrenic patient. The picture also focuses on different symptoms like delusions and hallucinations the lead actor experiences. Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder, a group of psychotic disorders that can impact a person’s personal, social, and psychological functioning. It has different symptoms such as delusions, having false beliefs, and hallucinations experiencing stimuli that do not exist all this is shown in the movie very precisely.

The positive impact of KCK is that it does not correlate the psychological disorder with supernatural phenomena, as many people and movies did. It wholly justifies this ailment and shows all the real sufferings, doing, feelings, and thoughts of the person experiencing this mental illness. Instead of stereotyping this disorder, the movie empowers the sufferers to survive even after having this severe disorder by giving a beautiful example from the picture.

Unfortunately, our society does not provide a space for the sufferers to come out and to express their illness. But, Hindi movies play a role in lessens the societal stigma attached to these mental ailments. It also focuses that now, in the 21st century, mental disorders and illness are not kept under the rug and has to come outside and provide the sufferers with the community care and medical treatment instead of theological treatment.

Bollywood faces criticism for its many stereotypical and cliché movies, but it bestows many pictures that dealt with real issues and mental health topics. Though there are movies that give some unscientific data regarding it, there are times when these movies aware and empower people to come open in society about their mental illnesses. While sometimes, there can be movies with some scientific and medical inaccuracies on the mental ailments. Some sensible directors and writers did a great job to put a real picture of these areas and empower people by taking a small step in the right direction.

As given by MICHELLE OBAMA, Whether an illness affects your heart, your brain, or your leg, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.

Ishika Khandelwal
Ishika Khandelwal
Hi Everyone, I am doing major in Psychology and I am a Mental Health enthusiast and working for two non-governmental organizations in order to provide education to unprivileged children. I have a lot of interest in reading as well as writing. I am a true extrovert and love to be being around people.

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