• 24 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    Bollywood affects positively in removing social stigmas on disability.

    priyanka chopra in barfi



    Bollywood is a wide platform which is significantly responsible for affecting the society in positive or negative way. When we see our superstars on silver screen, we appreciate their good looks, their characteristics, or if we say correctly, the good traits of the character they portray, we get influenced, thus we gradually idolize them.

    So whatever we see our actors doing, we appreciate it as good. The lessons the movie give; we try to learn from them.

    The grandeur of the screenplay in Bollywood generally attracts our senses, and affects us psychologically, such that we are forced to believe the ideologies shown in the movies.

    So it is important for filmmakers to realize that they have a strong duty and role towards society and take special caution in what they are preaching or promoting.

    Fortunately, filmmakers these days are involving their intellect in making such beautiful realistic cinema, which not only entertains us and gives us 3 hour’s relief and self-time with our stars, but also addresses serious social and psychological issues, which can modify our attitude towards various beliefs.

    One such factor is celebrating physical or mental disability on screen.

    In the recent years there have been several movies which are inspiring and rejuvenating and have changed our mind set towards physical challenges and people with special abilities.

    Films like Barfi, Taare Zameen Par, Black, Guzaarish and Magharitta with a Straw (shows autism)have not only been successes at the box-office, but they have contributed positively, in changing the social attitude towards specially-abled people.

    Barfi (2012) brought a fresh air of new romance on screen with the unusual love saga of a deaf and mute boy Barfi and an autistic Bengali girl Jhilmil, who never grew up. The film doesn’t mock the abilities of these characters by showing any kind of sympathy, infact, their typical characteristics have been used to derive humour which is good for mental health. We find how Barfi uses his body language to amuse people, and how his caricatures manage to make a normal girl Shruti fall in love with him. Later Jhilmil falls in love with Barfi, due to her emotional dependency on him, and by looking at it we know, that they are also humans, they have the same emotions, they may not be able to think as fast as we do, but they breathe the same air, they feel the same instincts. They have the right to love and be loved. Especially, when our young heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor plays the role of the deaf boy, the character no longer remains unacceptable even to the most orthodox people, who believe disability is a crime. Instead we develop a special awareness for the particular issue and learn how to take care if we ever meet a person like them.

    Acting has immense power. With its strength and intensity, one can make you believe ought as not, and not as ought. And it is good, that the scope of cinema has changed. It has moved out of family dramas, and is trying to create something which will entertain as well as give food for thought.

    guzaarish hrithik roshan

    Guzaarish (2010) depicts the life of a wonder magician, who is finally bound by a wheelchair due to an accident in one of his shows, and hence files a petition at the court so that he can be allowed to end his life. What is significant is that, even after this unfortunate setback, he lives with a royal spirit, his voice dictates like a King to his governess. His musical sense doesn’t fall anyway behind Mozart, and he continues to enjoy life with positivity as long as he is living. When it comes to death, there also he wants to rule, he wants to be the decider for death, rather than succumbing to a suffering fate.

    Hrithik Roshan becomes an ecstatic figure which recreates the notions of love and life.

    We cannot deny, that one of the reasons why these movies turn out to be successful is because, it manages to draw the sympathy of common audience, who love their stars, and when they find that he is a disable character on screen, positive sympathy and congeniality automatically generates in the vision, and we start loving the character more, and consequentially end up appreciating the film, and its concept.

    But there is no harm if the USP of stars can be utilized to promote something valuable for human beings. Such a form of sympathy is good, if it can infuse an awareness about physical and mental challenges.

    taare zameen par amir khan ishaan

    In Taare Zameen Par (2007), Amir Khan identifies the special learning abilities of Ishaan, as Nikumbh Sir, and treats him differently, while others in his school generally coax him and punish him, because of his inability to accustom to regular curriculum (he suffered from Dyslexia). This in turn, is a lesson for all teachers, that they should not measure every child under same parameters. Each child is different and has different abilities, it is the duty of the teacher to identify them, and give special care if required, for growth and development of the child.

    No longer, failing in maths is a taboo or stigma in high schools, thank God! Or thanks to Amir. 

    u me aur hum

    U me Aur Hum (2008) broadly highlights the issues of a significant mental disability, and the consequences that one might have to face, if he or she is suffering from Alzeimer’s disease. Yet Piya’s husband Ajay is the strength and backbone, who loves his wife so much, that inspite of her drowning their child into the tub, he understands, he supports his wife till the end, and whenever she forgets, he uses a unique way to remind her of their relationship, which is really interesting and inspiring.

    Not only couples, but society in general understands that people with special abilities, need understanding, patience, love and special care. You cannot stigmatize them, or throw them away from your family, they are not responsible for what they are, they want to win over their shortcomings which is only possible when we support.

    Also box-office smashers like Lagaan has portrayed disability in new light. Kachra, who suffers from polio since childhood uses his disability of left arm as a strength to become a fantastic spin bowler, and no one from the opponent team can ever anticipate, how he is going to spin the ball. His disability finally makes the village win the cricket match against the British.

    In this way, Bollywood naturally plays a major role in converting the ideas of the general mass, persuading them to believe what going on the screen.

    Entertainment and media are always game changers, as long as opinion forming is concerned in an educated society, and Bollywood is probably the largest, the highest viewed industry all across the world. Its audience ranges from India, to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kuwait and also United States of America.

    So Hindi films tend to change not only clichés in Indian society but also abroad through their intellectual ideas and concepts on human needs and abilities.


    Responses 1

    • Anirban Ghatak
      Anirban Ghatak   Sep 04, 2016 09:37 PM

      Wonderfully compiled and written .... this kind of topics should be published more frequently so that the general people can understand their emotions and feelings. Again well written.

  • 04 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    Admission of Bipolar Disorder was not an easy task for Yo Yo Honey Singh!

    honey singh bipolar disorder

    We have all shaken our legs to #LungiDance and ‘party shoes’ and many more uncountable rhythmic tracks, which have influenced us to change our opinion about good music. Since 2011, music has been all about raps and rhythms thanks to our Punjabi ‘munda’ YoYo Honey Singh saab.

    He has been the heartthrob of all concerts, and his item numbers swooned the discs and pubs. His graph of success has been tremendously rising within a very short span of time.

    But don’t you feel the feat is missing for some time now? Every Bollywood movie included a rap for its completion from Honey paa ji, in the recent years, but it’s been long that we have not had a new number from him.

    When the world was dancing through his tunes, he suddenly secluded himself from the limelight. Almost for two long years, Honey Singh has been away from the industry, which has given him the stardom, such that he is still not forgotten.

    Now he has finally opened up on this interlude in his journey.

    He has stated to the Times of India that he has been suffering from Bipolar Disorder, alcohol being one of its prime reasons.

    “The last 18 months were the darkest phase of my life, and I wasn’t in a state to talk to anyone”, he admits.

    Bipolar disorder is a mental state when a person usually has very frequent mood swings, reports The National Institute of Mental Health, and this severely damages brain balance and hampers work and daily activities. It has also been called “manic-depressive illness”.

    This disease has not left our celebrities alone as well, and Honey Singh is one of them. In spite of the stupendous fame and success, he was tied down by his mental illness.

    “Forget leaving the house, I couldn’t even leave my room. At one point, I thought I would live in this darkness forever. I had cut myself off from everyone. I didn’t come out of my room, forget stepping out of the house. I had a beard and I didn't get a haircut for months. For someone who has performed in front of a crowd of 20,000, I was scared of facing 4-5 people. That’s what bipolar disorder does to you,” Honey said.

    However, every cloud has a silver lining. What is inspiring is the fact, that this personality has shown the courage to own up his illness, which is the first and most important step of cure. He admits he has been an addict, and he was afraid this darkness would last him forever.

    But the fact that he has come in public once again, he is attending interviews is the proof that he is in the process of recovery. His sarcasms in lyrics has always been a matter of criticism, but with a positive spirit he has withheld them. Competition never concerned him, criticisms never bothered him, yet he has been in depression, fear and fret. But he sets an example by showing a strong will power to get himself out of this frustrating state.

    He has already changed four doctors in these 18 months with the hope that will be able to do away with his addiction and disorder.

    “After the sun went down, I was scared of my own family. I wasn’t behaving like myself. I was a sick person. I wasn’t in my own control. But now it is all behind me and I’ve come out of it”.


    Well said were the lines, “Beauty is Truth, truth is beauty”, that is art is always beautiful, and the beautiful soul is expressed in art. Whatever be the glooms of life, his music has always been with him. Possibly, his art is unchanged in his mind, which is acting as a positive force for survival and recovery.

    “One night when I couldn’t sleep in spite of popping sleeping pills, I wrote and composed a song called ‘Rise and Shine’, after seeing my mom breakdown. She is the only reason I am here today”, says Honey Singh.

    He will be soon back in music, rocking the top most charts with his sensational music and captivating lyrics.

    We hope that he will get over this subdued phase quickly, and will come back with a bang with some of his super hits down the line.

    And once again the music channels will bump up with a loud and clear shout #YoYoHoneySinga!!!

    References:1 2 3


  • 02 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    Matthieu Ricard-Happiness is worrying less about yourself

    matthieu ricard

    69 years-old Tibetan monk has become the happiest man in the world by following the path of altruism, which is selflessness.

    It is interesting to note that in a world where common human beings are bothered with small and big problems of daily life, but yet fails to find the way to be happy.

    This old Buddhist, Matthieu Ricard, almost has nothing of what we, common men have.

    However, seem to be capable of happiness, which makes him the most powerful personality.

    He meditates with dedication, with the intension to infuse compassion within him.

    Neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, has found in his research with Matthieu that:

    “when meditating on compassion, Ricard's brain produces a level of gamma waves - those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory ………….excessive activity in his brain's left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, allowing him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity.”

    As Mr. Ricard says,

    we often confuse happiness with pleasure and well-being, too much of which leaves us tired at a point of time, we seek for happiness, but we tend to flee away from it not being able to recognize.

    His mantra for happiness is

    ‘care less for yourself and more for others.’

    If we are always bothering about the little interests within us, it causes a lot of stress, anxiety and disappointment leads to depression. Instead, if a person is benevolent and sensitive to the needs of others.

    He will be much appreciated by the world, which will automatically make him feel better.

    Constant self-centeredness is exhausting, "It's not the moral ground," Ricard explained.

    "It's simply that me, me, me all day long is very stuffy. And it's quite miserable, because you instrumentalize the whole world as a threat, or as a potential sort of interest [to yourself]."

    He believes that each one of us has a potential towards positivity.

    However, we need to nurture the goodness in us. Being happy, thinking good, is a practice.

    One should work towards training his mind for positivity. It is like a runner training himself for a marathon.


    “Our control of the outer world is limited, temporary and often illusory,"


    So as much as we try to fix the wrongs from outside, we do not attain an expected result, but from within; we can persevere for a better change.


    According to him, as per Buddhist definition:

    Happiness or well-being is not just a pleasurable sensation. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment and state that actually pervades.


    Hence we can have this well-being while being sad.


    Well-being or permanent happiness is a state of being not a ‘fleeting sensation'.


    It is like the depth of an ocean. Our mind is stronger, which can give us the sensation and the feeling of an external well-being.


    Environmental perceptions of freedom, achievement, affluence and everything associated with happiness are “just auxiliary, help conditions,"


    It is all about how the mind interprets them, hence it is all in the mind to feel happy or sad, though external factors do matter.


    He advices everybody to spend at least 10-15 minutes each day thinking purposively on good things.


    His book, Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill teaches us how to concentrate on positive emotions to keep your mental health balanced and flourishing with happiness because the secret lies in contentment.

    Image source




    References: 1 3 4 


  • 02 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    Tears can be wiped off with laughter- Lilly Singh’s inspirational story.

    depression Lilly singh


    Struggling with depression; 'It's Nothing to Be Ashamed About', says Lilly Singh. Could you have ever imagined that Lilly Singh, the hippy star, the girl with cool dude attitude, can speak on depression!


    But its true. As I say, we all have our share of joy and sorrow. Today we find her rocking the social media as the #Superwoman, but she was a subject of depression once and today when she gives her motivational speeches she recalls those days.


    Lilly Singh was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada to a Punjabi family by origin. She is a bachelor’s degree holder in Psychology from York university. Since she was struggling with depression, she sorted out a way, to vent her feelings and that was through You Tube.

    When you decide to fight against your weaknesses instead of being torn down by them, that is the spirit which calls for a celebration.


    "I didn't have goals. I didn't feel like eating. I was upset for absolutely no reason," Singh says in the current issue of PEOPLE. "I told myself, 'You have a choice: Either continue feeling this way or do something to change your life," says Lilly.


    When she started her You Tube channel, she never knew it would be such a big hit. One of her earliest videos was a parody on Justin Bieber, called #NeverSayNever which hit 1000 subscribers, and hence Lilly realized that she had the potential to instigate the young crowd, the audience who was so hungry for a spark of motivation, and she used her comic skills to discuss serious issues in the form of jokes, parodies and sarcasms.


    The humour of her contents helped her overcome her grief, as we all know, laughter is the best medicine for physical and mental health, and she was promoting laughter; she was promoting mental wellness among common men since then.


    Recently, we found the “Superwoman” feature in one of the latest AIB Videos, Real Indians vs NRIs, and it was hilarious how she conducted her way through the program, to evoke relentless laughter.


    "One of the best pieces of advice I can give is, not to overthink things because when I started I didn't think about a brand, a schedule or how to say or do things," she explained. "I just did it and figured it out. I would tell myself, 'Don't overthink it. Do it because you love to do it and just have fun with it," Singh suggests.


    The reason why she decided to make videos for You Tube was because she felt that she was trying to recover from depression, and probably there were many others in the world, who also wanted to recover from this nasty phase, but required a lead.


    She felt her videos could motivate people to deal with their hardships with a stronger mind and body, and she thought it right. We are really inspired to find a person joking all the way with her Fans and colleagues, and today it is hard to believe that she ever was in depression. She actually exemplifies diligence, the wish to overcome is important and you can overcome it.


    Recently, she has featured in an upcoming documentary that outlines her life, “A Trip To Unicorn Island”.


    Today, she is a successful vj, comedian and motivational speaker. She has won the ‘social superstar of the year’ at MTV Fandom Awards and ‘first person’ in the Streamy awards.

    She appears as cameo and rapper in many films, but when asked about her recovery, when she is asked how she came out of depression, she says, “Something in my brain just switched, now I hope my videos can be a switch for someone." 


    We hope so too. We know the journey of establishing yourself as a “Superwoman” has been super-difficult, Lilly, but we wish you all the best so that you can continue to entertain us and motivate us in this way, for you never know, how many lives you are changing each day with your videos.

    Just check one of her famous videos.

    References: 1 2 3

    Image source



    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 19, 2017 07:31 PM

      I have read little bit about Lilly Singh as she was recently doing some social work with United Nations. Never knew that she was suffering from depression.

      People get into depression because they do not get an outlet to express their hearts out. They might not have people to express themselves and this makes them feel like avoiding social interaction  all the time.Thisravates their condition. Lilly found an outlet to express herself and get out of this condition. She is very right in saying about avoiding overthinking and working towards things we love to do. Also it was her belief in herself as she wanted to recover.And YouTube acted as a saviour for her.

      I saw the video. I think she can attract to the your very well, not just with the content but also with her act. Best wishes to the 'SuperWoman'.

  • 02 Mar
    Oyindrila Basu

    Great minds think beyond the normal

    indian painting


    “I walked to my desk and was about to resume work, with my cup of coffee, when my desk bell rang. I was called by Sridhar, ideally he is my boss, and this was the second day at my workplace, and I was yet to understand the entire business set up, so I thought maybe I had made some mistake in the submitted files.

    I went in; he locked the door behind me, didn’t waste a moment pulling me near him, and whispered in my ears, ‘would you like some piping COFFEE tonight at my place? .......If you do, all your files will get cleared, and within a week, you will be promoted to the next level, where you can actually have double the salary’,

    I was taken aback, for a moment, I went numb, he was one of the most influential persons in the company, and this was a hard-earned job………….

    With my two strong arms (which now felt stronger) I pushed him hard and he fell on his chair.

    I ran and opened the door with a bang (to draw attention of all my colleagues), went forward to Sridhar again, picked up the glass from the desk, and threw the water on his face……

    on hearing my experience; each one in office did congratulate me, but exclaimed (to my surprise) that ‘this was so NORMAL with every female employee in this office, yeh to badi companys may hota hi rehta hai’, but as on my part, I was clear, I could not accept this bullying and sexual harassment in a workplace as something ‘NORMAL’…”(Anonymous)


    It is true that most of us subserve to various situations, which have been happening for a long period of time in society, at a stretch, and term them ‘NORMAL’ as because they do not get changed at the right time. Racism, dowry, bullying, female objectification, communalism, female-infanticide, child marriage, late parenthood stigma, sexual harassment and there are many more issues on which society has its own opinion, and that is ‘NORMAL’.

    If a girl is eve teased, her mother restrains her from reporting the matter, saying, “its normal, don’t worry, the same man won’t follow you the next day”, but what if another rascal just matters to comment on your girl the next day!

    Huge dowry is termed NORMAL in Indian marriages, infact, it is tagged as ‘RIWAAZ’, i.e. custom of gifts to the bridegroom in most parts of India. It is shocking that though the law and constitution is against this motion, but people themselves so lovingly believe in this extortion as ‘NORMAL’.

    “Normal is something I can never take for granted again,” well said by Andaleeb Wajid, the beautiful woman author who inspired the world with her books, which redefined romance, and love for food.

    Minds which think beyond normalcy make a mark for the world.

    Normality is actually a delusion. It is largely defined by what society thinks and practices, and the notion of normality keep changing from time to time. What a large group thinks in common becomes normal.

    Even an intellectual person, posing his great ideas incoherently, is termed as abnormal, because he is just different from the mass.

    What is Normal?

    • Some action or incidence that keeps happening in society, as it is recreated by people again and again.
    • If the practice serves a purpose for our living, (like brushing teeth in the morning keeps cavity away, or paying money for goods balances the economy)
    • Or if some idea is receiving acceptance from the mass, since time immemorial.

    When we can break this cocoon of submissive acceptance, we can do something for a better change.

    Always file a complaint for eve-teasing, do speak up against workplace bullying, always say a ‘no’ to dowry, because it is illegal, and most importantly, logically unjustified.

    Acceptance can only encourage the inflated ego of the cowardly bullies in society.

    #SensitiveIndia shouts against being called ‘intolerant’, when honour killing and communal persecutions are still very much alive, because in those regions, they are ‘NORMAL’.

    A girl should choose her family responsibilities above her career, because that is ‘NORMAL’, someone has to look after the family, so ‘normally’ that is the woman’s role.

    It is high time that education and economic equality be brought to terms with high hand, so that women themselves identify their worth, and oppose to the sense of normality.

    Though not great movies, but characters like Ananya Swaminathan (from Two States-the story of my marriage), and P.K. (from P.K.) does inspire us to revive our thoughts on what society terms as normal.

    When Ananya takes a foot forward to oppose dowry, stating clearly, that she, being a girl earns more than a boy does, and only because Duke is a boy, it is not obvious that he will be more valuable to the society, to receive big cars, we really clap to her courage and candidness.

    Equally, when P.K. dismantles the concept of what we call religion, by dressing up a Hindu in burkha, and a Muslim in church clothing, we realize, that it is the acceptance of ideas, which goes on to distinguish between religions. We accept that it is normal that a Muslim will wear a net cap, a Christian will wear clothes more of English origin and worship Jesus, and Hindu will be in saree; that is the base of religions, and when that changes, our vision towards religion changes. We come to realize that all of us are of the same blood.

    Similarly, it is normal to get average grades; it is normal to be punished in class; it is normal to be ragged by your senior; are not facts, but notions that become functional when we accept them.

    Some great person has said- “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know, how amazing YOU can be”.

    Facing failure is good, but accepting that you have limited capabilities is not good.

    Strive towards improving yourself never ends, if you do not take your previous low performance as normal.

    So today, we have courageous people like Sapna Bhawani, who refused to accept her juvenile rape as normal, and strived and struggled towards making her place in society, we have Tasleema Nasrin, who has been a victim of political communalism time and again, but refused to give up, and continues to write candidly on social and political stigmas.

    And currently, we have Amir Khan. Our so called ‘tolerant’ India hurled anger, hatred and vengeance on a citizen for using his fundamental rights (that is ‘freedom of speech and expression’), but Khan continues to maintain resilience on the face of adversity, he stands upright to the political communalism that is going on against him, and states what he feels is right. Such stories motivate us to cultivate ourselves and our abilities, fight against fate and achieve something great, which may not be ‘NORMAL’.

    Image source


    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Sep 20, 2017 10:04 PM

      Love the way the idea of normality in this piece which pertains to each and every aspect of life and it is important. In today's time, it is good to see that people are questioming to various stereotypes existing in the society and coming out of it. Especially in a country like India wherein there are lots and lots of coward people, though this may sound harsh but that it is the truth. They are the ones who contantly fear what other peple will think of them. Indians lag behind a lot in the matters of self esteem and also self directing behaviuor due to which they expect the society and any other person for them but what happens is, that the self-centeredness of that one particular person is seen in that. This explains why most of the Indian women choose to remain silent about behaviuor like that of sexual violence or any other form of misogynist discrimination as they believe that they are meant to suffer. It is important to strive hard for whatever is right for ourselves and it is less important to think about what the society demands of us, becuase as it was mentioned, it will constantly change.

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