Ekta Kapoor's Mental Hai Kya in soup over 'offensive' title, poster
Ekta Kapoor's production house says Mental Hai Kya encourages people to embrace their uniqueness after Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) writes to CBFC for change in title, threatens to move court
A day after the release of the poster of the movie 'Mental Hai Kya' starring Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao, the Indian Psychiatric Society has written to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), accusing the title of stereotyping mental health. The group has demanded changing the title, describing it as discriminatory, stigmatising and degrading to people suffering from mental disorders. In the letter, sent on Thursday, they have also requested CBFC to cut off any part that might be seen as violating and humiliating for people suffering from mental illness.
'Mental Hai Kya' is a comedy film produced by Ekta Kapoor and directed by Prakash Kovelamudi and is slated for a June 21 release. The poster of the movie was released on Wednesday, showing Ranaut and Rao with a blade on the tip of their tongues. Several psychiatrists have raised their eyebrows at the poster.
Ekta Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut
Taking cognizance of the issue, the Indian Psychiatric Society, which is one of the biggest psychiatric societies of the world with over 7,000 members, has written to Prasoon Joshi, the chairman of CBFC. "We take serious objection to the title of the movie, which is discriminative, stigmatizing, degrading and inhuman in projecting mental disorders and persons suffering from mental disorders. We strongly demand the title to be removed with immediate effect, preventing further damage to the modesty of mental health service users," reads the letter.
Speaking to mid-day, Dr Vijay Kumar, general secretary of the society stated that the movie also violates many sections of the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017. "The blade on tip of their tongues is scary. It is triggering and reflects self-harm, which reflects the ignorance of people suffering from mental disorders. In India, hundreds of people suffer from such illnesses, who need to be respected rather than being humiliated and taken for granted. As artists and producers, they should take this issue more seriously," he said, adding, "If the producers don't make the required changes, then we would move to court.
Several other psychiatrists are also protesting the poster on social media and via emails to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Dr Pavan Sonar, consultant psychiatrist took to Twitter requesting Kapoor to change the name of the movie. "Yes, I am upset with the title 'Mental Hai Kya'. It doesn't acknowledge the pain of being affected by mental health issues, stigma around mental health. #NoFun #MentalHealth #MentalHaiKya #Stigma," he tweeted.
Another psychiatrist, Dr Harish Shetty, took to Instagram to express his disapproval. He wrote, "The title 'Mental Hai Kya' is provocation and in my opinion, alarming. It appears funny and deriding of the mentally ill. In an era where one is fighting the stigma against mental health and are helping accept the term mental health, the title comes as shock. It may sound cool but the feeling isn't."
The other side
When mid-day reached out to Kanika Dhillon, who has written the movie, she said, "It wouldn't be fair to comment without understanding the context in which the complaint has been registered."
Balaji Motion Pictures, the producers of the movie said in a statement, "On the contrary, the makers of the film believe the movie will encourage people to embrace their individuality and distinctiveness. The movie marks the coming together of some of the most talented and responsible media personalities, who in no way intend to hurt anyone's sentiments. The makers would like to maintain that 'Mental Hai Kya' is a fictional thriller genre feature film meant to entertain audiences and it does not offend, discriminate or disregard any person. In fact, the film is a mainstream entertainer which makes a larger point."
Inputs by Mohar Basu
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