Owing to Covid 19 pandemic, conversations around mental health have gotten further attention. According to the World Health Organisation, India is estimated to bear economic losses of USD 1.03 Trillion between 2012-2030. Research also suggests that Gay and Bisexual men are more prone to mental health problems.
Lotus Visuals Productions – a UK based agency led by Neeraj Churi that’s dedicated to Indian LGBTQ+ cinema released a unique short film titled Mind Mera Mind. The film highlighted mental health issues that a gay protagonist – Prateek, goes through and how he deals with them. Mind Mera Mind carries a serious message but it is presented in a very colloquial way.
Written and directed by Vaidya’s writer-director Harsh Agarwal, the film personified various mental health issues. Insomnia appeared as a handsome guy who kept Prateek (played by content creator Raghav Sharma) awake at night; and Anxiety appeared as the neighbourhood Aunty who is full of uncomfortable questions giving you stress. Several other characters like Self-doubt, depression, loneliness and toxic masculinity – come one after another.
The film follows a parodical format but normalises the conversation about mental health in the gay community. The dialogues and characters are written intelligently with a nice blend of humor and message. Agarwal also makes remarks on Genz and Millenials and role of social media in contributing to mental health issues through a conversation between Anxiety and self-doubt itself. The film is full of such bits and pieces that enriches the experience. The large ensemble of actors for a short film doesn’t disappoint and each actor leaves a mark, even if they appear for a single scene. Mind Mera Mind does a great job in delivering the message that it’s important to reach out for help and there is a possibility to get better.
Mind Mera Mind is a complete detour for Harsh Agarwal’s writing and style. His past works – both written and visual have carried a serious demeanor.Be it his novel Nazaqat that focussed around story of a sex worker or his short film Vaidya that told a surreal tale of love between two man. Mind Mera Mind on the contrary is humorous and edgy.
The film carries a disclaimer that it’s a representational film and therapy (as shown in the film) might not be the only way to help with mental health; but it could have done a better job to carry that message boldly and still runs a risk of showing therapy as a magical process to heal people.
Prior to writing and directing films, Agarwal published fiction. He was also the first runner up for Mr Gay India in 2020. The film partnered with leading gay dating application Grindr to make the message reach across.