Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 100
How psychiatrists get ridiculed in Hindi movies

Department of Psychiatry, Sheth Vadilal Sarabhai General Hospital, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

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Date of Web Publication9-Jan-2014

How to cite this article:
Banwari G. How psychiatrists get ridiculed in Hindi movies. Indian J Psychiatry 2014;56:100

How to cite this URL:
Banwari G. How psychiatrists get ridiculed in Hindi movies. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Oct 29];56:100. Available from:


Hindi cinema is known to paint an unflattering image of the psychiatrist. [1] But, this is not restricted to Hindi cinema, as a similar sentiment is echoed in an analysis of commercially available American movies. [2] Although movie making has seen a lot of technological advance in recent times, the depiction of the reel psychiatrist remains stereotyped, the brunt of which is apprehended to be borne by the real psychiatrist. Many degrading themes that project psychiatry and psychiatrists in bad light tend to recur in movies, one such theme being the medical and scientific explanation for the sufferer's symptoms as given by the psychiatrist is proven wrong while paranormal occurrences are rendered to be all correct. Supernatural happenings and witchcraft almost always are shown to supersede the psychiatrist's rationality. In the last decade, this theme has been done to death in movies like Banaras (2006), Bhoot (2003), Darling (2007), Hawa (2003), Hum Tum Aur Ghost (2010), I See You (2006), Naina (2005), and Phoonk (2008). The latest addition to the list is the movie Talaash (2012), starring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, and Rani Mukerji. Two of the lead protagonists are portrayed to be pathologically grieving the loss of their son, and the female is forced to consult a psychiatrist, who offers counseling as well as prescribes medication to her. She does not find the need of the psychiatric consultation as useful and fails to comply to the psychiatrist's advice, as she is shown not to take the medication prescribed. Meanwhile, one of their neighbors who is able to connect to the dead, gets her to communicate with their dead son, and this resolves her state of grief and/or depression. Her husband who is initially reluctant to accept the fact that the dead can be communicated with, eventually believes in the actuality of the phenomenon after his own experience with the spirit of a dead woman.

The argument here is that psychiatrists are often made a scapegoat in the film plots, when the intention of the movie makers may be to establish the supernatural to be true. Paranormal phenomena and existence of spirits has been a staple of the thriller and horror genre of cinema since as long as movies are being made, but fitting in a 'psychiatrist' character in the schema of things is a more recent fad. We may only lament the fact that psychiatrists, in all their scientific pursuit, are painfully and pathetically shown to face defeat at the cost of magico-religious feats of the exorcist. As it is, psychiatrists are seen in negative light by the community, and popular cinema's caricatured portrayal may only perpetuate the prevalent negative perceptions. [3] The dignity of the medical profession in general and the psychiatric profession in particular, needs to be upheld, so as to not discourage people from visiting a psychiatrist. On the contrary, given its mass appeal and wide outreach, cinema can be used as an effective medium to foster and build up a healthy image of the psychiatrist.

   References Top

1.Banwari GH. Portrayal of psychiatrists in Hindi movies released in the first decade of the 21 st century. Asian J Psychiatr 2011;4:210-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Gharaibeh NM. The psychiatrist's image in commercially available American movies. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2005;111:316-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Sartorius N, Gaebel W, Cleveland HR, Stuart H, Akiyama T, Arboleda-Flórez J, et al. WPA guidance on how to combat stigmatization of psychiatry and psychiatrists. World Psychiatry 2010;9:131-44.  Back to cited text no. 3

Correspondence Address:
Girish Banwari
Department of Psychiatry, Sheth Vadilal Sarabhai General Hospital, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.124740

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