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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Through A Cinematic Lens

Posted: May 17, 2019

Study and research on mental illness have always fascinated me. I had watched this particular movie “Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya” which never had any disclaimer that it was showcasing mental illness. But, I could very well decipher that the movie dealt with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which is accompanied by anxiety and depression.

The movie revolved around four characters :  Ria played by Urmila Matondkar, Ria’s father Mr Jaiswal played by Suresh Oberoi, Jai played by Fardeen Khan and Geeta, Jai’s wife played by Sonali Kulkarni.

Mr Jaiswal is a rich industrialist and loves his only daughter Ria dearly, one of the reasons being that she had lost her mother at a very young age and the father played the role of both the parents. Ria grows up into a lonely possessive and angry young woman which is one of the causes of concern to Mr Jaiswal.

Without much ado I would like to cut short the plot as my aim is not to write a review of the movie but to enlighten the masses on the mental illness called OCD which is chaperoned along with anxiety and depression.

Ria and Jai get to know each other through a modeling assignment where Ria’s photos deeply impresses the chief editor of the photo magazine who wants Ria to be the model for their magazine. This initially angers Ria though upon Jai’s coaxing and cajoling, Ria agrees to be featured and in turn falls in love with Jai without knowing that Jai is happily married to Geeta. Things do not go hunky dory for Jai and here director Rajat Mukherjee focuses on this facet of human indisposition which we call as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Ria becomes extremely possessive of Jai, gets anxiety pangs if he doesn’t answer the phone on time and also evinces such repetitive behavior.

The movie shows that Ria is unable to bear the fact that Jai is married and goes into depression where she tries to kill herself, tries to severe Jai’s relationship with his wife, tries to kill Geeta and the saga continues. Jai refuses to settle for any relationship with Ria as he understands Ria’s nature and deeply loves his wife. The movie ends with a poignant note with Geeta and Jai living a happy married life and Ria lodged in a mental asylum. Mr Jaiswal pleads Jai to visit Ria in the asylum on her birthday to see if it impacts her mental condition but upon seeing Jai, Ria breaks down until the hospital crew and her father pulls her apart from Jai. To a certain extent, Jai is held responsible for this frenzied condition of Ria.

The movie is no different from a real-life counselling case which I handled where I almost jumped out of the chair when my client’s storyline had an uncanny resemblance like Ria’s one. My client didn’t have to be admitted to any mental asylum or any rehabilitation centre though she had a psychotic breakdown but she had to fight out a lone battle with her mental demons along with the help of therapist, psychiatrist and a counsellor. The path to recovery was long, lonely and tiring. She is still recovering.

Research shows any mental illness is partly functional and partly organic and stems in early childhood. A broken childhood where there is no harmony between parents, or in better words the child witnessing ugly fights between the parents falls prey to mental illnesses. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a sort of mental disorder where the person has obsessive and possessive thoughts and urges thereby performing compulsive, repetitive behavior.

As I said earlier, parenting has a major role to play in modeling the mind of a child as described in both Ria’s and my client’s case.  Ria lost her mother at a tender age, grew up as a heavily pampered lonely and aggressive child and my client grew up in an extremely violent atmosphere where she had witnessed ugly spats between her parents and grew up a broken and timid child.  Ria wanted Jai at any cost. She did not even feel wrong about the fact that Jai was married and cannot stay with her. My client on the other hand chose to wear particular clothing and footwear on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as she felt wearing them will reduce the fights between her parents on those days.

Depression loomed over her and the once happy child turned to an agitated adult unable to take even small decisions in life.

I must clarify OCD doesn’t only include habits like biting nails and thinking depressive thoughts though they are part of the malady, this disorder keeps the individual from leading a normal life. It affects their job, academics and relationships. For example the obsessive thought of wearing that particular clothing compels the patient to practice the same and in turn the patient repeats the behavior although s/he doesn’t feel happy about it. Many a time they genuinely do not want to think these thoughts but are too powerless not to do the same. They know it in their sane conscious minds and that is what they confide in their psychiatrist/therapist for a remedy on those bizarre habits which doesn’t make a sense. They simply can’t quit and if they stop they feel pathetic and start the same rituals again. Now the sense of guilt takes over. Slowly creeps in anxiety and depression to an already affected individual.

Research also says that OCD is more prevalent in women than the menfolk which is not good news and that stress has a predominant role to play in this disorder.

Reports WebMD that doctors aren’t sure why some people have OCD. Certain areas in the brain may not look normal in people with OCD, but more research is needed. Symptoms often appear in teens or young adults. Stress can make symptoms worse. There may be a gene or genes linked to OCD, but this is still unknown.One may be more likely to get the disorder if s/he had been:

A parent, sibling, or child with OCD
Depression or anxiety
Experience with trauma
A history of physical or sexual abuse as a child

There are a wide range of symptoms denoting this particular affliction but till day there has been no cure for this malady. The psychotic drugs help reduce the symptom, obsession, compulsion and repetition. The patient can also take the help of a therapist /counsellor and undergo a talk therapy or counselling.

OCD like any other mental illness is always steered by depression and anxiety and the patient IF NOT TREATED is bound to have panic and OCD attacks.

In the words of Shannon L. Alder on OCD and mental health “Sensitive people usually love deeply and hate deeply. They don’t know any other way to live than by extremes because their emotional theromastat is broken.”

In closure, I say one cannot compare men or women with mental disorders to the normal expectations of men and women without mental ailment. Dealing with the symptoms and understanding the patient will help you get an answer to that unbalanced behaviour. Else one will have unreachable standards and regret.  Extend a helping hand to a patient suffering from OCD or any other mental ailment. Seek help when you get heed of these symptoms.

A lasting reminder to fighting couples : Either stay amicably or part ways but do not remain stuck in a broken marriage and spoil the future of your child. As the saying goes nothing in this world can torment you as much as your own thoughts. Make a world a healthy place to live in. Gift a child a sane mind and a healthy body.

Image is a poster of the movie Pyar Tune Kya Kiya

Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of

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