Short film seeks to bring mental health awareness in focus
Conceptualised by Ms. Malathi Rai, Smile Simi probes and answers issues related to mental health
Should something necessarily go wrong before loved ones recognize mental health issues? What are the symptoms of mental health issues? How to deal with them? These are just some of the questions ‘Smile Simi’, a short film on mental health seeks to probe, and answer.
The film, which was released on Youtube in December, is the brainchild of Ms. Malathi Rai, who is vice president of HR & Facilities at a leading IT MNC, and has been actively working in several villages for years addressing issues including water shortage, education, and women empowerment.
Smile Simi revolves around Simi and her family. Simi experiences frequent mood swings and bouts of depression and sadness, which worry her father, but are dismissed as teenage tantrums by the mother. It is only after something terrible happens that Simi’s mental health issues are recognized, and steps taken to rectify them.
Mental health issues have been identified as a growing problem. Though mental health problems can affect anyone, teenagers and children are especially susceptible to them in today’s age of smartphones. Experts have warned of mental health risks rising because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Incidentally, it was the pandemic that drew Ms. Malathi Rai’s attention to mental health.
“My daughter is a budding psychologist, and dinner table conversations during the pandemic inevitably revolved around mental health. The discussions made me aware about how serious the situation is, and it was then that I came up the idea of a short film on mental health awareness. Smile Simi is an attempt to portray the impact mental health issues can have not just on the affected individuals, but entire families,” said Ms. Rai, who has been involved with various developmental initiatives in rural Maharashtra for over eight years, and has even adopted five villages.
Conceptualised by Ms. Rai, Smile Simi has been directed by Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner Kabir Thapar. The short movie features popular actors Sanjay Gurbaxani, Neeta Mohindra, Saadhika Syal and Namrata Kapoor. The film has had nearly 20,000 views in just three weeks, and has been very well-received.
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