Documentary on Schizophrenia, a Laudable Effort

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Filmmaker M. Nehru’s, 35, documentary on schizophrenia victims in Tamil Nadu showcases not just their plight but also casts light on his commitment as he spent three years interacting with them and their families for the project. The 36-minute documentary titled Theruvil Irakkum Kudhiraigal (Dying Street Horses) talks about the lack of awareness among the public, superstitions about mental illness and ill-treatment of victims.

“Many believe that marriage would save the mentally-disturbed patient from the illness. There are also cases where the families, tired of visiting the local temples for ‘treatment’, lock the affected person inside a room for life,” he says. The brother of Nehru’s close friend was affected with schizophrenia and that influenced him to take up this non-commercial project.

Nehru says it’s not just the person who is on the road in rags and eating poor quality food who is schizophrenic. “There are victims who dress well, look good and even question you,” he said. “I interviewed a schizophrenia patient who thinks he is the President of India. He signs documents, visits the nearby government office and asks for his salary. He picks up fat law books and pores over them,” he said.

Another patient, who might have been physically abused by her husband, asked Nehru to inform Jackie John about her problem so he would rescue her. “I spent at least a fortnight with the victims before shooting them. I made friends with them and then interviewed them. Some of them beat me, slapped and even spit on me. I let them take their time to talk to me,” he said.

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Posted on March 13, 2012, in Media, Medical and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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