‘Bollywood films tell only half the story’

Docs say films should portray facts accurately and not dramatise serious medical conditions such as quadriplegia and progeria.

bollywood Updated: Nov 23, 2010 15:45 IST
Shweta Mehta
Shweta Mehta
Hindustan Times

After dyslexia in

Taare Zameen Par

and progeria in


, Hrithik Roshan’s portrayal of a quadriplegic in


is the latest instance of Bollywood bringing little known medical conditions to the fore. But have facts been portrayed accurately?

“If you are a lay person, you need to be given the right information. Bollywood movies tend to say only half the story,” says Dr Sanjay Mongia, neurologist and surgeon, Lilavati Hospital. “American sitcoms portray emergency rooms very well. Closer home, they are usually left on the backburner.”

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His view is shared by Dr Nirmal Surya, senior neurophysician at Bombay Hospital. “These movies help in increasing awareness. But they are not meant purely for entertainment,” he says. “They dramatise it so much that the portrayal becomes unrealistic” Surya elaborates, “I haven’t seen


so I can’t comment on how well quadriplegia has been portrayed. Progeria too, is a very rare condition, so there’s no point discussing it.

Taare Zameen Par

helped immensely in creating awareness about dyslexia, but do you think all dyslexic patients come out shining like the protagonist did in this movie?”

But Dr. B D Athni, director, AIIPMR disagrees. “Not all cases may meet happy endings, but this movie gave great hope to the public.”


has also reopened the age-old debate on euthanasia. However, unlike what the film shows, doctors are firmly against the practice. “In my experience, even patients in very bad condition haven’t asked for it. With so many medical advances, you can never rule out hope,” says Surya. Mongia, too, is of the same view. “None of my patients have requested euthanasia. If they are given the right information, I don’t think they would even consider it.”

First Published: Nov 23, 2010 13:56 IST