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Simran writer Apurva Asrani reveals he has Bell’s Palsy, shares lengthy post and pictures

Writer Apurva Asrani, known for his collaborations with director Hansal Mehta, with whom he had a falling out after accusing Kangana Ranaut of hijacking his script in Simran, has revealed he is suffering from Bell’s Palsy.

bollywood Updated: Mar 06, 2018 11:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Apurva Asrani,Bell’s Palsy,Hansal Mehta
Apurva Asrani says that he is making daily progress.

Apurva Asrani, who until recently was the writer of choice for filmmaker Hansal Mehta, revealed on Facebook that he has been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a condition that leaves the face partially paralysed. The Simran and Aligarh writer penned a long post in which he recounted his fear when he woke up ‘two months ago’ and couldn’t feel movement in his face. He also shared several images along with the post.

Asrani wrote that he initially feared that he had had a stroke, but an MRI ruled that out. He believes the next couple of months will be crucial in his recovery. “Every day there is a little progress,” he wrote.

The writer was involved in a much-publicised spat with Hansal Mehta and star Kangana Ranaut, whom he accused of having taken over his screenplay for the recent film, Simran, and having had his credit removed.

Several allegations were made from either side, and Asrani even made public private email exchanges between the parties. He vowed never to collaborate with Mehta again, and called him weak for having surrendered his authority to Kangana. It was rumoured that Mehta had abandoned the film after Kangana made moves to hijack the production. They have both denied these allegations.

Recently, Angelina Jolie also revealed that she had been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy following her split from Brad Pitt. According to the New York Times, “Bell’s palsy is a temporary partial facial paralysis that occurs when the nerve controlling the facial muscles is inflamed.”

You can read Asrani’s entire message here:

Almost two months ago, I woke up with the right side of my pace completely paralysed. Fearing a stroke, I was rushed to the hospital, and after an MRI ruled that out, my condition was diagnosed as Bells Palsy—where the facial nerve is inflamed, causing loss of muscle movement.

What causes this is still a mystery, but they gather that it could be a viral infection. Stress is a major factor and god knows I had more than my share of that in 2017.

This condition is reversible, but it could take weeks, months or even years in some cases. Mine was accompanied by severe vertigo, and I couldn’t stand without falling over.

After taking antivirals, steroids and doing weeks of physiotherapy and acupuncture, there was still no thaw. One senior neurologist told me to be prepared that if there was nerve damage, I might never recover from this.

Fortunately after a harrowing month, the face finally began to thaw. Everyday there is a little progress, tiny little twitches that promise to grow into something more significant tomorrow. And I wait patiently.

I am certain that in the next few months, there will be significant improvement. But I have to confess that the fear has been indescribable. I have been unable to smile. To shut the right eye. To walk without falling, to eat or even drink water without spillage.

When I walked in the street and people looked at me, there wasn’t the warmth that I was used to. My face drooped to one side, one eye wide and unblinking, and my mouth twisted. I realised how blessed I had been to be able to smile, (it really can do wonders for you.)

And I learned so much about my ‘life’ on social media too. Every time someone saw my carefully shot picture, where I withheld the extent of my condition, they’d say ‘why aren’t you smiling? or ‘what’s that weird angle’? or ‘how strange your eye looks’?’ Many would go on about how not smiling doesn’t suit me, and I felt as though I was expected to oblige an ‘audience’ by baring my teeth.

And isn’t that the very problem with how we use social media today? We put our best face forward, post a pic that took ten rejected shots to make. Filters that took several minutes to tune. Then you see these pictures and think, so and so looks so good—all the time!

We big ourselves up, showing off our talents, our achievements, our rewards. ‘I got promoted’, ‘I bought this car’, ‘I went on that holiday’. You see these posts and think so and so is doing so well—all the time.

And there’s nothing wrong with posting the good stuff, the problem is that nobody’s sharing the shit stuff. The stuff that’s making us fall apart. The bad face days, the lost jobs. The loneliness. The fears. The failures. The ugliness.

Aren’t we all those things too?

And I wonder, if we were a society that didn’t set such high standards, wouldn’t life just be easier for everyone?

My heart goes out to actors and actresses, who project a perfect life, but are crumbling on the inside—unable to show anyone the cracks. We see them happy, performing for us, laughing, dancing for us, and one day when they drop dead, we wonder how this could have happened so suddenly.

Well it didn’t. It happened over years, while we were applauding their dancing, their spirit, their joys and encouraging them to smile for us.

(Posted a few pics from various stages of the illness)

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First Published: Mar 06, 2018 11:33 IST