Arjun Ramphal and Manav Kaul in a still from Nail Polish.
Arjun Ramphal and Manav Kaul in a still from Nail Polish.

Makers delve into personality disorders on OTT while maintaining balance between science and fiction

Makers delve into personality disorders on OTT, keeping a fine balance between science and fiction, not reinforcing myths and aggravating stigma through their stories
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:27 PM IST

Makers delve into personality disorders on OTT, keeping a fine balance between science and fiction, not reinforcing myths and aggravating stigma through their stories.

With the boom of OTT, a variety of subjects have found their way to the digital platform. One of them is delving into the human mind. Some makers have focused on different personality disorders as the central theme of their stories and narratives. In the recent film, Nail Polish, Manav Kaul plays a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder while in the web series, Breathe: Into The Shadows (BITS), we saw Abhishek Bachchan portraying a character who suffers from multiple personality disorder.

Not only does the subject need sensitive handling but it is a challenging task too, says Mayank Sharma, director of BITS. “One has to be extremely sensitive and responsible when it comes to narrating a story or creating a character who is going through mental disorder. As a director, I was determined to stay as true as possible and dive deep into finding the nuances of such character,” he says, adding, he not only did extensive research but also had three psychiatrists in the research team, from the writing stage to discuss every detail of the story. “We received appreciation for the way we had created the character, staying true to all the nuances while displaying the right complexities of a person going through dissociative identity disorder from audiences and psychiatrists from around the world. Any subject, if researched well and executed with authenticity, it finds acceptance with the audience,” he states.

Renowned psychiatrist, Dr Harish Shetty feels makers should maintain a balance between science and fiction and not reinforce myths and aggravate stigma through their stories. “Art has a license one where the frames can exaggerate to nail the issue. Freedom of expression is a right but one has to draw a line! In a context, where myths and misgivings rule at the altar of science one needs to be very careful not to reinforce false beliefs and stigma against mental illness. Multiple Personality disorder is more an archival diagnosis and not seen in real life. The liberty to weave a tale is a right and disclaimers towards the end may give the right balance,” he suggests.

Kaul admits he walked a tightrope while playing the two characters in Nail Polish. He made each as realistic as possible without any physical crutches. He says, “I am glad people loved the complexity of the story. I wasn’t dressed as a woman but I believed that I was one, while acting the scenes. It was a tough role and I have never done anything so difficult. I did everything I felt in the moment and didn’t resist or it would have looked fake. We were sensitive about the portrayal of the role and it could have gone wrong which I was prepared for. But people loved the character, Charu Raina. I have got letters for her, which shows they connected to her. That’s the beauty of OTT that one can do movies and roles such as these, that also taps into audiences who crave for experimental stories.”

Interact with author on Twitter/@iamkav

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