Movie Screening: Into The Abyss
By Rashi Sinha
There is hardly a term in current psychological thought as vague, elusive and ambiguous as the term “mental health”. And after four days of looking into its various aspects through different events, we were here in Room No. 26 which had been transformed into a mini theater for the concluding event of the Mental Health Awareness Week, 2012.
This event was the screening of a short documentary film ‘Into the Abyss’. Also to discuss more about the movie were two guests- Dr. Srividya Rajaram, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist with 8 years of work experience and Ms. Vandana Kohli, esteemed alumna of our college and acclaimed filmmaker, musician and photographer and also the director of the movie.
‘Into the Abyss’ is a film on major depression which traces the agony of the young protagonist, Nitin, who is in the clutches of this disorder. The movie depicts his daily life – the perpetual tension and the restlessness even when he’s driving a car or having a lunch alone, the physical energy that has drained from his body making him unable to do work at his office and how he has resigned to seclusion from his family and friends at home. Expert voices of Dr. Sanjay Chugh, a senior consultant neuro-psychiatrist and Dr. Sudhir Khandelwal are also interwoven with the scenes of his life, explaining the symptoms and strategies for battling depression. The movie ends on a positive note, where after months of counseling, Nitin is finally able to drive his car without gloom around his halo.
The movie tries to raise awareness about the sensitive disorder especially among the urban Indian youth and the compassion and understanding required to deal with it. The powerful imagery of a whistling cooker, a lab rat caught in a cage, or the fast movement of everyday objects convey the degree of pressure that a person feels. It creates a sympathetic understanding of the complexity and engages the viewer to reflect on the subject. No wonder this movie won the RAPA Award for Best Direction (Non Fiction).
In the interesting discussion that followed the movie , Dr. Rajaram talked about how depression is prevalent among women and the causal role biological, genetic and socio-cultural factors play. But in case of Indian women, she only had three important factors for depression: work- related pressure, taking prolonged care of the elderly or the children or a long dysfunctional marriage.
Ms. Kohli pointed out how we are reduced to play roles and not live a life. The negativity generated in women is always directed towards the inside first. This grows and takes the form of depression after a long time. She emphasized that we should not dwell onto past events , but should keep moving on in life like the feminine river that nourishes, but rots when she stagnates.
Yes, we know the facts. One in three people all over the world will suffer from depression at some point in life. Over 70% of the people do not avail psychological help. But the scenes of the movie were more like scenes from our lives or of people around us. The discussion was more of a hard realization. Someone we may know might be under a depressive attack and this thought exhorts close friends and relatives to be vigilant to the needs of those may be afflicted with depression.