According to WHO, India has an estimated economic loss of USD 1.03 trillion between the years 2012 and 2030, and further research suggests that queer men who identify as gay and bisexual are more prone to mental health problems. Considering these reports makes it all the more important to have conversations about mental health problems.
An important move in this conversation is the short film produced by Lotus Visuals Productions led by Neeraj Churi and written and directed by Harsh Agarwal titled “Mind Mera Mind.” This film, dedicated to the Indian LGBTQ+ community, highlights the mental health issues that the gay protagonist, – Prateek, goes through.
Mind Mera Mind delivers this serious message in a relatable and casual way. The ‘Mind Mera Mind’ was written and directed by Harsh Agrawal, and it externalizes the mental health problems of its audience, aiming to raise awareness about mental health issues. The film was released on YouTube on World Mental Health Day in 2021.
Played by Raghav Sharma, Prateek is a queer man in his twenties who is dealing with psychological problems like anxiety, self-doubt, insomnia, loneliness, and depression, and making these worse is toxic masculinity! All these manifest themselves as annoying family members and friends.
The characters, Self-doubt, Anxiety Aunty, and Depression Bhaiya, are all well written and have personalities of their own. The Anxiety Aunty is the nosy and annoying next-door aunty, whereas self-doubt is the extremely critical inner voice that is constantly questioning. Depression Bhaiya is the overpowering politician, and the other minor characters like Insomnia, Toxic Masculinity, and Loneliness being around in the film was important.
These manifested personalities hover over him and almost make it impossible for him to do anything in his day. So many relatable fears come up when self-doubt and anxiety aunty prod him about his sexuality and his coming out anxiety. He does feel guilty about not being able to make his parents happy like his straight older brother. He is also concerned about his looks and afraid of not having a good career.
A critical character in “Mind Mera Mind” is Prateek’s friend, Vijay, who he reaches out to Prateek. He gives Prateek an outside perspective and also talks about his own experience of how he dealt with anxiety and toxic masculinity. He also insists that taking care of one’s own mental health is as important as physical health, and posts that Prateek finally seeks therapy.
Some of these anxieties and worries are similar to those many young people face, but it does get complicated for queer people. The dialogue and staging were carefully done in a way to deliver the message and not in any way to trigger the triggered individuals with these issues.
This short film is produced by ‘Lotus Visual Productions’ which in the past has been a part of many adorable and well-done LGBTQ stories, including ‘U Ushacha’, ‘Sheer Qorma’, and ‘Evening Shadows.’ The writer and director, Harsh Agarwal, who had his first book published when he was 19, is an artist, an entrepreneur, and an engineer. In 2020, he was also the first runner-up for Mr. Gay India.