Melbourne, Oct 22 (PTI) A host of Indian film directors and actors on Thursday virtually joined a panel discussion to share their life experiences in a bid to advocate about mental health.
The discussion was a precursor event to the 11th edition of Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), which will be held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival, which runs from October 23 to 30, will screen 60 movies in 17 languages during its run.
During the event, IFFM announced its partnership with the Mental Health Foundation Australia for its 2020 edition.
Actors Rituparna Sengupta and Anushman Jha, filmmakers Vedanti Dani, Tushar Tyagi, Aneek Chaudhuri, Tarana and Drishya, and IFFM director Mitu Bhowmick Lange participated in the virtual panel discussion.
Vasan Srinivasan, chairperson of Mental Health Foundation Australia, said, "The event will raise awareness about mental health and wellbeing among filmmakers, scriptwriters, film consumers, producers, directors and hold a discussion on the status of support services available to them."
Lange said the festival this year would run completely virtual with range of films including some on serious and sensitive topics including mental health and LGBTQ.
Filmmaker Tushar Tyagi, whose film "Saving Chintu" will be screened at the festival, said the topic was important to him as he has dealt with it in his life.
''''I was actually 19 when it all started and I didn''t even know I was having a mental health issue... I remember feeling not wanting to live anymore while dealing with this severe back pain when I was studying films in the US," he said.
Tyagi said he was later diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and took medications to overcome it.
Jha asserted that discussions on mental health are "need of the hour" as they affect everyone.
"My understanding is mental health is attributed to mental disorders which is a disservice as mental health is an integral part of our daily life... Films are critical medium to share the positivity and accepting people who are struggling," Jha added.
Sengupta said mental health disorders like autism, which is quite prevalent among children, should also be given importance.
The actor revealed that she noticed the issue in real time after seeing her sister going through phases of stress while dealing with an autistic child.
IFFM will kickstart on Friday with the screening of two films addressing disability and gender equality -- Vidya Balan’s "Natkhat" and Nachiket Samant’s "Habaddi".
All films will be available for viewing free of charge across Australia. The festival will raise funds for Mental Health Foundation Australia by encouraging its participants to make a voluntary donation when booking. PTI NC RB BK BK
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI