TALKING FILMS

Kangana Ranaut’s ‘Simran’ vs Apurva Asrani’s ‘Simran’: How different are they?

If you haven’t watched Hansal Mehta’s movie, this analysis is not for you.

Caution: Spoilers ahead about the movie Simran.

Simran screenwriter Apurva Asrani has shared the screenplay of the film originally written by him before the shooting draft saw significant changes effected by its lead actor, Kangana Ranaut. Months before the film’s release, Asrani and Ranaut were involved in a public tussle over the actual authorship of the screenplay.

Asrani claimed that Ranaut was undeserving of the ‘Additional screenplay and dialogue’ credit, and that she hijacked the script from him. Ranaut claimed that Asrani’s script did not match her vision, which is why she had to step in.

Simran was released on September 15. Asrani shared the screenplay originally written by him on September 19 and invited all to compare it with the final film.

The 131-page script shared by Asrani shares numerous similarities with Hansal Mehta’s final film. Vast sections have made it to the final film, in addition to parts added on that highlight the character of Praful Patel (Ranaut), the hotel cleaner who becomes a bank robber to pay off gambling debts.

Praful’s relationship with her parents

Patel has more scenes with her parents in Asrani’s script than in the final movie. In Simran, Praful’s mother is seen to be a caring but submissive parent. In the script, she is portrayed as Praful’s best friend who often reaches out to her after an altercation with her father. Praful’s grievances against her father are fleshed out in Asrani’s script – that he was absent from her life for the most part, and married her off when she was 22. In the movie, the character shading is superficial. Even in the film’s final moments, as Praful is about to get caught, she has a far more emotional conversation with her parents over the phone in Asrani’s script than she does in the film.

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Simran.

Praful’s Las Vegas experienece

In Asrani’s script, Praful lands in Las Vegas for her friend Amber’s bachelorette party and quickly becomes addicted to gambling, just as it happens in the film. However, in the movie, Praful flirts with a man she finds at the casino. Her initial attempts to get close are awkward as she uses pick-up lines such as, “You must be tired because you are running in my mind.” The meeting and all that follows are not part of Asrani’s script.

The sequence also includes two additions: a friendly bartender and a moment between Praful and a Las Vegas shopkeeper.

Praful and Mike Mehndi

In both Asrani’s script and the final film, it is established that Praful has had a sexual relationship with her boss Mike Mehndi (Rupinder Nagra). In the film, there are two additional scenes of Praful embarrassing Mehndi as the latter tries to get too close and bossy.

In the final analysis, Simran gives Praful more scenes and lines to help her come off as a likable and sympathetic character, while Asrani’s script paints a sorry picture of her.

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Single Rehne De, Simran.
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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

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As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.