As a teenager, I struggled with anorexia for a little over 2 years. And for a long time, I hesitated in talking about it because nobody ever addresses it in India, I was just getting skinny – why would people discourage me from that? However, I saw a glimmer of hope in this scene from Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui.
In a short 2-minute scene, Ayushmann Khurrana’s character, Manu explains to Maanvi why he loves working out. And for someone who has struggled with her appearance for ages, it really hit home.
Manu talks about how he went from not eating to eating too much after the loss of his mother, and he struggled from depression. He was bullied for his appearance and so he saw no other way than to take control of his body completely, which includes nitpicking everything that goes into it.
From excessively working out, to obsessively knowing how many calories everything he eats has, Manu’s character throughout the film is more than just a ‘gym freak’.
And though the film wasn’t really his story, but about Maanvi’s gender identity. That small spotlight being shed on the thought process and emotional vulnerability of someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, is not lost.
He compares working out to a drug, and uses it as a coping mechanism for everything else in his life that he couldn’t control. For this small step that Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui took, by talking about a disorder that just deems most teenagers ‘fussy’ or ‘a picky eater’, I will always be grateful.