Today, we talk about a Bollywood film that lived up to its title but for all the wrong reasons. Atrangi Re on Disney+ Hotstar starring Akshay Kumar, Sara Ali Khan and Dhanush had dreamed big but fell flat on its face.
It’s indeed atrangi to watch a film get love, mental health, regional languages and a slew of other things wrong, all at once.
1. When Rinku offered us a toxic definition of love.
When Vishu shares his sweet love story, Rinku immediately dismisses it claiming that it can’t be a love marriage if there’s no violence involved. No Rinku, love with violence is called a toxic love story. You missed the point and simultaneously stereotyped Bihar too.
2. When mental health was reduced to mockery.
Vishu’s friend who claims to be a psychiatrist turns Rinku’s mental illness into a subject of mockery by saying that she belongs to a museum in France and is instead roaming free on the streets of Delhi. Later, he also labels her condition as ‘pagalpan’.
3. When Rinku’s treatment was started without her consent.
Rinku’s mental illness treatment begins without her consent or even a formal clinical interview, under the guise of a new ailment in town called COVID ka bhai David. She mindlessly pops pills for three months, at least. This scene also blatantly trivializes an ongoing pandemic for laughs which couldn’t sit well with us.
4. When they wrongully portray how medicines for mental health issues work.
The way the medicine’s instant effect is depicted in this film wouldn’t even convince kids. Pills, on the whole, take a long time to work. Anybody who has received primary education would be well aware. It’s a medicine, not magic.
5. When Rinku normalised self-harm and domestic violence.
Rinku boasts that she is unafraid of kicks and punches since she has a Ph.D. in being beaten up because she grew up with her abusive grand mother. The film tries to explain how that conduct contributed to her mental health issues but never delved into it with the sensitivity and nuance it requires.
6. When a psychiatrist poked fun at his own patients.
Vishu’s friend-cum-psychatrist makes a shocking and humiliating remark that all of his OCD, Alzheimer’s, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia patients can see Sajjad (Akshay Kumar), who is the source of Rinku’s perceptual and cognitive abnormalities.
7. When Tamil was yet again belittled.
When Dhanush’s character voiced his feelings to Rinku in Tamil, he was shut down by her as she assumed he was cursing her. He was often prompted to clarify himself saying ‘Gali nahi de raha hu, Tamil mein bol raha hu!’
8. When troubling behaviour was enabled instead of taking professional help.
A bunch of to-be-doctors paid people to cheer for an event, ‘carried’ Sajjad to the hospital for treatment, and Vishu even slammed beer bottles on his head to prove a point. Many unnecessary behaviours were enabled, instead of taking professional assistance to help a person in need.
Love and marriage mysteriously curing mental illness is not even the last thing we’d want to see in Bollywood. No kidding.