The widely-acclaimed Marathi film, Kaasav (2016), which centres around a distressed Maanav, who despite being hospitalised for slitting his wrists, runs away from the care and is found collapsed on the roadside by Janaki, a psychologist, was recently screened at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi, as part of the Indian Express Film Club, where film enthusiasts from across the city came together to engage with cinema.
The screening was followed by a discussion moderated by The Indian Express’s film critic Shubhra Gupta. Directed by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar, the film deals with depression, taking the viewer through the world of Maanav, but steers clear of offering platitudinous solutions. “Lots of people may call the young man deeply entitled because he is educated, has money, and comes from a so-called ‘good family’. But we react to challenges in ways that other people don’t understand. Sometimes, our friends and family are so close to us that they can’t hear us,” said Gupta before opening the floor for discussion.
While many from the audience praised the “sensitivity” of the makers while dealing with a subject that is yet to find acceptance among many, and remains deeply stigmatised, some audience members opened up about their own struggle with depression.
Despite its big win at the 64th National Award and the Golden Lotus Award, Kaasav struggled to find distributors initially. However, the film has had a successful run in the festival circuit, with official selections at MAMI (October 2016), Kolkata (November 2016), Thiruvananthapuram (December 2016), Bengaluru (January 2017) and the New York Indian film festival (April 2017).