Atrangi Re writer Himanshu Sharma addresses flak, says films should entertain: ‘Not a 500-word essay on mental illness’

Atrangi Re writer Himanshu Sharma addressed criticism that the film makes light of mental health issues and said that he was not making a ‘documentary’. He added that they needed to ensure that the film was entertaining.

In Atrangi Re, Sara Ali Khan’s character Rinku Sooryavanshi is unable to process the trauma of having witnessed her parents’ honour killing as a child. As a result, she experiences vivid hallucinations as an adult and it is later revealed that her boyfriend Sajjad Ali Khan (Akshay Kumar) is a figment of her imagination.

Talking to India Today, Himanshu said, “It (mental health) is not the only thing that we thought of. There are many other things like love – a debate between perfection and imperfection, the totality of love, what is love. The kind of conflict that happens with what we expect in our partners vis-a-vis what real people are. We expect them to be the finest of the people, with the topmost quality, but real people are flawed. So there were multiple things that the film was trying to say.”

“In the end, it’s a film and not a documentary. It is not a 500-word essay on mental illness, it is a film, it needs to entertain you. When we write a film, it has to manoeuvre its way to many of the issues that I spoke about, and at times certain things take a backseat, and other times it takes a forefront. Yes, the mental health issue is there but to me as a writer and for Aanand (L Rai) as a director, it was more of a sugar coating to say larger things. See the film for what it is and not for what you wanted. A large number of people saw that, they knew what the film was talking about and that is why we have got so much love,” he added.

Also read: Akshay Kumar repeats ‘B category ke C class log’ line in Atrangi Re. Here’s when he said it before

Atrangi Re, starring Akshay, Sara and Dhanush in the lead roles, is directed by Aanand L Rai. The film released to mixed reviews on Disney+ Hotstar.

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