PeepingMoon Exclusive: If my opinion on Nawazuddin Siddiqui's statement can be common ground for mental health discussion, I'm glad I reacted- Gulshan Devaiah

Gulshan Devaiah sparked a much-needed conversation on mental health and its importance. He reacted to Nawazuddin Siddiqui's recent interview in which he called depression an 'urban concept'. It led to polarised responses across social media. Gulshan termed it 'Dritharashtra and Gandhari syndrome' and criticised Nawazuddin's take on mental health. 

In an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon, Gulshan spoke about his reaction to Nawazuddin's statement. He told, "I'm glad people are discussing mental health issues even if they're wrong. In my opinion, Nawaz bhai had the wrong opinion and even he agreed that probably he's wrong about it. I don't care whether people's opinions are right or wrong as long as they're able to discuss, simplify and break through the clutter and make it accessible for people. The problem is it is not accessible."

He further added, "Even I don't have much knowledge about it as I am not a mental health expert. But if we can initiate a conversation to get people talking to each other and help them find common ground, it will be great. If my opinion on what he said can be common ground for people, then I am glad I did react. It wasn't to show him wrong or cut him down but it may have come out like that and I am sorry if it was perceived in that light. I thought he was wrong in his opinion and I should get the discussion going and that happened."

Nawazuddin said in the interview during the promotions of Jogira Sara Ra Ra, "I come from a place where, if I would tell my father that I am feeling depressed, he would give me one tight slap. Depression waha nahi tha, kisi ko bhi nahi hota waha depression, sab khush hai. But I learnt about anxiety, depression, bipolar after coming to the city. Ye shehro mein aake hoti hai, yaha pe har aadmi apne chhote emotions ko bhi bohot glorify karta hai. If you ask a labourer, or someone who is sleeping on the footpath, then what is depression? When it rains, they dance even then, usko gh***a depression nahi pata hota. Jab aapke paas paise aa jate hai toh iss tareeke ki beemariya aati jaati hain."

Gulshan reacted on Twitter and wrote, "Dritharashtra & Gandhari syndrome. I immensely respect the man for his craft but I’d not take him seriously on this issue. If you even just look at alcoholism or addictions, they exist in rural communities and that’s mental illness. No addict indulges in addiction because they love it. The addiction is a symptom, the real problem is the trauma they can’t heal."