Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui's recent comments on depression have ignited a heated debate on social media. The Manto actor stood by his statement when questioned about it again, claiming that mental health and depression are purely 'urban concepts'.
In an interview with NDTV, Siddiqui defended his perspective, saying, "I was just narrating my experience. It's possible I'm wrong. But even today, if I were to go to my village, which is just three hours away, and say that I have depression, I'd get slapped. They'd tell me to eat properly and go to the fields."
He further expressed, "It doesn't exist. Nobody knows about it, nobody has depression in villages. It's a fact, go check." He went on to criticize the tendency in cities to magnify minor problems, questioning why those who face genuine hardships, such as dancing on footpaths in the rain, don't experience depression.
Needless to say, his ill-researched comments made several rounds on social media and prompted users to call the actor out on his lack of awareness of mental health struggles.
Actor Gulshan Devaiah responded to the now-viral clip, disagreeing with Nawazuddin and putting forth his two cents.
Siddiqui's initial remarks on depression were made during an interview with Mashable India, where he reflected on his upbringing and stated, "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 (No one gets depression in villages, everyone is happy there). But I learned about anxiety, depression, bipolar after coming to the city."
Other netizens have also disagreed to the actor's claims that mental health issues 'do not exist' and have, instead posited how this belief itself is born out of a profound lack of awareness.
A Twitter user wrote, "It is true that the language of mental health has not reached to rural people and certain classes even in urban India. A lot of people suffer in silence in both spaces."
While another responded, "Social fabric is better in villages. People take care of each other. Therefore the people in villages have better mental health but still it's not wise to say no case of depression is reported among them".
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