Shoojit Sircar’s Comment on Joint Families Stirs Up Twitter Storm

Sircar’s ‘umbrella statement’ on the ‘family umbrella’ did not go down well with netizens.

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Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar’s ‘umbrella statement’ on the ‘family umbrella’ has stirred up a storm on Twitter.
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Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar’s ‘umbrella statement’ on the ‘family umbrella’ has stirred up a storm on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Sircar tweeted saying that “we must move back to our old way of living like joint families” because it may be the only solution to curb mental insecurities, loneliness, and depression. “Family umbrella secures our Mind,” Sircar wrote.

Sircar’s tweet led to a divided house among netizens, but most people pointed out the filmmaker’s misplaced assumptions about gender dynamics in joint families and mental health.

‘Only a Man Could Ever Say This’: Netizens Lash Out at Sircar

Many on Twitter lashed out at Sircar for his ‘uninformed’ opinion on the gendered division of labour in joint families.

For those who haven’t given a thought to the gender dynamics that operate within the family — which, in many ways, is the microcosm of a patriarchal society — here’s some explanation:

Clearly, Sircar, in his generalised view, overlooked this aspect of living in joint families.

‘Joint Family System is Not a Magic Cure,’ Say Netizens

Sircar also presented some misplaced assumptions about mental health in his tweet, according to netizens. Many on Twitter recounted their own experience of living in joint families or knowing people who do.

“Please sit in my clinic for a day and listen to the oppression and emotional turmoil a lot of women suffer due to this ‘family umbrella’,” wrote Parul Tank, a consultant psychiatrist and therapist.

Should Sircar Be Given the Benefit of Doubt?

On Thursday, Sircar posted a follow-up comment after significant social media backlash, saying that he was arguing for a more “progressive like minded family... standing by each other... or a community (sic).”

One cannot deny that when one is suffering from mental illnesses, family support is often crucial, as a Twitter user pointed out.

However, Sircar’s initial argument was based on the assumption that all families offer a conducive and supportive environment.

Another netizen pointed out that “what works for one, might not work for another” and Sircar’s generalised statement might “hamper the already weak mental health awareness.”

However, should Sircar, considering that his first tweet was prefaced with the words “All may not agree”, be given the benefit of doubt?

Was his comment no more than an ‘unpopular opinion’, a thought-turned-tweet that simply merited more reflection before reaching the interwebs?

The jury is still out on that!

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