Indian movies depicting dementia

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Movies can be a very effective way to understand something new or to reinforce or counter stereotypes. They can also spread misinformation. Till a decade or so ago, dementia was rarely depicted in Indian movies, so the few available movies were a significant source of their understanding of the medical aspects of dementia, its symptoms, treatment, and impact on the person and family. But now many Indian movies with seniors include a mention of dementia, though the quality and reliability of dementia depiction has suffered and is less-researched.

This page provides brief overview of movies in various Indian languages where dementia is depicted. The movies are broadly categorised based on the extent and type of dementia depiction. The discussion can help readers understand how comprehensive and reliable the movie’s depiction of dementia and care is. It can also help families know what others may assume about dementia after seeing a particular movie. The reviews and comments below contain spoilers.

Movies with major dementia-related depiction.

Astu (Marathi) अस्तु!

अस्तु! (Astu – So Be It) (Marathi): This 2013 movie is about a Sanskrit scholar who has dementia and wanders off. Starring includes Dr. Mohan Agashe , Iravati Harshe , Milind Soman , Amruta Subash, and others. Dr. Mohan Agashe, the actor who plays the scholar with dementia, is a psychiatrist and a veteran, respected Marathi actor. The movie starts with the wandering episode and combines flashbacks as well as scenes from the present to portray the scholar in his days before dementia and as his dementia grows. Early symptoms, the suspicion of something being wrong, the diagnosis, the growing symptoms are all shown along with the adjustments and problems faced by his daughter and her family because of the situation. The wandering scholar is attracted to an elephant, and tags along with the mahout and his daughter. As he does not give his name or address, they take him with them, and treat him with affection and respect, viewing him as a holy man who has become childlike. The police finally manage to locate him and reunite him with his daughter and family. Characterization is very well done, and the acting is excellent. The movie has received very good reviews from critics and been appreciated by advocates and volunteers in the domain of dementia and ageing. Trailer: ASTU “SO BE IT” Opens in new window. Also, Facebook page of AstuOpens in new window and Wikipedia page Opens in new window.

Usefulness/ reliability note: The film provides a good depiction of the growing disorientation and memory problems of the scholar, and its impact on the family and the decisions they take. The movie’s weaving of the past and present gives a balanced picture, letting viewers see the man before dementia and the changes caused by dementia, making it clear that dementia is a medical condition. However, the scholar is a mild-mannered man, and even with the dementia symptoms growing, apart from a few minor incidents, he does not show the severe behavior changes like anger, hostility, violence, severe delusions, accusations, etc. So one caution: this movie’s depiction should not lead viewers to assume that everyone with dementia will remain mild and affectionate all through. The movie does not give any insight about the more advanced stages of dementia.

How to watch: The movie can be seen on Amazon Prime Video in some countries. Some special screenings for dementia awareness have also been arranged by requesting the producers/ directors.

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Godhi Banna Sadharane Mykattu (Kannada)ಗೋಧಿ ಬಣ್ಣ ಸಾಧಾರಣ ಮೈಕಟ್ಟು (Has Tamil version also).

ಗೋಧಿ ಬಣ್ಣ ಸಾಧಾರಣ ಮೈಕಟ್ಟು (Godhi Banna Sadharane Mykattu) (Kannada) , a 2016 movie starring Anant Nag is a critically acclaimed, award-winning movie. Venkob Rao (Anant Nag) has Alzheimer’s and lives in an old age home because his son is in another city. One day, because of his son’s mistake, he goes missing. Anant Nag gets embroiled in a crime, and ends up living with a family that the gangster is holding up. His words and actions affect people around him. In a parallel thread, his son and the doctor from the old age home, keep looking for him, and we see the other, younger side of Venkob Rao and how he lived his life and cared for persons around him. Anant Nag’s acting is excellent, the diagnosis and other information given about dementia is reliable, and the movie also shows how interactions with persons with dementia can be enriching and valuable to everyone. Characterization is very well done. Wikipedia page: Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu Opens in new window.

A Tamil remake of the film, 60 Vayadu Maaniram (60 வயது மாநிறம்) (also called Arubathu Vayadu Maaniram, was released in August 2018. Prakash Raj plays the role of the person with dementia in this. See Wikipedia page here Opens in new window and movie trailer here Opens in new window.

Usefulness/ reliability note: The film provides a good depiction of the confusion of dementia and of a situation when young, busy children have to decide how to balance valuing their relationship and care work, as against career ambitions. The movie’s weaving of the past and present of the character serves well to emphasize the personhood of the person with dementia. The movie provides an impressive depiction of how a mild-mannered but very disoriented person with dementia can enrich lives of people around him, and be accepted and loved even by strangers. A caution, though: all this is shown with respect to a character who is by nature mild and affectionate and does not show aggression, hostility, or other extreme negative behaviors. This should not be extended to assume that everyone with dementia will remain mild and affectionate all through.

How to watch: The DVD of the movie is available (like Amazon.in Opens in new window). Or view it on Hotstar.

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Mai (Hindi) माई (2013).

माई (Mai) (Hindi), 2013, is a family drama where Asha Bhosle plays a mother with Alzheimer’s Disease, and Padmini Kolhapure is one of her daughters. The film revolves around family conflicts and drama around which sibling should look after the mother, and Mai’s behavior/ deterioration. The movie covers a range of changed behavior typically seen in someone with AD, such as wandering, confusion, accusing the maid of theft, and also shows typical family reactions. The medical angle is well done and fairly complete; we see the doctor asking her questions to diagnose, and also telling the daughter what to expect. There are a few short-cuts, of course, but then this is a movie. The family drama element is around sibling conflict and resentment about care, and also resentment of the son-in-law and granddaughter resisting Mai’s presence. Sideline issues about negligence are also present. Mai’s deterioration is very rapid, however, not giving viewers or the family time to adjust to the situation, and not allowing many disease-related angles to develop. While the film does a fair job of depicting dementia challenges, the family approach shown leaves the impression that nothing else could have been done. The family’s approach lacks any attempt to communicate or resolve issues, prevent crises and problems, etc. Relevant links: Wikipedia page on MaiOpens in new window, a review on swapnawrites.wordpress.com Opens in new window.

Usefulness/ reliability note: The film provides a useful depiction of the types of behavior challenges and family situations and conflicts that some families may face. However, for someone trying to understand how to help someone with dementia, the film can be distressing/ misleading/ depressing, because it dramatizes the problems, and may imply that nothing could have been done for better care. The film does not provide viewers any hint or data to suggest that there are ways to improve communication, reduce conflict, and improve the quality of life.

How to watch : The DVD is available (e.g., at Amazon.in Opens in new window).

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Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Maara (Hindi) मैंने गाँधी को नहीं मारा.

मैंने गाँधी को नहीं मारा (Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara) (Hindi) is a critically acclaimed 2005 film with a social message (this “moral” becomes obvious at the end). The main character, a retired Hindi professor, Uttam Chaudhary (Anupam Kher) develops dementia and the film depicts his changed behavior and the challenges it poses to the family that struggles to cope, mainly the daughter Trisha (Urmila Matondkar). Both Kher and Matondkar depict their respective characters superbly. The movie does a tremendous job of depicting initial symptoms, a spurt in the symptoms, the problems the family faces, how the family rallies around and reaches out to him. Love and affection are depicted, as are the very tough situations created because of the delusions and challenging behavior, and the family conflicts, social problems, and problems with the daughter’s prospective marriage. The film also includes scenes that show how the family members can interact with someone delusional/ difficult to communicate with. However, the film also has a twist ending that can be misleading. Also, the diagnosis process is vaguely incomplete and uses terms like “dementia, pseudo-dementia, Alzheimer’s kind of dementia”. Relevant links: Wikipedia page on Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Maara Opens in new window, two blog entries discussing the story and the ending, including what the director says about them a detailed review on swapnawrites.wordpress.com Opens in new window, a discussion on how fiction sometimes takes some license while depicting illnesses Opens in new window. Also, for the type of dementia mentioned, see Wikipedia page on Pseudodementia Opens in new window.

The film is relatively non-committal about the diagnosis. The phrases used are “dementia, pseudo-dementia, Alzheimer’s kind of dementia” but nothing more definite is said. The diagnosis process is not shown in detail. (Pseudodementia is a term used by some doctors for situations where dementia symptoms are caused by some treatable underlying cause. The term is usually used for depressive pseudodementia, where treating the depression can remove the dementia symptoms.) .

We finally learn more about Kher’s thinking, his stress, conflict, depression, etc., and are informed about the “moral” message in a courtroom scene that ends the film (the climax). The end unfortunately leaves a misleading impression that such dramatic interventions can reverse dementia – a plot twist not based on medical evidence.

Usefulness/ reliability note: The film provides an excellent depiction to understand one possible scenario of how symptoms may appear and the sort of challenges they may present, and how care can be done. The behavior challenges, family conflicts and social problems shown give an insight into possible problems families may face. However the diagnosis aspect is left nebulous, and the movie may mislead viewers into thinking that the type of dramatic intervention shown in the movie is medically safe and effective in reversing dementia. Viewers should talk to doctors to understand what appropriate interventions can be tried out.

How to watch: DVD was earlier available at (may be back, so check again) Flipkart.com link to buy the DVD Opens in new window.

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Nombarakkoodu (Malayalam) നൊമ്പരക്കൂട്.

നൊമ്പരക്കൂട്(Nombarakkoodu) (Malyalam) : This movie (tagline “Nest of Sorrows) was released in June 2023, and is directed by Joshy Mathew. Starring includes Harshitha J Pisharody , Somu Mathew and others. Shot mostly in Kottayam, Idukki, and Kambam, this story is about estranged relationships, isolation, and the disintegration of family ties. See the page on Spicy Onion Opens in new window, Youtube: Nombarakoodu | Official Trailer | Joshy Mathew | Somu Mathew | K Mathew Joseph | Navyug FilmsOpens in new window

As the movie is not yet available on OTT and has not been reviewed by us, shared below for reference is a review obtained on June 6, 2023 from Dr CT Sudhir Kumar, a reputed psychiatrist working in dementia (review contains spoilers).

I saw Nombarakkoodu by Joshy Mathew at Asha, Kottayam. Though the terms Alzheimer’s or Dementia not mentioned, the film clearly and beautifully portrays the progression of dementia in the life of decorated retired Col. Geevarghese and how it affects his wife, friends, daughter and grand daugter all of them having their own perspective of how to help him. The first half of the film demonstrates the research the team has put into it not just by reading on and listening to about dementia, but by experiential accounts of those directly affected.

The second half takes us through the dangerous journeys many families who are looking after people with dementia go through when the Col. goes missing. Wandering is a risk these families always live with. Somu Mathew as Col. excelled in the role. Joshy Mathew and his team leaves us with the message not to forget those who forget us, and reminds our responsibility of looking after those who looked after us. Poignantly the film ends when Colonel sitting at his own home with his grand daughter asks us ‘where am I? who are you’? – the questions from our loved ones which send chills down our spine!!! A must watch film for all!!!

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Smile Please (Marathi) स्माईल प्लिज.

स्माईल प्लिज (Smile Please) (Marathi): Released in July 2019, this movie is about a young award-winning photographer Nandini (played by Mukta Barve) who develops early-onset dementia. The movie shows how she copes and how family and friends help her remain active so that she is able to do things that give her fulfillment and meaning even though she is suffering decline. The movie starts with Nandini making small mistakes that hint at mild memory problems. When there is a goof-up that shakes her up,Nandini is self-aware enough to contact a doctor friend who does a checkup and diagnoses her with early onset dementia. The doctor, who is also a friend, explains the diagnosis sensitively, and suggests taking it step-by-step and to stay positive.

Initially, Nandini begins to withdraw, but after she is encouraged to engage in the area of her passion – photography, she is able to achieve an exhibition of her own with the help of support. The environment is very supportive and the doctor regularly guides the family and Nandini regarding suitable cognitive exercises. Useful medical information is shared in a balanced way, including the incurable nature of dementia , but focus remains on the quality of life aspect. Nandini is aware of the inevitable decline and makes an effort to use various ways to manage herself as decline happens. She is open about her situation. The overall portrayal is sensitive, powerful, and positive. Wikipedia page: Smile Please (2019 film) Opens in new window. A review by ex-caregiver Nishi Pulugurtha can be seen here Opens in new window.

Usefulness/ reliability note: The film provides a very good case study of how someone whose dementia is detected early can adjust to the situation and can, with the help of family and friends, do things she enjoys and finds meaningful in spite of dementia. For those who wish to support someone in early dementia, this shows a balance between a positive approach and facing the reality of a progressive condition. The movie shows the importance of support. However, that the movie does not depict the challenging behaviours persons with dementia may show like anger, hostility, violence, severe delusions, accusations, etc. There is also no insight the more advanced stages of dementia. The supportive environment shown, is, also not (yet) typical.

How to watch: The movie can be seen on Amazon Prime Video.

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Thanmathra (Malayalam) തന്മാത്ര.

തന്മാത്ര (Thanmathra) (Malayalam) , a critically-acclaimed award-winning Malayalam film, was made in 2005. It centers around an intelligent, active and popular Govt. employee Ramesan (played by Mohan Lal). The movie shows him slip into early onset dementia. He is still in employment, and with school-going kids, when he starts facing cognitive problems. Several small problems are shown, and they keep increasing and becoming more obvious and serious. Initial symptoms are assumed to be stress, but as he deteriorates and the behavior becomes distinctly odd, people around him realize they need medical advice. The movie shows the diagnosis, and the way care begins. Mohan Lal’s acting is excellent. Depiction of his early symptoms is very detailed, but the later decline and care work is compressed and rushed through. The film is considered one of the best dementia films in India, and has been used by many doctors and dementia organizations to ensure the medical aspects were properly explained and depicted. Relevant links: Wikipedia page on Thanmatra Opens in new window, a review on swapnawrites.wordpress.com Opens in new window.

Usefulness/ reliability note: The film is useful to understand possible ways early symptoms of dementia may be present, and the diagnosis process. It gives some insight on possible financial, social, and personal impact of young-onset dementia. It assumes a predominantly understanding and supportive environment which is not typical of most of India, and does not give enough insight into typical tough, heart-breaking situations and care challenges that early-onset dementia often results in for families. Late-stage care and challenges are not covered.

How to watch: You can view the movie on Hotstar. A book with the screenplay is available on Amazon.in Opens in new window.

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Movies with significant dementia depiction but not recommended for dementia understanding (may mislead/ over-emphasize some aspect, etc.).

Movies in this section have a significant depiction of dementia and many have received good reviews. They may have sensitive acting and interesting plots. However, they are not useful to get a reliable understanding of dementia and related care etc.

Belashuru (Bengali) বেলাশুরু.

Belashuru (বেলাশুরু) (Bengali): Released in May 2022, this movie stars Soumitra Chatterjee & Swatilekha Sengupta. The movie shows an elderly couple where the lady has dementia, and the family keeps trying various things(including a trip to Dhaka and a reenactment of the couple’s marriage) to make her recognize her husband again, but accepting this may not happen. While some Alzheimer’s symptoms are realistically depicted, credulity is stretched when the lady takes extended travel, new places, large family gathering and noise, the reenacted marriage and much more without disorientation, agitation, or withdrawal. Overall, the movie is unconvincing in its portrayal of the impact of dementia or how a family gathers to help. Why the husband/ family are so hellbent to be recognized when such forgetting is normal in Alzheimer’s and why their doctor doesn’t explain better remains unclear. The Wikipedia page is here: Wikipedia page on Belashuru Opens in new window. A critical review can be seen here Opens in new window.

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Black (Hindi).

ब्लैक (Black) (Hindi): This 2005 movie is a critically-acclaimed, successful movie that stars Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherji and centers around Rani Mukherji and her multiple challenges and on Amitabh Bachchan’s role as a teacher. Bachchan develops Alzheimer’s Disease later, a plot twist to show reversal of roles where the student (Mukherji) now helps her ex-teacher(Bachchan). The movie includes some good scenes where Bachchan shows the early confusion/ disorientation. However, it does not show enough of the deterioration or problems of daily life, etc. The onset and progression of Alzheimer’s is not fleshed out. The medical situation is barely dwelt on. Bachchan is even shown chained to the bed with metal chains in a hospital, an unacceptable approach that should not be considered normal; such restraining is not acceptable and not the procedure that hospitals should follow. The movie is sometimes listed as a movie depicting “dementia”. While “Black” does give some idea of dementia, it is (for reasons given above) not recommended for understanding dementia. Relevant links: Wikipedia page: Black Opens in new window, a detailed review with respect to dementia depiction Opens in new window.

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House Owner (Tamil).

House Owner, Tamil, (released June 2019) is a story about an elderly couple stuck in a house in Chennai floods. The husband, an ex-army man, has Alzheimer’s, and is stubborn about not moving out to a safer place because he is the “house owner”. The story alternates between two timelines – the current one, where the waters are rising and begin entering the house and the wife keeps trying (unsuccessfully) to make her husband move out – and the past, which the husband keeps slipping back into, when they were a young, playful couple very much in love. The dementia-induced stubbornness and disorientation of the husband is a major determinant of the couple’s problems and tragedy in face of the Chennai floods. Unfortunately, the diagnosis is mentioned only fleetingly in the beginning, and no medical angle is shown, nor is the prognosis mentioned. The changed behavior – repetitive actions, inability to understand or remember simple instructions, disorientation etc – are very well shown – sensitive and very well-acted. The wife’s handling of the situation is also very well acted – patience, with some tinges of irritation and helplessness, which gets worse as the flood situation worsens and panic begins. However, the movie does not show any other interactions or impact. The movie is rather depressing and gives no hope — it makes tragedy seem inevitable. Though the depiction is authentic, the hopelessness created around the impact of the changed behavior makes it a negative portrayal and unsuitable for explaining dementia. The movie is NOT recommended for anyone to get any idea of dementia.. Wikipedia page: House Owner Opens in new window.

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Mango Dreams (English).

Mango Dreams (English): Released in 2016, this movie is about a Hindu doctor who develops dementia and wants to resolve some past issues before the dementia gets worse, and a Muslim autorickshaw driver who takes him on a long road journey to do so. The movie is about relationships and memories, not about dementia. The doctor’s dementia is a plot angle to provide a reason for his undertaking the journey, but dementia symptoms are barely visible or mentioned in the movie after a few initial scenes. Dementia depiction is shallow and patchy. The movie does not provide any understanding of dementia or its progression or care challenges. It gives no medical understanding of the condition. Though “dementia” is mentioned in the movie’s blurbs and reviews, the movie is NOT recommended for anyone to get any idea of dementia.. Facebook page: Mango Dreams Opens in new window. Official movie trailer: Mango Dreams Opens in new window. Also, the movie’s IMDB page Opens in new window and Wikipedia page Opens in new window.

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Mayurakshi (Bengali) ময়ুরাক্ষী.

Mayurakshi (য়ুরাক্ষী) (Bengali): This award-winning movie, released in December 2017, stars Soumitra Chatterjee, Indrani Haldar, and Prasenjit Chatterjee. This movie explores the father-son relationship between a 84-year-old former professor of History with dementia and his middle-aged son Aryanil who is visiting from the USA. The father’s several cognitive problems, their impact on the son and home staff, the social setting, etc., provide some situations caregivers can relate to. But though the director has mentioned dementia in his IMDB summary of the story Opens in new window, the word is mentioned only once in the movie, with no diagnosis or discussion as such, so viewers only see a sensitive portrayal of father-son interactions and get no information or insight into dementia as a serious progressive medical condition that impacts the person and family requiring care planning etc. The end is abrupt and unsatisfactory, (See also a review by a caregiver: Thoughts, words, memories: ‘Mayurakshi’ and dementia Opens in new window. The Wikipedia page is here: Wikipedia page on Mayurakshi Opens in new window. Official movie trailer on Youtube: Mayurakshi | Official Trailer Opens in new window. Facebook page: Facebook page of “Mayurakshi – The Movie” Opens in new window.

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Sraboner Dhara(Bengali) শ্রাবনের ধারা.

Sraboner Dhara (শ্রাবনের ধারা) (Bengali): This movie, released in February 2020, stars Basabdatta Chatterjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, and Parambrata Chattopadhyay and looks at human relationships. The protagonist, Dr.Nilabho Roy (Parambrata Chatterjee), is a neurologist, and his patient, Dr. Amitava Sarkar, is diagnosed with dementia, and is cared for by his young second wife who pretends to be his first wife as that is what Sarkar feels comfortable with. The story uses multiple plot threads to make the Nilabho Roy realize he needs to reconcile with his wife. The acting is good and portrayal sensitive, but the plot is shallow and simplistic in parts. The movie uses a hospital setting, with no explanation why Sarkar needs to be admitted, implying that hospital stay is required for investigations and treatment (usually not so). The diagnosis is confusing, changing from scene to scene (“multiple small strokes, lacunar type”, Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, etc). Care related conversations lacked specifics or any plans for the future. The main symptom depicted is memory loss, mainly to fit the plot requirement of a mystery around the wife and marriage. Due to the hospital setting, the movie does not show dementia’s impact on ADLs, social interactions etc. No discussion on progression or advanced dementia. Even the ending is strange and “optimistic” but with unresolved logistic aspects. Though the depiction is sensitive, the movie can be misleading in terms of how it depicts the diagnosis and other medical aspects of dementia, and shows only a small aspect of the care challenges. See the Wikipedia page on Sraboner DharaOpens in new window, Youtube: Sraboner Dhara (শ্রাবনের ধারা ) | Official Trailer Opens in new window. A different perspective, focused on the sensitivity of the portrayal of dementia and the caregiver’s challenges can be seen in this review by ex-caregiver Nishi Pulugurtha here Opens in new window.

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Three of Us (Hindi) थ्री ऑफ अस.

Three of Us (थ्री ऑफ अस )(हिन्दी ): This is a 2023 Hindi-language drama film with a love triangle between Shailaja Desai (Shefali Shah), husband Dipankar Desai (Swanand Kirkire), and Shailaja’s childhood sweetheart from class 8, Pradip Kamat (Jaideep Ahlawat). The movie starts with some scenes in Mumbai, where Shailaja shows some confusion and disorientation, her use of to-do lists to cope, and she has chosen to stop working, all hinting at dementia. She tells her husband that she wants to visit Vengurla, where she studied for some years as a child (class 5 to 8); the husband is surprised, but agrees. The rest of the slow-paced movie is set in scenic Konkan. Once they are in Vengurla and she meets her childhood sweetheart, the mild symptoms seen in Mumbai reduce significantly, she seems more comfortable and handles things more confidently, though on occasion she seems slightly spaced out. But the movie does not show explicit coping mechanisms or planning for the future.

While the movie has good acting and some tender, poignant moments and expressions of fear and uncertainty about the future, uninformed viewers cannot discern which parts of her behavior are normal variations we all experience, and which may be possibly due to dementia. Similarly, it is unclear which of her apprehensions about the future are based on what may be expected in dementia, and which stem from misinformation. For example, she keeps expressing fears that she will lose her childhood memories – though the memories at risk in dementia are typically recent and short-term memories, while older memories are retained much longer. Dementia is mentioned a couple of times, and hinted at others, but there is no discussion on her diagnosis, her current symptoms, the impact of dementia on her life, what to expect, and what to plan for, and how this may be done.

The movie, therefore, is a nuanced portrayal of an individual’s choices and actions after receiving an early onset dementia diagnosis. But it does not help viewers understand dementia. It cannot be used to appreciate typical symptoms and typical reactions of the person and family to such a devastating diagnosis – such as denial, depression, anger, frustration, acceptance, impact on life, and planning etc., or get a feel of what to anticipate regarding progression. All in all therefore, though sensitively acted and though it has received good reviews, the movie is not useful, reliable or detailed enough in terms of its depiction of early onset dementia and its impact. It may even confuse viewers. See the Wikipedia page on Three of Us Opens in new window and its IMDB entry Opens in new window.

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U, Me aur Hum (Hindi) (warning: the movie and is very misleading).

U, Me aur Hum (Hindi), a 2005 love story movie, stars Kajol and Ajay Devgan. Piya (Kajol), when still in her twenties, is shown as forgetting things. Ajay (Ajay Devgan) and Piya fall in love, marry, and have a child. Piya’s episodes of strange behavior keep happening, including episodes of wandering/ other problems. The baby almost dies because of her disorientation. A doctor suggests institutionalization. Decision point. Hubby, after some initial wavering, decides against institutionalization, love conquers all, and problems vanish and we then see Kajol with a grown-up son. Even after several years of dementia, she looks perfectly groomed and very well-aware and coherent. While there are some persons who get Alzheimer’s in their twenties, it is very rare. And again, though most early onset cases develop fast, Kajol is shown as independent, well-groomed, alert, smart and witty even decades after her first symptoms appear. All scenes depicting Kajol’s disorientation and problems happen in the first few years of her dementia and then seem to vanish. The movie shows none of the problems the disease brings in day-to-day life, especially in a nuclear family with a working husband and an infant. It implies that there are no problems once the husband starts showering love. Romance-craving viewers may think of it as a story of love and hope and miracles, but the movie cannot be used to understand dementia or care, not even early onset dementia.The dementia scenario depicted in the movie is so unlikely that the movie can be extremely misleading. NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL. Wikipedia page: U, Me aur Hum Opens in new window.

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Other movies with a person with dementia(lower/ nominal dementia-related depiction or misleading depiction).

Movies in this section have some character who has dementia, often a parent, but the movie has very little depiction of dementia and its impact. Usually the dementia is used in the plot to restrict choices a hero has/ explain away some decisions (this type of approach is often called a “plot device”). This minimal dementia depiction may be accurate or may be stereotypical/ misleading.

102 not Out (Hindi), a 2018 movie, stars Amitabh Bachchan (as a 102 year old father) and Rishi Kapoor(his 75 year old son) and is around ageing, positive approaches, and issues like uncaring children. A two-minute sequence in it is a narration by Bachchan about rapid progression and death of Kapoor’s wife from a “fast growing Alzheimer’s” to illustrate/ reinforce how uncaring Kapoor’s son was – this is extremely misleading regarding how Alzheimer’s may present itself or get worse with time. In reality, most Alzheimer’s cases take several years to deteriorate. Even the more rapidly progressing forms of Alzheimer’s typically take 2-3 years from initial symptoms to death. The movie is very misleading and NOT recommended for anyone to get any idea of Alzheimer’s.

Listen…अमाया(Listen… Amaya) (Hindi), a 2013 movie, stars Farooq Shaikh (who plays Jayant ‘Jazz’), Deepti Naval (who plays Leela) and Swara Bhaskar (who plays Amaya). The dementia aspect is subtle and only mentioned at the end as an explanation of some strange behavior and episodes around Jayant. The movie is typically not listed as a “dementia” movie and is NOT recommended for anyone to get any idea of dementia. Wikipedia page: Listen… Amaya Opens in new window.

Miss India (Telugu), (released in November 2020) has a minuscule depiction of dementia (father of a main character) – a tiny scene with bare-essential mention of diagnosis (allegedly stage 5 AD, young onset), mainly used as a plot device as his treatment is one of the reasons the family relocates. There are a few fleeting token scenes on dementia, like the father is unable to recognize his daughter – but no other depiction of either symptoms or treatment or any steps taken to care for him or keep him safe etc. Definitely unsuitable to explain dementia to anyone.

November Story is a Tamil crime thriller web series for Hotstar Specials, released in May 2021, where the protagonist’s father, Ganesan, a celebrated crime novelist with early-onset Alzheimer’s, seems implicated by his presence at a murder scene. The series has twists and turns as the daughter tries to investigate and find the truth. The Alzheimer’s angle is used to explain some of Ganesan’s behavior (forgetfulness, confusion, aggression) and also why the daughter wants to sell an old house the father owns (to pay for “some promised “stem cell therapy”). Actually, stem cell therapy is not an approved treatment, and the TV series’ use of Alzheimer’s seems a way to meet the thriller’s plot needs. The series is not useful, reliable or detailed enough related to its depiction of dementia, and not advised for that aspect.(IMDB entry Opens in new window, Wikipedia page Opens in new window)

O Kadhal Kanmani(ஓ காதல் கண்மணி ) (Tamil), a 2015 romantic movie shows a young couple in a live-in relationship staying with an older couple where the wife Bhavani (Leela Samson) has Alzheimer’s. Bhavani’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease is used to introduce small problems, show her caring and gentle husband, and support the story’s theme that couples deeply in love can make marriage a success. The dementia depiction – mainly mild forgetfulness/ confusion, and two episodes of wandering – is shallow and weird, such as how no one plans for Bhavani’s wandering in spite of her diagnosis and previous wandering, or their unplanned way to try and locate her. Other than a few early signs, the movie does not help to understand Alzheimer’s or its progression or seriousness, or get any insight into practical care aspects. The movie is not recommended for anyone to get any idea of dementia.. Wikipedia page: O Kadhal Kanmani Opens in new window.

Uri, the Surgical Strike(Hindi and other languages), (released January 2019) has a minor depiction of dementia (mother of a main character) – her Alzheimer’s is the reason the son (protagonist of the movie) moves to Delhi to be with her. The Alzheimer’s aspect is not explained either medically or in terms of its impact on planning, progression, and so on, and once the son is in Delhi, he takes up the “surgical strike” assignment that allows the movie to progress. There is a brief mention indicating his sister is doing the caregiving. The movie is not suitable to explain dementia to anyone, but its brief depiction of Alzheimer’s is a sensitive portrayal, well acted, and convincing. Wikipedia page here Opens in new window.

Uunchai (Hindi), (released 2022) has a minor depiction of dementia (for a main character) – This Alzheimer’s is more like a plot device, a scene to give the viewer a lesson and an interest/twist. Except for that one scene (and a bit after that) the Alzheimer’s aspect is not shown in terms of either diagnosis, or impact on the person’s abilities or problems, or any planning done to circumvent problems. The movie is not suitable to explain dementia to anyone, and its brief depiction of Alzheimer’s is likely to mislead viewers on how the condition impacts persons living with it. Wikipedia page here Opens in new window.

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Very short movies, usually showing a single episode around dementia persons.

Note that short movies only depict a small slice of the dementia and care situation. It is unrealistic to expect such movies to give any good educational insight, but these short movies could be suitable to get a glimpse, especially if sensitively made.

Yashoda (Tamil).

This short movie (24 minutes) shows an episode where a lady with dementia wanders out in COVID times when the househelp leaves her alone and her husband is unable to return home because of COVID lockdown. The movie also includes quite a bit on diagnosis, care and other symptoms, very sensitively done. See it at YASODHA – Sripriya & Nasser’s artistic thriller tamil shortfilm Opens in new window.

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The Broken Table (Hindi and English)

This short movie (23 minutes) shows an episode where a student of psychology works for a few hours as a caretaker of a man with dementia. She sees this as an opportunity to see someone with dementia up close, and takes notes and does her best to interact with him as she sees suitable. She also has some personal issues she is facing at that time. This short film, with excellent acting by Naseeruddin Shah as a person with dementia, packs a sensitive and realistic depiction of early dementia, how much someone with dementia continues to contribute, and also how making assumptions about the person can mislead. See it at Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films | The Broken Table | A Film by Chintan Sarda | Film Opens in new window.

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A Gusty Morning (Assamese).

This short movie (21 minutes) shows an episode where the daughter of a mother with dementia is being visited at home by the man she wants to marry. Directed by Jahnu Baruah and starring Seema Biswas and others, it is a sensitive depiction of the stigma/ fear aspect around admitting someone in the family has dementia. See it at That Gusty Morning | Seema Biswas | Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films Opens in new window.

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Listing of plays around dementia.

This section will be used to include names of plays around dementia that have received good reviews in press, so that in case they become available, you can consider watching them. One listing here is a Hindi-Urdu play, Pakistan Aur Alzheimers, that shows a day (through a monologue) in the life of a 90+ man with Alzheimer’s. The play has received good reviews: see A tragic-comic take on the trauma of Partition Opens in new window and BWW Review: PAKISTAN AUR ALZHEIMER’S A Unique Must Watch Opens in new window.

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Pending Review.

Some of the movies listed below are award winning movies but have not been reviewed yet as they are not available in theatres/ OTT. Some were available for some time but are no longer available in cinema halls, as DVDs, or for online viewing. In some cases, it may be possible to contact the directors and get a special screening. If you have any updates about their availability, please let us know at dementiacarenotes@gmail.com, thanks!

धूसर (Dhoosar) (Marathi) is a 2011 film, directed by Amol Palekar. The story is about a mother-daughter relationship where the mother gets Alzheimer’s and the daughter is shocked to find a stranger living with her for the last two years when the daughter was not there. As per published reviews, the film is a multi-layered, sensitive depiction of how the mother changes with her Alzheimer’s. A news report here Opens in new window, and a movie trailer is available on Youtube: Dhoosar (Official_Movie Promo) on Full2marathi.com Opens in new window.

Life Flows On (English) was released in Oct 2016. Starring includes Tom Alter. See their Facebook page: Life Flows On Opens in new window. The official movie trailer is available on Youtube: Life Flows on Official Trailer Opens in new window. You can also contact them using pr.thevnfilms@gmail.com. The movie was screened as part of a dementia awareness campaign, and was well received. It is considered a sensitive portrayal of dementia and its impact on day-to-day life and the social stigma around dementia Here is a Facebook post on one such event Opens in new window. They may arrange a special screening for you (the last such screening, as per their FB page (checked in Oct 2022) was in January 2019.

Others Pending Reviews: Some movies that are supposed to be depicting dementia but have not been viewed and so cannot be commented on include the following: The Kashmir Files (some viewers have reported that the mention of dementia is barely a sentence or so, and only to explain some lapses of memory), Dvaita:Duality (2021) (IMDB entry Opens in new window), Someday(see news here Opens in new window, see Wikipedia page here Opens in new window ), and Goldfish (IMDB entry Opens in new window, trailer on Youtube Opens in new window) The review of Goldfish by ex-caregiver Nishi Pulugurtha can be seen here Opens in new window. If any viewers have any additional comments on any of these, please email your impressions to dementiacarenotes@gmail.com.

General note about movies that depict dementia.

Each movie focuses on some aspects, and takes some shortcuts/ fictional liberties based on what the plot needs, etc. So no movie depicts all aspects of dementia problems, family situations, care approaches, and no movie is complete and representative enough to be treated like a documentary. Also, many movies nowadays use dementia/ Alzheimer’s just as a way to add some required plot turn or create a situation needed by the storyline . Some things to keep in mind:

  • Most movies depict the person as being quite young, or at most in the sixties. Actually, while dementia can occur at younger ages, it is more typical at older ages.
  • Movies typically avoid the sordid and tiring aspects of caregiving, such as helping in the whole range of daily activities all day long, every day. They also tend to avoid depicting awkward or overwhelming problems like incontinence, obscene behavior, extreme aggression, Late stage care and end-of-life decision conflict. Even movies showing the person’s death often rush through that phase.
  • Movies usually show either a very mild-mannered person or a very aggressive situation. The impression of dementia conveyed to a viewer could vary very widely depending on whether they saw a movie like Mai or like Godhi Banna.
  • Movies where dementia is introduced for a plot twist or explain some decision of the main characters or introduce a conveniently “forgotten” aspect are often have shallow and misleading depiction of dementia and its impact (though some movies are sensitive and reliable even in such brief depiction). However, dementia depiction in such movies is brief and just for one aspect of dementia.
  • Short movies usually depict only a small slice of the dementia and care situation. They do not give any good educational insight for the overall situation, but if sensitively made, these give a good glimpse of one slice.

If watching movies to understand dementia and its impact, it helps to remember what the movie’s focus and plot are, and how reliable the movie is to understand dementia and care. This page is intended to help with this.

Note: Some more details for some movies are available in the blog post: Indian Movies Depicting Dementia: Some Comments Opens in new window.

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Dementia Care Notes