‘If this happens again… this show isn’t so important to me,’ the Bigg Boss anchor said.

Kamal Haasan takes the moral high ground apologises for insensitive mental hospital gagScreenshot: Bigg Boss
Flix Bigg Boss Saturday, August 05, 2017 - 21:56

Saturday’s episode of Bigg Boss Tamil started with an apology. Kamal Haasan, who hosts the reality show on Vijay TV, started with addressing the criticism around a ‘task’ that the participants were given last week: To enact a scene at a ‘mental hospital'.

“People believe that because they see me over here, I decide each and every thing that happens on the show,” Kamal began. “This is not true,” he added.

“I would have never allowed people to make fun of the mentally ill,” he said.

“You could accuse me of hypocrisy, and ask if I haven’t written or enacted the roles of mentally ill people in my films. Yes, I have. But in my films, the mentally ill person is the hero, not the comedian,” Kamal said.

Kamal highlighted the need for better understanding and care for the mentally ill.

He also hinted that if something like this were to repeat on the show, he would cut ties.

“If this happens again… this show isn’t so important to me,” the Bigg Boss anchor trailed off.

For last week’s challenge, the contestants in the house were asked to dress up and act like the inhabitants of a 'mental hospital'. While a few of the housemates were turned into a doctor, ward boy, nurse and attender, the others were assigned to play mentally ill patients wearing green gowns.

This portrayal was highly criticised, across the board.

Dr Sivabalan, a psychiatrist and Associate Professor at SRM University, spoke to TNM about his concerns regarding the portrayal of mental health on the show.

On the show, as soon as it was announced that the inmates would have to act like the mentally ill, one of the contestants, Raiza, quipped, "Oh ‘loose’aa?! Okay!"

Dr Sivabalan pointed out that using such labels is extremely damaging to the mentally ill.

"There are two big consequences because of this. In mental hospitals, there are many people who are fully cured but their families don't want to take them back. This is because they believe they are dangerous and don't want anything to do with them. It's difficult for a family with a person who has a history of mental illness to find a bride or groom for others in the family. They are also denied houses on rent. The other impact is that those who feel mentally disturbed and want to take help feel discouraged by such portrayals. They feel they will be treated like this by society," Dr Sivabalan said.

Read: 'Bigg Boss' sells harmful cliches on mental health: Psychiatrist slams show, comments on Oviya

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