Busted: Time to forget another myth
This weekly column debunks the various myths propagated by Indian cinema—Tamil films in particular
Myth: A light blow to the head will cause amnesia
Propagated in: Friends, Bramma, Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar
Amnesia. It is what I usually wish I had when I look back upon the numerous myths that Tamil cinema has helped propagate. This week, we are focussing on how easy it has traditionally been for Tamil cinema’s characters to get afflicted with memory loss. Remember Charlie from Friends who develops the condition when a hammer falls on his head? We called up city-based physician, Narayanan, to clarify if it indeed is that easy.
“You see, the single blow you land on the head must be extraordinarily powerful to make you suffer a loss in memory. In Ghajini, the blows are powerful, and it causes called anterograde amnesia, wherein the brain loses its ability to process new memories. In Naduvala Konjam Pakkatha Kaanum, it is a case of what is called retrograde amnesia, which is you losing all memories leading up to the event that caused the amnesia in the first place.” The problem we have, and Narayanan has is with countless other films in which the smallest blow causes debilitating consequences. “In Friends, for instance, it’s just a small ‘tok’ to the head, if I am not mistaken. There is a chance, medically there is always a chance, for him to have been traumatised by the event. But to actually see the amount of memories he loses is quite befuddling. For someone to act like Charlie does in the film, they should have been subjected to intense psychological and physical trauma that your consciousness disassociates to protect the psyche.”
The doctor adds, “Remember how Jason Bourne pieces together various memories slowly? Even if you lose your memory quite badly, your muscle memory slowly ensures that you can put it all together again.”
Maybe that is what I do. Putting together all these memories from yesteryear movies and busting myths. Well, here’s to a new year where I promise to fulfill my vow to bust more myths.