Busted: Not a key solution
This weekly column debunks the various myths propagated by Indian cinema — Tamil films in particular
Myth: Forcing metal into the hand doesn't stop a seizure
Propagated in: Raja Rani, Thennavan, Suryavamsam, Savarakathi
There are few debut films that have catapulted people to such heights as Raja Rani did to director Atlee. This modern retelling (or reboot if you will) of Mouna Ragam had hit songs, and the love and emotional tracks all hit home to the point that a lot of meme-templates exist a full five years after the film’s release. One of these templates made me rewatch a scene — that of Nayanthara getting a seizure and Arya frantically trying to stop it. He gets a key from the wardrobe and tries to stop this seizure by forcing it into Nayanathara’s hands. And just like that, the seizure stops, and she slips into unconsciousness. It’s an idea that films have propagated quite a few times.
Dr Abhinav, Neurosurgery resident in SRMC is aggrieved and says, “Lots of patients come in with injuries because of people giving metal objects. It’s a myth films have propagated. I wish people stopped doing that.” He goes on to add, “Seizures are of different types, and most seizures stop within a couple of minutes. No one really knows where this myth started in the first place. Seizure typically is of a single episode and if there are recurrent seizures, then it is called epilepsy.”
He says that the variety of seizures we usually see in films are called GTC — Generalised Tonic-clonic Seizures. “They lose their bladder and bowel control, and one notable thing is tongue-biting. Another is a partial seizure where only one arm/lip/eye is involved; it isn’t particularly dramatic to behold and so, cinema probably does not show it. There is also a third type called Psychogenic Non-Epileptic seizures which are basically people who are acting and if you give a key to them, they stop. It is usually done by attention-seekers.”
He suggests a more effective alternative. “If you see someone having a GTC seizure, please turn them over to one side. That will be of way more help.”