Bollywood is the biggest film industry in the world producing more than 1500 movies per year and an even bigger viewer base. These movies have reflected on and changed societies with their storyline and characters. While most get forgotten in the memory lane at some point or the other, some get etched in our memories forever. Then, there are movies that show embark on a journey to educate their viewers about issues that a small sector is largely affected by. One of those is movies on rare diseases.

Paa - Movies on Rare Disease
©Sunil Manchanda Productions / Still From Movie

Over the course of 100+ years of Indian cinema, there have been tons of films showcasing some unique storylines. These films not only educate us about the disease but also about people who have them, people who surround them and much more.

Yes, we do know that movies hyper-fictionalizes personal stories but one of the biggest reasons behind the success of movies on rare diseases, is the mere existence of a movie that sheds light on something unique and helps people in articulating their own problems in a better way. Let’s get right into the list of movies on rare diseases.  

1. Anand (1971) IMDb: 8.5/10

Starring the first superstar of India, Rajesh Khanna costarring with Amitabh Bachchan. In the movie, Anand (Rajesh Khanna) is suffering from a terminal disease called “Lymphosarcoma” a very rare kind of intestinal cancer. Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Dr. Bhaskar who is attending the case of Anand, who goes through a metamorphosis on seeing the optimistic approach of a dying man towards his life. Later on, Dr. Bhaskar decides to write a book on Anand’s life. This movie is all about being optimistic no matter how low the point of existence is. .

©Hrishikesh Mukherjee & N. C. Sippy

2. Paa (2009) IMDb: 7.2/10 – Bollywood Movies on Rare Diseases

Another beautiful movie starring Amitabh Bachchan as “Auro”. In the movie, Auro is suffering from a rare genetic disorder called “Progeria” due to which he ages very rapidly. Auro is an only child, raised by her single mother and a gynecologist Dr. Vidya played by Vidya Balan, Auro wants to know about his father but his mother always kept the truth hidden.

Paa | Movies On Rare Diseases
©Sunil Manchanda Productions

Meanwhile, Auro meets a young politician Amol Arte played by Abhishek Bachchan and then he gets to know that Amol is his father. The story revolves around the “rare” and beautiful relationship between a father and son. Also, this movie shows that even while fighting a disease like Progeria in which he will not survive more than 13 years Auro remains a cheeky and witty kid.

3. Taare Zameen Par (2007) IMDb: 8.4/10

Considered one of the most exceptional and groundbreaking movies that educated millions of people to look into the state of their kids and have a heartful talk with them. The movie is about “Ishaan Awasthi” (Darsheel Safari) who always gets criticized by his parents and teachers for poor academic performance but has an exceptional talent for art.

Taare Zameen par | Movies On Rare Diseases
©Amir Khan Productions

His parents send him away to a boarding school where he meets with an unorthodox teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh played by Amir khan who has a different approach towards teaching, Ram Shankar encounters the strange behavior and hidden artist in Ishaan and tells his parents that their child is suffering from “dyslexia” a mental disorder due to which he has problems in reading and writing. Then Ram helps his special student to groom his artistic side and through that, he teaches him to read and write.

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4. Hichki (2018) IMDb: 7.5/10 – Bollywood Movies on Rare Diseases

The movie revolves around a passionate teacher who has a strange nervous system disorder “Tourette Syndrome” due to which she constantly suffers from impulsive signal responses from her brain whenever she gets into an emotional state. The story starts when after being rejected from numerous school interviews, she finally gets the job of a teacher where she tries to teach some rebellious students with a different approach, focusing more on their interests rather than making them a book worm.

©Yash Raj Films

5. Barfi! (2012) IMDb:8.1/10

A very unusual and sweet love story is depicted in Barfi which makes it an all-time favorite of many. In the movie, Ranbir Kapoor plays the role of a speech and hearing impaired man Murphy “Barfi” Jhonson.

©Ronnie Screwvala & Sidharth Roy Kapur

The story revolves around Barfi who was left by his first love Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) as she marries someone else. After the big heartbreak and serious financial crisis at home, Barfi tries to kidnap his childhood friend Jhilmil played by Priyanka Chopra, an autistic girl and heiress to her grandfather’s fortune. The movie was acclaimed and appreciated by the critics and bagged many awards too.

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So these were some of the best Bollywood movies on rare diseases. Actors who worked on these movies were acclaimed for their exceptional performances and bagged various awards, including the national award, won by Priyanka Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan and Amir Khan.

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