December 2013 Murtaza Bootwala: Healing through movies This is one form of therapy you are going to love. It consists of watching movies! Pune-based healer and cineaste Murtaza Bootwala conceived of this unique therapy when he healed himself of debilitating stress and depression through watching movies. What started off as a quest for relaxation, became an avenue for inspiration. He visualised himself possessing the attributes embodied by various characters, vicariously experiencing them until he could live them. “Mirror neurons enable us to do this. They cannot distinguish if a particular thing is happening in my life or in the movie’s life,” he explains. Murtaza decided to capitalise on this property by using films to inspire people, help them deal with their issues, and to move towards positivity. He does this through the aegis of his organsation, Life Talkies. Movies indirectly instil ideas in the mind of an individual. “Taare Zameen Par, for example, helped many parents who were unable to understand their child’s incoherent behavior as well as those who were unable to accept it,” says Murtaza. Movies also help people observe how someone else transcended a situation they themselves found difficult to overcome. This inspires them to not give up on life and soldier on. For instance, a couple with marriage issues approached Murtaza. Murtaza prescribed Fireproof, a movie about realising true love, to them. “After they saw the film, they understood what was needed to be done, and no further counselling was required. They have been happily married ever since,” he says. “In the words of Muriel Rukeyser ‘The Universe is made of stories, not atoms.’ So adopt a different story to change your life,” says Murtaza Bootwala. So the next time you go to a movie, keep an eye open for its inspirational potential. Who knows, perhaps Bollywood and Hollywood will wake up to the therapeutic effects of their products, and give us more inspirational fare. Murtaza will be pleased.
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