Hey “Sin”amika : A Limerence Story

By Nupur Akotkar

I entered the kitchen to make my favorite spinach banana orange smoothie, only to realize, there was no yogurt, so the plan quickly changed to a wholesome spinach omelet & masala chai. As the tea simmered and boiled to ensure the flavors of the spices awakened me on this rather calm Friday, I contemplated if I should read a book or continue watching the movie from last night. By the time I sieved the tea into the cup, the decision to watch a new movie was made.

I opened my laptop, & as I clicked on the OTT app, a recommendation popped — Hey Sinamika. Aditi Rao Hyadri’s warm smile was extremely difficult to ignore, but the rather triggering first half of my morning began.

Picture for representation purpose only.

I am not a movie critic, so I am going to leave out the technical details of the screenplay, untimely songs, faults in the script, and the surprisingly non-authentic acting of the actors.

I am a counseling psychologist & a relationship counselor, so I am going to focus on my niche — humans & relationships!

Halfway in the movie enters a psychologist who runs a clinic in the quaint streets of Puducherry, & the only thing I learned & I quote, “Ph.D. in Psychology” is the wardrobe update I need as a psychologist. Are you ready to see me in cotton sarees & trendy blouses so I can convince you that I am a psychologist?

While there is a desperate attempt from the psychologist to communicate that she does not decide on anyone’s behalf, there are very few (read as none) scenes that match her words.

Having been in a situation where a client tried to blackmail me, that they would kill themselves if I didn’t teach them flirting techniques to get the girl they wanted, it is important to learn boundary setting. If you are a psychologist and can’t say NO, please I urge you to work on it. A simple No when the lead character threatens to kill herself if the psychologist didn’t help, could have saved all the three and the audience from a lot of trauma.

The movie unintentionally highlights some important dynamics of modern relationships:

Triangulation — A tendency to involve a third person when faced with conflict, to ease out the situation. While triangulation might seem like a good option when it is adding value to the relationship, helping the individuals to grow differently and together. In a real-life scenario, a healthy counselor would have perhaps been a mediator to create a safe space for both parties to communicate, & work out their difficulties. But to use triangulation to woo a partner to get out of a relationship smoothly is simply unhealthy.

Avoidance of Conflict — A simple conversation and understanding of the difference in expectations of both partners could have easily resolved the conflict, but the movie, the therapist and everyone involved seems to overlook the importance of communication & comprehension. Escapism is glorified and the existence of honest conversations nullified.

Limerence — NO & I mean NO character in this movie displays the slightest emotion of love.

The lead male character makes the wife the center of his universe, constantly obsessing over her lifestyle, and food habits. He chases — the wife runs. The wife wants her space & instead of expressing her emotions clearly and honestly, overworks herself & the subtle mention of fear of getting “fat” and excessive gym workouts because of how much her husband feeds her. But the moment the husband withdraws the wife suddenly “misses” his chase and starts chasing and instead of the therapist helping the couple see this obsessive objectification, joins the “marathon”, which she wishes to run until the very end.

Blackmailing — With no trigger warning, self-harm is thrown in as an essential tool to manipulate people into doing things their way.

Perception of marriage — While marriage is seen as a pure thread that binds two people, “divorce” is seen as an excuse, a stigmatized unit chosen by people who aren’t willing to give the relationship its all. In a very delicate moment when her husband asks for a divorce, the lead character says “I am going to birth your child”. Because birthing children is a way to resolve all conflicts in a marriage!

When I read a couple of reviews, I read about transference and countertransference and references from Dear Zindagi, but when I watched the movie I realized that transference and countertransference are out of the question, because there never was a therapy session or counseling session for either to happen. So it’s safe to conclude that this movie is about three adults, one of whose profession is psychology.

My biggest takeaway is the importance of self-work and healing we as therapists or healers need to do so that we do not project our traumas, our hurt, our wounds, and our pain on our clients or anyone remotely close to becoming our clients. Only if the psychologist had started therapy for herself years ago, she wouldn’t form a generalization and revenge mode toxicity about “men”.

If you are reading this and are a therapist, I want you to know that yes, you don’t have to be perfect, but willing to work on yourself — not to be perfect but to not your limiting beliefs and projections influence the decision of those who come to you and if you find yourself triggered — refer them to someone else.

If you are reading this and are not a therapist. I want you to know that what’s shown in the movie is NOT a therapy session and that is NOT how a real psychologist or couple therapist is. Please check the credentials of the therapists you seek help from — not just by certificates but also by skills.



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