Bollywood writer-editor Apurva Asrani suffers from Bell’s Palsy

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Mumbai, March 6 (IANS) Writer Apurva Asrani, who penned the critically acclaimed drama “Aligarh”, has revealed he woke up with Bell’s Palsy — a condition that leaves the face partially paralysed — two months ago. He, however, says his condition is gradually improving.

Asrani, who also had an infamous fallout with filmmaker Hansal Mehta over the writing credits for “Simran”, shared a Facebook post on his condition and shared a few photographs of himself during various stages of the illness.

“Almost two months ago, I woke up with the right side of my pace completely paralysed. Fearing a stroke, I was rushed to the hospital, and after an MRI ruled that out, my condition was diagnosed as Bells Palsy — where the facial nerve is inflamed, causing loss of muscle movement.

“What causes this is still a mystery, but they gather that it could be a viral infection. Stress is a major factor and god knows I had more than my share of that in 2017,” Asrani wrote.

It was just last year that he had raised an objection to actress Kangana Ranaut taking “undue credit” as “co-writer” of “Simran”, leading to a heated controversy. Asrani was also among those who stepped down from the Indian Panorama jury of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) jury over the exclusion of controversial Malayalam film “S Durga”.

Asrani said the Bell’s Palsy condition is reversible, but he has been through a tough time.

“But it could take weeks, months or even years in some cases. Mine was accompanied by severe vertigo, and I couldn’t stand without falling over.

“After taking antivirals, steroids and doing weeks of physiotherapy and acupuncture, there was still no thaw. One senior neurologist told me to be prepared that if there was nerve damage, I might never recover from this.

“Fortunately after a harrowing month, the face finally began to thaw. Everyday there is a little progress, tiny little twitches that promise to grow into something more significant tomorrow. And I wait patiently. I am certain that in the next few months,” he added.

Asrani said the fear has been “indescribable”.

“I have been unable to smile. To shut the right eye. To walk without falling, to eat or even drink water without spillage.

“When I walked in the street and people looked at me, there wasn’t the warmth that I was used to. My face drooped to one side, one eye wide and unblinking, and my mouth twisted. I realised how blessed I had been to be able to smile, (it really can do wonders for you),” he wrote.

The experience, he said, has also led him learn about his social media ‘life’ — wherein people post the “good stuff” to give an impression of “doing so well all the time”.

“There’s nothing wrong with posting the good stuff, the problem is that nobody’s sharing the shit stuff. The stuff that’s making us fall apart. The bad face days, the lost jobs. The loneliness. The fears. The failures. The ugliness.

“Aren’t we all those things too? And I wonder, if we were a society that didn’t set such high standards, wouldn’t life just be easier for everyone?

“My heart goes out to actors and actresses, who project a perfect life, but are crumbling on the inside — unable to show anyone the cracks. We see them happy, performing for us, laughing, dancing for us, and one day when they drop dead, we wonder how this could have happened so suddenly.

“Well it didn’t. It happened over years, while we were applauding their dancing, their spirit, their joys and encouraging them to smile for us.”



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