Doctor G is a riveting medical entertainer

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Ayushmann Khurrana and Rakul Preet Singh in Doctor G. Photo: Spice PR

Now which dummkopf  tells them that an end-credit dance song, incongruous to the rest of the film, is a market-friendly must?

In an engagingly fresh entertainer about a jerk of a human being turning into a good doctor, where was the need for an irrelevant song that goes Dil dhak dhak dhak dhak karta hai? It even shows two doctors in dance mode, the heroine being in abbreviated clothing.

Yes, there are some minor flaws in the film, but, thankfully, no whopper medical gaffes that Hindi movies tend to so brazenly show (mind you, we are not including Manmohan Desai’s entertainers!) about doctors, the medical profession and medical science.

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It is with such killer (literally, as in killing the quality and maybe box-office prospects!) moves that Hindi filmmakers tend to dilute, defile or decimate their films, especially good ones like these.

Doctor G is about medical graduate Dr. Uday Gupta (Ayushmann Khurrana), who is obsessed with joining Orthopedics for his post-graduation. Unable to get in, he decides to ‘spend one year’ doing masters in a subject (Gynecology & Obstetrics ) that he thinks is meant only for women doctors. Now who has put this fatheaded idea in his head is not explained. He will try for his favorite branch of Medicine again the following year, even if this selfish move wastes one Gynecology seat for three years!

The head of the Gynecology department, Dr. Nandini (Shefali Shah), a perceptive teacher as well, senses his ignorance stemming out of disinterest and asks him to correct himself. It takes several slip-ups and faux pas for Uday to finally realize that this department too has its plus-es, though some of these errors that he commits almost land him in trouble, as indeed they should. Over time, from a cocky medico, a better doctor and human being gradually emerges.

The many issues Uday must deal with en route include a minor, Kavya (Ayesha Kaduskar), getting pregnant through his callous much-married orthopedic surgeon colleague (Indraneil Sengupta), to whom Uday mistakenly thinks he owes a massive debt, and also an emergency delivery needed in the corridor of the hospital instead of the apt chamber. Here is where the film’s makers slip up—there is a crowd shown watching the ‘spectacle’, including at least one male. When such things happen, medical ethics and human decency demand both screens around the woman as well as the absence of males among onlookers.

I am told that there was a real gynecologist on board to supervise the film’s medical aspects. Why did this person not look into this? In all other matters, the film, as I said, does not go into medical errors so common in other films.

On the personal front too, Uday has to deal with a frustrated friend, Chaddi (Abhay Mishr), who stays with him. For some mysterious reason, Chaddi almost never wears an upper garment. Uday also has an indulgent mother (Sheeba Chaddha), who is a widow from the time he was conceived and now feels a much-deserved desire for male company. Then there is Dr. Fatima (Rakul Preet Singh), for whom Uday falls, though she is engaged to her boyfriend Arif (Presh Pahuja), and Uday is well-aware of this fact.

Uday thus has to navigate all these professional and personal issues and battles, first among them being getting in sync with his female colleagues, which he does gradually again and ends up being liked and even admired by them, including the nurse on duty (Puja Sarup).

Meanwhile, his frequent conflicts with Dr. Nandini provide for an illuminating interplay that illustrates the key difference between a dedicated doctor and a man who, literally, is coming-of-age and slowly shedding his personal immaturity in all aspects, even if he is old enough to have graduated in Medicine!

Ayushmann Khurrana is superb playing this cocky doctor, and makes amends for his recent blunder, Anek. The actor has tried out movies now in almost every aspect of medicine, human physiology and society and can be called a master at social medicine, so to speak! His expressions and general body language stand out yet again as the man who is helplessly mired in his own set of (mis)beliefs and stubborn mores. He navigates the slow but sure change that comes in his persona fluidly indeed.

Shefali Shah, doing a doctor’s role that is the polar opposite of her fabulous turn as the mercenary medico in the web series, Human, delivers (pun intended!) yet another magnificent performance in a long, recent line that includes also Jalsa, Darlings and Delhi Crime 2.

Another actress, who is getting better and better with each film is Sheeba Chaddha, the one-stop shop now for playing mothers with a difference. After Badhaai Do and Maja Ma, she has evolved into a fabulous actress whose selection of characters that have an edgy side is something I, at least, will continue to observe with great interest.

As Fatima, Rakul Preet Singh’s character is fleshed-out charmingly as a mature doctor who knows her priorities and is endearingly non-judgmental of human flaws. From the other girls, Priyam Saha as Dr. Jenny and Puja Sarup as the doughty nurse Sunita stand out. Abhya Misr too makes a mark as Uday’s bosom friend, Chaddi.

The film marks a bright debut for director Anubhuti Kashyap. It is refreshing to find Anurag Kashyap’s sister going mainstream with sense, sensibility, sensitivity and substance unlike her much more famous brother, who is best associated with deviant cinema and dubious festival applause, despite a career that has seen many disasters in more than just the commercial sense.

To carve out a subject like this requires honesty, commitment and a grounded temperament. For Anubhuti to show all this in her debut film is an admirable achievement indeed. Despite a title that could have been clearer to all, this film’s a winner.

Rating: ***1/2

Junglee Pictures’ Doctor G  Produced by: Vineet Jain Directed by: Anubhuti Kashyap  Written by: Saurabh Bharat, Vishal Wagh, Anubhuti Kashyap & Sumit Saxena  Music: Amit Trivedi, Amjad Nadeem Aamir, & Sultan Sulemani Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana, Rakul Preet Singh, Shefali Shah, Sheeba Chadha,Paresh Pahuja, Indranil Sengupta, Abhay Mishr, Ayesha Kaduskar, Priyam Saha, Shraddha Gautam, Karishma Singh, Anju Gaur, Puja Sarup & others

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