Onto the last release of the weekend(and I still do have a couple of leftovers which I will cover over weekdays) and I finished watching the new Hindi film Doctor G starring Ayushmann Khurrana. One of the minor complaints that I had hsd with an Ayushmann Khurrana film was that although the subjects were very different and socially relevant, his role in those films practically seemed to be a distant cousin of the other(barring a couple). All that was put to rest late last year with the release of Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui and later Anek. Now both films may not have done as well as expected at the Box Office but I did see a paradigm shift in the characterization of Ayushmann Khurrana which was really heartening. So thisvis officially the 2.0 version of Ayushmann Khurrana as I would like to call it.
Interestingly, when there was an announcement about the film Doctor G(the very first one with Ayushmann posing with its script), an image which was painted in my mind was of a spy thriller. And while I was way off that idea, the film that marks the debut of Anubhuti Kashyap on the silver screen(she had earlier directed the fabulous series Afsos), had a theme which can best be described as a Vintage Ayushmann Khurrana kind of a film. I was both hopeful and skeptical as I stepped into the theatre to watch Doctor G. And here are my two cents on the same.
Story & Screenplay
Doctor G follows the story of the protagonist, a medical student who fails to acquire a seat in Orthopedics and instead has to settle for a Gynac seat. Will he survive in this career option? The story is quite brilliant with a sneak peek into the lives of the medical interns(which may or may not be acccurate, that is a separate topic of discussion) with a nice little social issue weaved in it. The screenplay standing at just over 2 hours makes for a brisk watch in a script which has more than what meets the eye.
Before I get to the screenplay, I have a major rant with the film Censor Board. As you would know, Doctor G has been rated with an ‘A’ certificate when this could easily have been given a ‘U/A’ certificate. I have seen far more “A” rated films which have been passed off as a “U/A”. This comes as a shock considering that s*x education(censoring it to beat the google algo) in this country is of utmost importance and the need of the hour. Young girls and boys(especially) should be exposed to such films but this cannot happen when the topic continues to remain a taboo. Please note that there are no graphic scenes at all in the film and just diagramatic representations of the female organ which is pretty much like any other organ on the body(point being that it is an organ at the end of the day). And so this was absolutely ridiculous decision of the Censor Board. Now back to the review!
The screenplay might seem like a fun filled take on the Gynacs but it has so many layers to it. Firstly, we do get introduced to the protagonist who has an issue with his then girlfriend of being best friends with a guy which in turn does cost him his Ortho seat. An important reference in the film being that he did want to take up Gynac as according to him only “girls are suitable doctors in that area”. This sets the tone for the character who is a misogynist and very limited in thinking, something that most guys are these days(and at some point you and me have been there too knowingly or unknowingly).
The film works on the first level right throughout the first half with marginally seeping into the second hour. It is almost a deconstruction of the male ego and masculanity which does act as a mirror and instantly makes you reflective of your own actions. The subplot involving a romantic angle between the protagonist and his colleague was relatable too and it felt very organic with the character dynamics. Lets face it, you and me may always have been that “second” person in anyone’s life at some point.
There are many instances in the film that will stand up and take notice of the drama that is textured. A case in point being, the protagonist aiding in delivering a baby in the corridor only to be thanked by the mother who named her child after the protagonist in a beautifully woven interval block. These moments are heartfelt and instantly takes down the male ego of the protagonist who is constantly reminded to lose his “male touch”. The ethics of the doctors too is nicely laid out in a fun filled first hour which also has some incredibly funny moments that will make you laugh.
But things take a turn in the second hour where the drama does get darker by the minute. This is where the writers score in treating the drama differently from any other Ayushmann Khurrana social issue films. The writing is solid where you feel the pain of one of the characters which acts as a catalyst for the protagonist too. Even the subplot involving the mother of the protagonist is so well intended that it all did add to the personality of the protagonist who is at this point constantly reflective in his actions. This makes for a brilliant second hour ending in a moving final act which did tie all the loose ends together effortlessly. Even the manner in which they did conclude the romantic subplot was just excellent in a screenplay which is incredibly well written.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues range from funny to intense and they lines are really effective in communicating the underlying message of the film without getting preachy. The music is underrated and just brilliant here. The BGM is perfect and blends really well with the drama. The cinematography and the art design change consistently with the tone of the drama which was really heartening to witness. Director Anubhuti Kashyap has done an incredible job here balancing the humour and the intensity of the drama beautifully. But what was most important to me was that this subject had a female gaze to it and that ensured a more sensitive and organic kind of an approach which was wonderful to witness.
The performances are really good although most of the characters(other than the protagonist) are underwritten. The instagram sensation Shraddha Jain makes a confident debut as Dr. Kumudlatha although in a limited screen time. Puja Sarup as Sunita, Priyam Saha as Dr. Jenny, Anju Gaur as Dr. Bosky and Karishma Singh as Dr. Ruchi have their moments to shine. Paresh Pahuja as Arif is wonderfully understated. Indraneil Sengupta as Dr. Ashok will make your blood boil and if that is the sentiment then he has done a great job here. Ayesha Kaduskar as Kavya oozes of innocence and is at the centre of a very important social issue. She is just brilliant here. Abhay Mishra as Chaddi has an impeccable sense of humour and contributes to the comedic moments of the screenplay really well.
Sheeba Chadha as Shobha is such a sweet character and representive of many single mothers here. She has an underlying emotional touch to her character which she brings out beautifully onscreen. Shefali Shah is one of the finest actors in our country. And here as Dr. Nandini she is just wonderfully understated in s very dignified performance. I really wish her character had lityle more screen time because everytime she was on screen, she owned every frame. Rakul Preet Singh as Dr. Fatima is incredibly good here and this is one of the better performances in her short career. And Ayushmann Khurrana in his 2.0 delivers yet another knockout performance. It is heartening to see that his character did not coincide with the characters from his previous films(a part of the credit goes to the director Anubhuti too). He had a beautiful character arc and he compliment the story with his spectacular performance.
Doctor G is a wonderful drama that tactfully deconstructs and dismantles the male ego and toxic masculinity beautifully through his effective storytelling. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended!