Quickly onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Hindi series Dr. Arora which is streaming on SonyLiv. Helmed by one of my favourite filmmakers Imtiaz Ali, the subject which the series did intend to address is relevant and will continue to be relevant. In a country where s*x is a taboo(censoring the word to beat the google algorithm), s*x related issues will further be side lined. What my take is that these are very common issues and the more we as a society accept and talk about them, the more simple life in general with me. As they say, life is as simple or complex that you make it to be. That said, does Dr. Arora manage to drive home its point, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Dr. Arora follows the story of a doctor who helps out men and women facing issues related to s*x. And this story is a basic outline although there are multiple subplots which are introduced in the screenplay. The story, as I have mentioned before, is relevant and needed to be addressed. However, one of the reasons why I was skeptical is that I hoped the writers do not drill the ultimate message in your head and instead keep it subtle. There was a film lately Janhit Mein Jaari which again had a good plot but it was guilty of this charge of drilling the message in, which eventually made it a cumbersome watch. Thankfully, the writers keep the messaging simple and subtle. The screenplay standing at 8 episodes of 30 to 40 odd minutes each made for a slightly sluggish watch. And this had got to do with multiple subplots introduced in the screenplay.
The drama quickly introduces the viewers to the main players and I genuinely liked the earnestness which the writers brought to the screenplay. The issues which are dealt with are quite common and relevant and also presented simplistically. There are quite a few endearing moments which make for a compelling watch. But once the screenplay starts branching out, the problems creep in.
One of the major flaws in the screenplay was that it tried to pack in a lot of stuff. Had this been a more focused narration, focussing on some characters specifically, the impact would have been higher. To the writers’ credit, the transitions between the subplots which is usually the hardest bit is done effectively. Some of the plot points are nicely woven and intersected. But not all subplots work(and this may not be a fair assessment in my side yet as there is definitely another season on the cards, so this part will not affect my overall rating). Some of the characters could have further been fleshed out as well.
But there is much to like in the screenplay. The effort made to show the backstory of the protagonist is really sincere. I also enjoyed the detailing here(like the physical transformation of the protagonist due to incorrect medicines). This formulated for quite a heartwarming and heartbreaking watch which was nicely woven in the main plot of the series. Some of the other plot points are quite entertaining and humourous in parts. Mind you the screenplay is a slow burn so many may just dismiss it as boring. But there is more to it in this flawed yet endearing screenplay which ends on a heartwarming note, thereby setting it up perfectly for season 2.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are informative and definitely leave an impact. Also, the dialect is really good and true to the area where the drama is set in. The music is really good and deserves a playlist of its own. The BGM just blends beautifully in the drama. Directors Sajid Ali and Archit Kumar have done a good job although slightly rough around the edges. What worked for me the most was that the messaging was kept subtle and the focus was also on the implications when s*x as a subject is openly discussed in our society instead of it being hush hush.
The performances are really good here. Himani Shivpuri and Shekhar Suman definitely make their presence felt. Raj Arjun does a decent job, there were times where I couldn’t really follow his accent and had to rely on subtitles(maybe it was just me). Also the humour did not work for me in his character. Payal Pandey, Kangan Nangia and Het Thakkar are pretty good. Anushka Luhar as Payal is outstanding with a tremendous screen presence. Siya Mahajan as the younger version of Vaishali is fabulous to watch particularly in the scene where we see her outburst. Aditya Pandey as the younger version of Dr. Arora is really sincere in a job well done. Pitobash and Vivek Mushran are outstanding and it was a pleasure to watch both of them. Shruti Das as Putul is excellent and she manages to stand out amongst the crowd. Sandeepa Dhar as Mithu is pretty impressive and she does a swell job. Ajitesh Gupta as SP Tomar is pretty good too although I felt his character was slightly underwritten. Gaurav Parajuli as Devendar is fabulous and I loved his subplot a lot which set the drama rolling initially. Vidya Malavade as Vaishali is well restrained in a delicate yet conflicted role. You needed an able performer here and she delivers exceptionally. Kumud Mishra as Dr. Arora is a treat to watch. His calmness and subtle nuances are signs of a great actor that we are already privy to. This was a top acting performance which should actually be studied on how to approach a role without getting loud. Excellent performance!
Despite its flaws, Dr. Arora is a sincere attempt at addressing relevant subject powered by strong performances. Available on SonyLiv.