What do women want their men to be? They certainly don’t want them to be Kabir Singh kind of alphas. They’re not averse to taking on lovers, but there’s a place for friendship in their lives as well. They’d appreciate it if guys gave them space and started believing in being friends without benefits instead of looking at women as playthings. And treat them as being equal in every sense of the word. That’s the message put out by the medical comedy Doctor G, which offers a refreshing take on man-woman relationships, among other things. The film is set in the gynaecology department of a government college in Bhopal. It showcases the lives of overworked doctors dealing with pregnant couples who have little knowledge of their condition, are prone to unnecessary fears, and often try to hide their actual problems with the people treating them.
G in the film stands for gynaecology. Our hero, Uday Gupta (Ayushmann Khurrana), is a medical student who wants to specialise in orthopaedics but gets a seat in gynaecology because of his less marks in the entrance exams. He plans to give the exam again and just sit the year out. The situation is hard for him because he’s the only male in the class. He feels awkward among all the females, but somewhere along the way, life teaches him to lose his ‘male’ touch and become the best doctor he can be.
The film is written with a female gaze, with the writers inverting situations faced by females in a male-centric work environment. Uday is mercilessly ragged by his seniors, is given lots of grunt work to do and is intimidated by senior professor Nandini Srivastav (Shefali Shah), who is a hard taskmaster and doesn’t suffer fools. But they don’t remain mean towards him for long and soon take him under their fold, smoothing his edges in the process.
It doesn’t help that he’s a clueless individual who isn’t woke enough to understand the needs and desires of women. His emotional growth has been stunted, and that has hindered every relationship he has had with the fairer sex. His girlfriend ditches him because she can’t tolerate his overbearing ways anymore. His widowed mother (Sheeba Chaddha) wants him to acknowledge the fact that she might want a companion late in life, and he can’t fathom the fact that fellow doctor Fatima Siddiqui (Rakul Preet Singh) just wants him to be a buddy and not a lover. Some hard knocks teach him the error of his ways.
We’re glad that Doctor G doesn’t turn into a medical romance. It has a separate track which deals with the horrors of underage sex and teenage pregnancy. Here too, the melodrama isn’t stretched out. Instead of victim shaming, the girl in question is mentored into believing there’s a life for her beyond her mistake. The sequences are portrayed with sensitivity and offer a lesson in what and what not to do in such situations.
It’s seldom that we come across well-written, well-acted, well-intentioned, and well-directed films, and Doctor G is one such rare gem. The narration is consistent throughout, keeping us in stitches by showcasing real-life situations. The gags aren’t forced but are holistically woven into the narrative. The situations that the lead characters find themselves in have a logical beginning and end. Uday’s ‘education’ is a gradual process. The insights he gets don’t happen overnight. It’s all nicely tied up with a nail-biting climax.
Director Anubhuti Kashyap has extracted fine performances from the entire ensemble cast in her debut feature. Shefali Shah is the personification of a strict department head who holds herself to high standards and wants everyone to emulate her example. The poise with which she mouths medical jargon makes you believe she’s an actual surgeon. Sheeba Chaddha just lights up the frame with her antics. Whether it’s her foray into food blogging or into online dating, everything is infused with tender moments. Her confrontation scene with her son overflows with dignity and grace. Ayushmann has taken a chance in playing a character who isn’t so likeable at first. The evolution of his character thaws him out to the audience, which ends up rooting for him. It’s another fine performance from the seasoned actor. He’s underplayed the role, letting his female colleagues take centre stage, which is good to see in a male star. Last but not the least, Ayesha Kaduskar, who plays the troubled teenager, too, has played her role realistically.
Doctor G is a conversation starter of sorts for several issues plaguing our society. Watch this well-made film for its positive message and for the inspired acting displayed by the entire cast.
Trailer : Doctor G
TNN, October 14, 2022, 2:15 PM IST
Doctor G Story: Dr Uday Gupta, aspires to specialize in orthopaedics, but much to his strong dislike, he lands up being the only male in the gynaecology department of a medical college in Bhopal. He takes it up, but soon finds himself caught in a series of hilarious situations and incidents. Will the experience make him better doc and a finer human – forms the crux of this medical campus comedy.
Doctor G Review: ‘Jo cheez mere paas hai hi nahi, uska ilaaj kaise karoon’ is a line that you’d never expect to hear from a doctor. Except probably this one – the funny, quirky, confused Doctor G (Dr Uday Gupta) played by Ayushmann Khurrana. And of course, another trait that stands out in this doc is how he’s comfortably unaware of his chauvinism and patriarchal beliefs. His world revolves around the stree-rog vibhaag of the medical college, though what he is desperately waiting for is to find an exit route from there. From the word go, the world of Anubhuti Kashyap’s Doctor G presents one character after another, well-sketched and each with a distinct personality that adds layers to the circumstantial chaos and conflict in Dr Uday’s life. Whether its Dr Jenny Jacob (Priyam Saha), Dr KLPD aka Kumudlatha Pamulparthi Diwakaran (Shraddha Jain), the nurses or Shobha Gupta (Sheeba Chadha as Dr Uday’s mom), the women in this story lend a lot of might to the narrative at every stage. The myriad characters bring a certain vibrancy to the story which is set largely in a medical college campus of Bhopal. Together, they beautifully set the mood and tonality of the film – light-hearted, funny and breezy for most part.
The makers of this film, Junglee Pictures, who are known to back unique and path-breaking films like Raazi and Badhaai Ho, have attempted to take the audience into a zone which has never been tapped in Hindi cinema before. Even a sensitive theme like losing the male touch, among some other relevant issues that unfold in the second half, have been effectively portrayed with well-written humour and scenes, which never take the slapstick route. The way comedy has been used is just right, there is never an overdose. Even in scenes where a serious topic is being handled, the impact is strong, but the delivery and performances remain subtle and dignified.
What could have become a cut-and-dry hospital comedy turns into an extremely palatable story, with an underlying social message. The writers, Sumit Saxena, Saurabh Bharat and Vishal Wagh, along with director Anubhuti Kashyap, have made it a point to narrate the story with a neutral gaze which has helped bring in the right elements that make a movie engaging. The music (Amit Trivedi) blends well. Newton (Altamash Faridi), O Sweetie Sweetie (Ayushmann), Har Jagah Tu (Raj Barman) lend a beautiful touch to the music album while peppy numbers like Step Copy (Amit Trivedi) and Dil Dhak Dhak (Raj Barman, Sakshi Holkar) add some much-needed zing and pep you up.
Ayushmann Khurrana is a natural at his act, whether he is the hassled doctor on campus trying to cope with all his women peers, handling the matters of his heart or reasoning with his mother at home on log kya kahenge kind of topics – he is utterly believable, hilarious and on point. Even as his character evolves, he never loses grip. His performance is lived-in and at par with some of his finer acts in the past. Rakul Preet Singh displays her acting chops beautifully without taking attention away from the central conflict of the movie. She lends excellent support to Ayushmann’s character, hand-holding him through his emotional crises and pushing him out of his old-fashioned beliefs and ideas about men and women. Shefali Shah continues her golden run with this film. Of course, one would have loved to see more of her, but even then, she undoubtedly aces the act, and elevates the film to a different level. Sheeba Chadha brings in a lot of laughs as Uday’s progressive mom, who while playing a perfect parent is also trying to live her life with abandon.
Anubhuti Kashyap’s first mainstream film boasts of her ability to bring out a host of nuanced performances. She shows her potential to direct a story in a manner that can thoroughly engross the audience, while also taking it in a direction that makes it a conversation-starter for the right reasons. Every character in Doctor G, performs their part finely to pump life into the story. Go, watch this at a theatre near you, sehat ki liye achcha hai!