The field of medicine is a constantly evolving one, with new therapies and treatments emerging on a daily basis. From generic healers to specialized doctors for every part of the body, we have indeed come a long way. Bollywood has caught up with this trend too, slowly but steadily. From the vintage "Ab isse dawa nahi, dua ki zaroorat hai", to well-developed and well-written doctor characters, Bollywood has begun to show the medical profession in a truer light. Thus, on the occasion of World Health Day, India-Forums decided to take a trip down the medical lane and visit hospitals of some of the most famous medical professionals in Bollywood.
Ranbir-Alia joined by Kareena, Karisma & Navya captured in a memorable moment from SRK's 58th birthday bash
The first hospital on our list belongs to Dr. Sushil Verma (Raaj Kumar) and nurse Karuna (Meena Kumari). Kumar portrayed a general surgeon, who was constantly juggling a busy career rife with surgical emergencies and his often stressful home life. On the other hand is nurse Kuruna, who seems to strike quite the balance between her professional and domestic lives. Both characters are memorable due to the realistic portrayal of the profession, and for the easy camaraderie between the colleagues - a relationship based on mutual respect and care that gradually blossomed into a romantic one. The movie also delicately captured the ethical struggles of doctors and the heavy burden on their time; for instance, when Dr. Verma's angry wife refused to tell him about an emergency surgery, a patient succumbed to his disease.
While the movie's songs are definitely one of the highlights, Rehman's portrayal of nurse Radha is also particularly memorable. Radha was a nurse in the Sino-Indian war, who then joined a hospital psychiatric ward. The movie showcased the toll that patients can take on medical professionals. After pouring her heart and soul into taking care of Dev (Dharmendra), Radha is shunned and forgotten once Dev gets better, thus leaving her heartbroken. When Arun (Rajesh Khanna) is brought in and Radha is asked to repeat the same treatment, she is unable to take it and experiences a breakdown, ending up in the same ward Dev and Arun were once admitted in.
Anand (1971) may be considered a cult classic due to the presence of Rajesh Khanna, but it would be incomplete without Amitabh Bachchan as Dr. Bhaskar. Interestingly, Bachchan played an oncologist aka a cancer specialist, one of the first depictions of such a speciality. The movie showcases the ambitions of young doctors and the reality check that they face later in life. Bachchan believes that he can use his training and education for the good of the poor, but is soon disenchanted after seeing the suffering and illness all around him. Khanna, as a charming and chirpy Anand, changes Dr. Bhaskar's perceptions, and helps him become a mature doctor who treats patients with empathy and care.
A partial remake of Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960), Armaan (2003) was the story of three brilliant doctors against a hospital backdrop - Dr. Siddharth Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), a general physician, Dr. Akash Sinha (Anil Kapoor), a surgeon, and Dr. Neha Mathur (Gracy Singh), an anesthesiologist. This film explores the dilemma doctors face when it comes to balancing their work, their relationships, and their dreams. Dr. Siddharth wishes to build a state-of-the-art hospital for his patients, but ultimately does not have the funds or time to do so. Dr. Akash wants to fulfill his father's dream but also loves Dr. Neha and must choose between the two. Dr. Neha wants the best for her mother, and her patients, and often ends up putting others before herself. While the film did not do well, it did shine a light on the struggles and aspirations of doctors, and showcased the sacrifices they make for their vocation.
Khan has explored the role of a doctor inmovies like Kyon Ki (2005) and 3 Idiots (2009) in the past, but perhaps the most realistic is that of Dr. Preet Sahni, a doctor cum activist in Udta Punjab (2016). Specializing in addiction medicine, she deals with substance abuse and rehabilitation in order to change her patients' lives and society as a whole. Her character is selfless, such that she does not hesitate to put her life at risk to trace the drug problem in Punjab. She goes above and beyond her duty as a physician to find a way to put an end to drug-related overdoses, psychological breakdowns, addictions, etc. Khan's approach and performance remains etched in our minds due to the accuracy of displaying the resolve and commitment of a doctor towards their patient.
The medical profession has always been an integral part of Bollywood, though sometimes only as comic relief or as a conveyance for the protagonist couple to profess their love. Nonetheless, many movies have done a rather good job at portraying the true nature of the profession and its many facets. Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) had Boman Irani play the unforgettable Dr. J.C Asthana (Boman Irani) and Mohnish Behl was spotted in Vivah (2006) as Dr. Rashid Khan. As India-Forums signs off, do let us know in the comments below who your favorite physician in Bollywood is!
Writer: Minnie G.
Editors: Anushka J. and Gunia K.
Graphics: Liana G.
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