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Ok OB/GYN: Anubhuti Kashyap’s ‘Doctor G’ is Subversive and Disconcerting But Raises Important Issues

Ok OB/GYN: Anubhuti Kashyap’s ‘Doctor G’ is Subversive and Disconcerting But Raises Important Issues

  • Among other things, the film sheds light on the deplorable lack of premarital sex education among men and women in India, even among male medical students.

Anubhuti Kashyap’s “Doctor G” is a 2022 Hindi-language medical campus comedy-drama film produced by Junglee Pictures. The film follows the struggles of a male doctor who is interested in orthopedics but instead becomes a gynecologist, leading to a comedy of errors because he seems so unfit in the outfit. A male fish out of water. The female students recognize his inadequacy covered by a male superiority complex and inadvertent crudeness. He is subjected to hapless ragging. Nothing tasteful about that but I shudder to think how a single female has been treated for eons in a male-dominated workplace.

The movie brought back memories of medical school. I was a valedictorian in my graduating class in Bombay. My colleagues were anxious to find out what subject I would pick. There were three boys who wanted the coveted orthopedics residency spot in Bombay. I wanted to do pediatrics but because of my rank, I could get any subspecialty. My classmates held a special meeting with me to figure out my selection, and to get a clear idea of their chances. 

In 1981, girls were encouraged to take up OB/GYN or pediatrics. Surgery and orthopedics were better professions for guys. I gave my batchmates some acid reflux but I had my heart set on becoming a neonatologist. 

My mentor was someone as accomplished, poised and empathetic as Dr. Nandini Srivastav in “Doctor G,” portrayed by the talented Shefali Shah. Shah has this extraordinary ability to pour herself into her character so effortlessly. She transported me back to my arduous training at the hospital. I chose pediatrics but ended up practicing pathology. There was a lot of resistance to my choice of a non-clinical branch because as mentioned in film, “pathology” is considered an ignoble profession dealing with “urine and feces.” This denigration of an important field of medicine and lack of sufficient compensation compared to other fields has led to a worldwide shortage of well-trained diagnostic pathologists. 

A woman’s need for companionship is portrayed poignantly by Uday’s mother Shobha Gupta (Sheeba Chaddha) and genuine friendship by Fatima Siddiqui (Rakul Preet Singh), Uday’s colleague.

As far as the story of “Doctor G” goes, Dr. Uday Gupta (Ayushmann Khurrana) is from a small town and wants to pursue orthopedics, inspired by his distant cousin Dr. Ashok Gupta (Indraneil Sengupta). Uday is forced to take gynecology (in his mind for a short time, till he can reapply for orthopedics). But Dr. Nandini astutely comprehends his internal dialogue and asks him to apply himself to his training and to lose his “male touch.” This sets off a series of transformative incidents in the obstetrics and gynecology department. Professional and personal. 

Overall the narrative is subversive and disconcerting but addresses several important issues — a woman’s need for privacy and ethics of male doctors to always have a female attendant while conducting an internal exam; the deplorable lack of premarital sex education among men and women and even among male medical students; how female diseases, female obstetric complications like placenta previa, and precipitate labor are responsible for fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality in suboptimal clinics and nursing homes; deplorable male attitude towards illicit affairs with susceptible women including minors showcased by Ayesha Kaduskar as Kavya Sharma; and, the lack of acceptance of male OB/GYNs by the general public in India.

A woman’s need for companionship is portrayed poignantly by Uday’s mother Shobha Gupta (Sheeba Chaddha) and genuine friendship by Fatima Siddiqui (Rakul Preet Singh), Uday’s colleague. Both ladies have portrayed their roles well. Sheeba Chaddha has mastery in appearing as a middle-class housewife with a voice that ranges from cajoling to strident. A penchant for making gheewale laddoos and a flair to temper every dish including Italian pasta with curry leaves. Rakul Preet Singh is beautiful with her flashing kohled eyes and pleasing outfits but she is as outspoken as they come.

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Ayushmann Khurrana does full justice to his attitude towards women in a male-dominated society, how they are the weaker sex, and if they show a slight interest in men, it’s a green signal for having an affair or getting married. I don’t blame his character Uday.  It’s still an acceptable norm in most parts of India to treat women the way Uday does.

Bombay has been more broad-minded in accepting the fact that people from the opposite sex could form platonic relationships. I still remember a visiting resident physician from Rajasthan who had mentioned to me once, “In any city outside of Bombay, if a girl and boy meet in the cafeteria and discuss class notes they are automatically assumed to be girlfriend and boyfriend. I think this attitude is real, and pervasive and stems from the concept of a woman being assumed to be a man’s property. What happens to Uday’s character, does he have a change of heart? Does he adopt the G in Gynecology or does he skip to fix broken bones? For that, I recommend you watch “Doctor G.”

With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published hundreds of poems, movie reviews, book critiques, essays and contributed to combined literary works. Her two books are My Light Reflections and Flow through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM and the Princess Theater.

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  • This movie felt spot on to me. I am not a medico but friends who are have shared parts of their ordeal and my ex husband was exactly to the T Ayushmann’s character. A mix of machismo, deep insecurity and absolute chauvinism. But so human at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing the review. Bless you all. A pathologist trained in India and now extremely senior was able to diagnose my infant daughter when no one else could. I can’t imagine this world with her bright smile – due in part to the unseen but very skilled eyes of a pathologist who could see in a slide the tiniest of abnormal newborn neurons.

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