Doctors are held in high esteem in the hearts and minds of our populace and our films more or less mirror that respect. Doctors have been mostly shown in a positive light in our films. They do their utmost to save the patients and their lives revolve around their profession. But it’s not that they are all cut from the same cloth. Over the years, Bollywood has developed certain types to the doctors and on the occasion on National Doctors Day, we take a look at different types of doctors depicted in Hindi films.
Dedicated: Dil Ek Mandir (1963)
Director: C. V. Sridhar
Cast: Raaj Kumar, Meena Kumari, Rajendra Kumar
This was a love triangle between a doctor, his lover and the man she eventually marries. It was quite melodramatic in content, in keeping with the kind of films that were being made but depicted the dedication of a doctor nevertheless. Dr Dharmesh’s (Rajendra Kumar) only lives to serve his patients. He’s nursing a broken heart because the love of his life Sita (Meena Kumari) has married a rich businessman Ram (Raaj Kumar). Ram gets cancer and comes to Dharmesh’s hospital for treatment. Sita isn’t sure Ram is the right doctor for her husband as his feelings might come in the way. To prove to her that his zeal for curing patients is bigger than his feelings for her, he dedicatedly works day and night to find a line of treatment and even suffers a heart attack in the process. He successfully operates on Ram but later dies out of exhaustion. Ram and Sita later erect a hospital in his memory.
Iconic: Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946)
Director: V. Shantaram
Cast: V. Shantaram, Jayashree
The film is based on the life of a real-life Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis, an Indian doctor who worked in China during the Japanese invasion in World War II and gave up his life treating his patients. The idealistic young doctor, played by V Shantaram, who also directed the film, learns that medical help is required by the Chinese who are held under siege by the Japanese and travels there at the height of the Second World War. He meets a Chinese girl there who becomes his assistant and in due course, they marry. Such is their zeal that on their wedding night itself, they set out to help the wounded after a raid. A plague sets in and in order to find a cure for it, the good doctor self-injects himself with it in order to develop ant-bodies. He’s able to develop a vaccine but later succumbs to the rigours of the profession. His young wife is seen coming to India along with his infant son in the climax.
Angry: Kabir Singh (2019)
Director: Sandeep Vanga
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Arjan Bajwa, Suresh Oberoi, Adil Hussain, Kamini Kaushal
Okay, we know doctors don’t drink on duty. They can’t be functionally alcoholic in real life. Amitabh Bachchan starrer Mrityudaata (1997) first showed that on-screen and then there was Kabir Singh. It’s is the official remake of the 2017 Telugu blockbuster Arjun Reddy. Shahid Kapoor reprises Vijay Deverakonda role of a brilliant but self-destructive surgeon who descends into alcoholism and drug abuse when his girlfriend Preeti (Kiara Advani) is forcibly married to someone else. Kabir excels at everything, he’s a university topper who is also a champion sportsman. When a football ground fracas leads him to thrash opposition players, he’s suspended from the college for some time. “I’m not a rebel without a cause, sir,” he rants to his dean (Adil Hussain), justifying that he lost his temper because the prestige of the college was at stake. What keeps us from noticing the film’s flaws outright is the power-packed performance by Shahid Kapoor. He has done an amazing physical transformation on the film, managing to look like a student at first and later as a young professional, shedding at least a decade. His body language too is spot on. The madness, the rage of Kabir Singh is made almost palpable through Shahid’s portrayal. His heartbreak and alcoholism seem real as well.
Rowdy: Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Gracy Singh, Boman Irani, Jimmy Sheirgill
Munna Bhai (Sanjay Dutt) has spent the last decade trying to con his parents that he’s a respectable doctor. He’s able to achieve this with the help of his right-hand man Circuit (Arshad Warsi). Circuit and his other gang members transform his house into a hospital whenever his parents — Sunil Dutt and Rohini Hattangadi, visit him in Mumbai. One day, however, his ruse gets caught and his parents go back to their village heartbroken. That’s when Munna decides to become a real doctor. Using his resources, he takes admission in a medical college, and falls in love with Suman (Gracy Singh), the dean’s (Boman Irani) daughter. Munna is totally zero at studies but understands human nature. He starts imparting ‘Jadoo ki jhappi’ — huge hugs to patients in order to make them feel better. He believes in providing holistic treatment and surprisingly cures a completely paralysed patient through constant care and sympathy. Though he leaves the college after realising he doesn’t have the educational qualifications to be a real doctor, he does marry Suman and they afterwards open a hospital for the needy in his village.
Flirty: Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya? (2005)
Director: David Dhawan
Cast: Salman Khan, Sushmita Sen, Katrina Kaif, Sohail Khan, Arshad Warsi
It is based on the 1969 movie Cactus Flower, starring Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Goldie Hawn. Samir (Salman Khan) is a very successful doctor who happens to be a ladies man as well. He’s commitment-phobic and doesn’t want to marry. Naina (Sushmita Sen), is his nurse who secretly loves him but has never spoken about her feelings. Whenever a girl starts getting too close, Samir puts her off saying he’s already married. He tries the trick on Sonia (Katrina Kaif), a beautiful young woman whom he’s currently having an affair with. Sonia wants to meet his wife and Samir introduces Naina, as well as her niece and nephew, as his wife and children. Later, he’s forced to get a ‘divorce’ from a wife he hasn’t married in order to marry Neha. But he realises he doesn’t love her after all and she too isn’t truly in love with him. The only woman who truly loved him was Naina, who is on the verge of taking a flight to Canada. He rushes to the airport and stops her, leading to a happy ending.
Idealistic: Bemisal (1982)
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee, Vinod Mehra, Deven Verma
It’s based on Uttam Kumar’s Bengali classic Ami Se O Shakha (1975). Dr Sudhir Roy (Amitabh Bachchan) has a brother named Adir (Amitabh Bachchan) who is mentally ill. He has been brought up by Magistrate Chaturvedi (Om Shiv Puri) and been accorded the same facilities as the magistrate’s own son Prashant (Vinod Mehra). Both grow up to become doctors. They both like their batchmate Kavita (Raakhee). Sudhir lets Prashant woo her and they soon get married. Prashant goes abroad for higher studies and returns a changed man. He starts charging exorbitant fees and starts doing illegal abortions as well. When one of his patients dies during an operation, Sudhir takes the allegation on his head. He even fudges hospital records to make the alibi airtight. He’s sent to jail for the crime and he makes Prashant promise that he and Kavita will henceforth use their medical knowledge for the betterment of the people.
Friendly: Anand (1971)
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo, Sumita Sanyal
The film depicted the friendship between a kindhearted doctor and a cancer patient. It starred two superstars — the current one, Rajesh Khanna and the one in the making, Amitabh Bachchan. Dr Bhaskar (Bachchan) is a cancer specialist who wants to do good by his poor patients. His kind nature makes him invest emotionally in his patients and he doesn’t like it when they lose the battle with life. Anand (Khanna) a man at the terminal stage of cancer enters his life and both become fast friends, so much so that he starts living in Bhaskar’s house. Anand discovers Bhaskar loves Renu (Sumita Sanyal), from a distance and tries to fix up their marriage. He kind of lights up everyone’s life in the short span of six months that he has. He passes away but not before teaching a valuable lesson to Bhaskar that he should learn to live in the moment and not take life, or death, too seriously. It gave the viewers a glimpse about what our surgeons, especially those who battle cancer, have to go through on a daily basis and made us realise the efforts they take to keep sane.