Doctor Do-Very-Little

I have always been greatly impressed by the way doctors (the ones which are trained to treat humans) have conducted themselves in Hindi movies. Not only have they thrown their weight around with a certain degree of royal fervour, they have done the sensibilities of the audience a great deal of good by bouncing off a large number of hamming heroes/heroines on screen. Following are a few general observations on doctors (as depicted in Hindi cinemas) which I’m sure is worth sharing with a wider audience.

First and foremost of all, a doctor in a Hindi cinema is usually shown saddled with two daunting challenges in life. One, it is his professional obligation to scare the living daylights out of his patients, their kith and kin, their dogs, cats, parrots, goldfishes and in general, the unsuspecting lay viewer who chooses to be sandbagged by such technical gobbledygook as lymphosarcoma of the intestine and its evil variants thereof (Remember Anand?). Two, a doctor has to be rather passionate towards his female accomplices associates with whom he is seen to rub shoulders in the day’s work. It’s a great deal of disservice to the noble profession if a youthful doctor isn’t shown wrapping himself around well endowed nurses in skimpy uniforms behind cupboards of laxative bottles. This will albeit be shown in a dignified and courteous manner becoming of a medic, and that too in his spare time, like, in between two complicated heart operations. Such scenes often end with a minor accident or two (like the cupboard toppling over) resulting in the couple getting  well lubricated with mint flavoured Mom Plus. Remember, all this is compulsorily done with the doc attired in a spotless white coat. Talk about being particular about dress code and all that! Besides this, a doc in a Hindi movie would be seen to wine, dine, sing, dance, go to a party, go for a morning walk, go to the bed at night, to the loo in the morning, to the beach, poolside, funeral, court, temple, rather anywhere wrapped at all times in a white coat. All other things are optional; he may have a ponytail, wear slippers, pyjamas, loongi, mundu, kachchha, underwear, specs,  hats, tattoos, or even nothing at all, but he would never desecrate his profession by slipping out of his white feathers even for a second.

Then, a doctor in a Hindi movie would unfailingly carry with him a rather large syringe with a stout looking needle, and which he will endeavour to insert into the unmentionables of his unwary patient at the slightest pretext. He would proceed to do this with a sudden jabbing movement and would usually be assisted in this act by a beefy sort of sidekick in khaki shorts, who would grapple with the subject briefly before restraining him with a vice like grip. Needless to say, such an act adds immense nonsense value and is unquestionably funny.

A doctor in a Hindi cinema shall always have detailed knowledge of every single medical speciality on earth. He shall uproot teeth with a common household sandaasi, give electric shocks with wires stuck in a 240 volt outlet for curing madness, read the ECG upside down, fix fractures with karate chops, cure piles by just a few soothing words, graft hearts working under lights from mobile phones, take bullets out of the brain without injuring a single nerve, return the eyesight of a blind mother 20 years after she lost it in a kumbh ka mela, perform the most complex of transplants like interchanging heads and butts and even kickstarting dead hearts by measures which include kissing and caressing in a scientific sort of way.

Coming to more specific situations, it must be mentioned at the outset that operation theatre scenes in Hindi movies, and of course the accompanying dialogues, are by far the most fascinating of all. Few broad rules are unfailingly followed. In the ‘delivery’ scene, the  heroine thrashes about emitting complex vocalisations (an observant viewer would admit that its the same set of vocalisations which she emitted while getting pregnant too)biting her lips, clawing the poor hospital mattress savagely, and suddenly arching up her belly in a bow like fashion. This is usually followed by an infant’s wail signaling an end to the viewer’s acute embarrassment. Then comes the all important dialogue. “Badhai ho….beta hua hai”. A common variations is “Badhai ho…aap papa / dada ban gaye hai” How tearfully original! But wait…..if there is a caesarean scene involved, the usual outcome is ominous. “Bacchhe ko to humne bacha liya hai……par afsos…..hum maa ko nahi bacha paye…..” (sad violin interlude) or “operation to ho gaya…..par afsos…..wo fir kabhi maa nahi ban sakti”  (sad violin interlude again).

However, docs in Hindi films are exceedingly devout and God fearing when it comes to owning up for the actions inside the operation theatre. So much so that almost each operation in a Hindi movie is concluded with a pious exhortation to Gods to intervene and save the hopeless patient’s life. Sample a typical scene: Doc comes out of the OT with a serious look on his face, mumbles “ab sab kuch uparwaley ke haath me hai” and before the baffled audience can even bat an eyelid, the doc quietly slips away through the patli gali. Awesome. Can any doc in real life ever muster enough courage to actually come out of the OT and put everything squarely on God’s shoulders without running the risk of getting roughed up by the patient’s relatives! “Uparwaaley ke haath mein……eh? Saa*la….baap ka raaj hai? Hospital ne paisa kis baat ka liya hai???”Never mind. Just an insignificant professional hazard which docs have to face every now and then. But it doesn’t end here. Bollywood’s dialogue writers have taken faith healing to the highest echelons. So much so that docs in Hindi movies freely advise patients and their relatives to chuck medicines out of the window and take recourse to prayer and faith. “Ab isse dawa ki nahi….dua ki zaroorat hai.” How convenient. No bitter pills to swallow; no pungent syrups to gulp. Just dua it!

Three random generalisations in the end.

(a) The length of a nurse’s skirt is inversely proportional to the alphabetical grade of the movie (A grade: knee length; B grade: mid thigh; C grade: ..well)

(b) A ‘Dil ka Doctor’ shall invariably have long hair, a boyish charm on his face & be surrounded by at least a dozen pretty nurses all the time. He shall be proficient in the art of dancing around trees in the rain, and of course an expert in the science of wooing heroines.

(c) In a Hindi movie operation theatre, the assistant always passes on the correct tools in the correct sequence to the surgeon, with robot like precision, and without the latter uttering a single word.  Real life OTs are messy and anarchic in comparison, with the surgeon mouthing the choicest of expletives all the time in perpetual dissatisfaction of the assistant’s perceived lack of commonsense. Only if all OTs were like those in the Hindi movies!

Well…that was a short, and admittedly insufficient, exposition on the medical profession as depicted in Hindi movies. Looking forward to your inputs in the comments section, which I hope shall add all the missing flavours for sure.

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23 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Eye-in-sty-in May 21, 2009 at 5:15 am -

    Nice one!

    Another one to add… the doctor’s ability is directly proportional to the importance of the character –

    1) Hero’s doc and villain’s doc is very efficient all throughout the movie

    2) If its a side-kick’s doc, then he will be certainly inefficient and the actor will either wind up dead, severely hendicapped or dis-figured

    • Rofl Indian May 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm -

      The heroine’s doc would emerge as the luckiest of all, though 😉

  2. ~uh~™ May 21, 2009 at 12:26 pm -

    It was refreshing to read this masterpiece again.
    There are many more interesting anecdotes/ slaient features related to doctors in Hindi movies, each of which demand dedicated post.
    1. Fake Doctors announcing brain tumur to confuse the hero ( Jimmy) or cure the blindness to trap the heroine (Johny lever in Badshah)
    2. Vilain Doctor (Doctor Dang- Karma 1986)
    3. Rich Doctor- poor patient, inversely proportional.
    4. Diagnosis- Brain cancer with a stethoscope.
    5. That famous scene ‘ Afsos- inki yardash kabhi wapas nahin aa sakta’.
    6. Unethical practices by Doctors and how they are cured (Sirf 24 Ghante).
    7. Quacks & self proclaimed docs( Baba Bangali Sealdahwale in NO Smoking)
    LOL on……….Just dua it !

    • Rofl Indian May 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm -

      One of the most amusing scenes is that of blood transfusions. The gallant hero is ever ready to jump onto a hospital bed with his arms extended, no, not to embrace the nurse, but to allow his blood to be drawn. Group matching is considered unnecessary, and the heroine invariably opens her eyes within 10 seconds!

  3. Nishchaya May 21, 2009 at 10:05 pm -

    I guess this was one of your old posts, nevertheless I enjoyed it reading again.
    well, there was one famous scene in the movie “Karz” where Rishi Kapoor plays the guitar and the doc observes his brain with some sort of ECG thing. That was classic stuff 🙂

    • Rofl Indian May 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm -

      Yes it is an earlier post. Hindi movies do go overboard while trying to depict something extraordinary. Most of the times, it becomes laughable. Hollywood flicks, though they seem fantastic, do retain the element of genuine surprise, and most look pretty convincing.
      Welcome aboard 🙂

  4. @k May 22, 2009 at 2:51 am -

    Hilarious! Loved it.

    You forgot to mention about the lalchi doctors who refused to visit bebas aur lachaar aam admi. The halaat-se-majboor admi thus started trying other cures ( This incident initiated the process of slow death of businesses of the lalchi doctors as garib junta started looking elsewhere for cure.
    Dusht logon ke saath aisa hi hona chahiye! 🙂

    • @k May 22, 2009 at 2:54 am -

      Sorry, some issues with earlier URL..

    • Rofl Indian May 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm -

      Oh yes of course. Its like the garib junta turning the needle towards the offending doc and giving a generous collective push! 😀

  5. g May 24, 2009 at 8:21 pm -

    ROFL. Also sadly, length of the nurses’ skirts inversely proportional to the sleekness of legs. Good legs = knee length/slightly below, plumpish = a tad higher, obscenely fat = oh well…

    Nice one!


    • Rofl Indian May 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm -

      I’ve never seen an obscenely fat nurse in a miniskirt. Can you imagine how many patients will end up with cardiac arrest watching such a spectre? 😀

  6. Dr roshan May 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm -

    hehe.. absolutely loved this post… awesome

    • Rofl Indian May 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm -

      Thanks Dr. Roshan
      Welcome to my blog space.:)

  7. Amit May 30, 2009 at 12:55 am -

    And the syringes are those which are used on horses. Huge and oozing of weird colored liquids. 🙂
    And when someone dies, the doctor comes out, and just moves his head from left to right. Sigh!
    Good post!

    • Rofl Indian May 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm -

      And before the doctor comes out, a gush of wind blows out a diya somewhere!
      Thanks for visiting Amit 🙂

  8. kochuthresiamma p j June 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm -

    nice post-
    when will indian cinema depart from formulaic docs!
    docs r no better in regional films too.
    btw, did u mention that category of docs who trade in human irgans?

    • Rofl Indian June 19, 2009 at 7:45 pm -

      Popular Indian cinema thrives on stereotypes. That probably wont change unless the Indian viewers start rejecting slapstick comic roles. The likelihood is, at best, slim 🙂
      Human organ trade hasn’t been touched upon in the post. It’s rather too gruesome a topic, and thankfully, it hasn’t yet been caricatured by film makers. We saw a glimpse in Ghajini, and that wasn’t amusing at all.
      Welcome to my blog.

  9. Foreign Desi June 18, 2009 at 7:49 pm -

    Haha, that was too funny!

    • Rofl Indian June 19, 2009 at 7:48 pm -

      Thanks 🙂
      Welcome FD

  10. le embrouille blogueur June 23, 2009 at 1:30 am -

    Hahaha …… loved the “sandasi” part …. also if you notice …but you have to give it to Suchitra Sen as a Dr…..too glamorous to be cured easily …and also special mention – Gracy Singh ….now with a Dr like that …even Munna Bhai has a chance ….funny as always …!!!

    • Rofl Indian June 24, 2009 at 12:25 am -

      I agree. They are special daktar-knees 😉

  11. Pravasi-Desi March 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm -

    talking of anarchy in the ots, i remember couple of decades ago, when a doc relative was performing what they said was a very critical obgyn surgery, a nurse was totally engrossed(youngrossed) with a “cute intern” and the great, disciplinarian and strict doc that the said doc was, in a fit of rage flung a scalpel/forceps at the nurse, which lead to a strike by the nurses’ union seeking apology from the doc(prof. & head obgyn)!!!

    RI: I guess we all have had such experiences. Our H.O.D. in the department of gen surgery habitually tossed forceps and sundry surgical articles if he was dissatisfied with their performance during operations. We had to duck every now and then to avoid those unpredictable missiles. 😉