Doctor G is a film that has two halves. The first half is a cringe fest with a lot of stereotypical characters and jokes that don’t work. There’s also some background music that could belong in a 90s movie. After an interval, the film turns into a touching coming-of age drama with many moments that will make your stomach churn. This film takes the Ayushmann Khurrana formula beyond its limits. It is still watchable despite its jarring nature, largely due to Ayushmann’s and Shefali Shah’s performances.
Doctor G is an Ayushmann Khurrana classic. This film is about a guy from a small town who finds himself in an unusual situation. With the support of his family, friends and his loved ones, he discovers there’s more to life than what people perceive. He overcomes his doubts and accepts his imperfections. The plot of Doctor G. Is it Badhaai Ho, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, or Vicky Donor? You get the idea. Gynaecology is taboo here and Ayushmann is currently the only male doctor at this all-female Bhopal medical college.
It is clear that the protagonist is sexist, and the film demonstrates it well. You don’t have to like Dr Uday, but you can relate to him from the small-town, middle-class patriarchal environment you see all around. He is not likeable, but he is definitely relatable. Ayushmann takes care of the rest. It’s too easy to get into the skin of a character such as this. But, sadly, it has become repetitive. It doesn’t look fresh when you present the same template every year with a different garnish.
The film starts poorly. The comedy element of the social comedy is not quite right. Jokes about male or female anatomy, and mimicking childbirth on a woman are a bit too juvenile. Cringe-a minute is the first hour of this film. You start to wonder if there’s a point. The moment Shefali Shah appears onscreen, this cringefest stops dead in its tracks. Shefali Shah, the head of the gynaecology division Dr Nandini is as charming and intimidating as anyone could wish. I wish she was more like her than the comedy writers tried to make of her.Shefali Shah is the star of the film and steals the show every time she appears onscreen.
Uday, who is reluctant to enter college and is being dragged around by his seniors at the college, introduces many characters. The film ends with most of the characters being lost forever. This editing flaw renders several scenes unusable and makes it difficult to keep track of what’s happening. Ayushmann manages to get through despite looking a little tired by the material. Rakul Preet Sing plays his senior (and eventual love interests). Dr Fatima is decent, but has very little to contribute to the story. However, the over-the top and smarmy dialogue ruin many of these moments.
Doctor G – After Interval
After the interval, however, a completely different movie begins. If you are wondering if you’ve stumbled into the wrong auditorium, you can be forgiven. Post-interval Doctor G is sensitive, emotional and heartwarming. It even gets melodramatic at its climax. It manages to be a bit preachy while still addressing important issues such as gender inequality and medical ethics. This is a huge win for a film dealing with these topics. In the second half, the same writing that held Doctor G back in part one sets it free. It’s strange, but I have no complaints about the improvement.
Ayushmann Khurrana is a bright, cheerful person. However, he should also note that the formula, the trope is getting old. He must reinvent himself before it’s too late. Rakul Preet is very limited in her roles in the film. This is a shame because she is genuine and likeable in all scenes. Shefali Shah is the star. It’s a fact I have repeated before, and it will be repeated again. She is at the peak of her career and easily one of the best actors in the country. It is evident that she effortlessly balances authority and sensitivity. Ayesha Kaduskar plays a teenage woman in love with an older married man. This was the surprise package for me. Her maturity and grace in handling this brief and difficult role is admirable.
Doctor G could have been an even better movie. It could have been worse. But, if you look at the first half, it’s obvious. It’s a mixed coming-of-age drama that will appeal to its audience. It is not pretentious and can sometimes get a bit sour in places. It is saved by its actors who bring new life to a tired script. If you don’t believe me, go watch it!
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