National Doctors' Day: From Anand, Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. to Arjun Reddy, check out these five films in Indian cinema on doctors
July 1 is celebrated as National Doctors’ Day in India to honour the birth and death anniversary of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy who was the second chief minister of West Bengal, but more importantly was a freedom fighter, educationaist, philanthropist and one of the most-respected physicians of his time.
In recent times, the significance of the day has increased owing to the pandemic that has put doctors in peril who constantly expose themselves to the virus while treating people. While the nation celebrates National Doctors’ Day, we take a look at how Indian cinema has paid an ode to the fraternity through some unforgettable films and characters.
This 1967 Hindi film featuring Rajendra Kumar and Saira Banu in the lead roles follows Dr Gautam, an Indian doctor who after earning his degree in London decides to work in Japan. It’s not the glamour of working overseas that attracts him to the island nation, instead Dr Gautam goes there on a mission to help find a cure for atomic-bomb survivors, and to spread the message of world peace like Gautam Buddha. The film was quite unusual in that era. Even though the sets may appear amateurish today, the screenplay and the commendable performances make this movie a must-watch, particularly because it captures the devotion and commitment of the doctor to humanity.
The song from this film, ‘Zindagi… kaisi hai paheli hai…’, perhaps best describes life, and the movie captures the friendship between a doctor and a cancer patient. Remembered as one of the golden films in Bollywood, this Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s production starred the two biggest superstars – Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna – as the two friends. Bachchan played the role of Dr Bhaskar and Khanna was cast Anand. The movie not just makes one ponder over life and its experiences, but it also offers a glimpse into what doctors go through while treating patients particularly those who are battling fatal conditions like cancer.
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.
This Bollywood flick by Rajkumar Hirani, starring Sanjay Dutt as Munna, a goon who lies to his parents that he is a doctor, turned out to be such a superhit that it was remade in several languages. Though a satire on the medical fraternity, the movie captures some really critical and emotional moments in a doctor’s life and profession. Humour is used to convey a key message about how doctors save lives. The movie was a superhit in Telugu as well. It was titled Shankar Dada M.B.B.S. and starred Chiranjeevi in the title role.
This Mani Ratnam movie though is categorised as a romantic war film, it attempts to showcase what the life of an army doctor looks like. Aditi Rao Hydari who plays the heroine is cast as Dr Leela. From taking charge when she has not even reported on duty to treating patients in remote camps, the movie throws light on the lesser-known life of doctors serving the defence forces.
When this movie was released in the South, it created waves for its portrayal of the lead character played by Vijay Deverakonda. Arjun Reddy is the story of a brilliant doctor who has anger management issues. The movie though a romantic drama recreates the atmosphere of a medical college. The film was remade in Hindi as Kabir Singh, and it turned out to be a superhit. However, the medical fraternity may not agree with the portrayal of the house surgeon’s life, yet, the film is one of the significant movies made in Indian cinema that pays a tribute to doctors.