"How can I treat something I don't have?" That's the question Dr Uday Gupta, a postgraduate medical student asks his classmate when she questions his reluctance in accepting a seat in the gynecology department. "There are some things that do not suit a male. Only females do it. One such is gynecology," says Gupta in a cheeky sort of way. Orthopedics was his first and only choice but that was not meant to be, and he now finds himself hopelessly stuck in a department where he happens to be the only male. Inside the gyneac ward, women patients refuse to get themselves examined by him or for that matter, by any male doctor.
In a country where the number of male gynecologists has gone down from 50 per cent to 2 per cent, the storyline of Doctor G seems both necessary and relevant. Through Uday's short but eventful stint inside the Streerog Vibhaag (gynecology department) at the government hospital Bhopal Institute of Medical Sciences, we get a glimpse of the highs and lows, falls and triumphs in the life of a male gynecologist, with a sensitive and humorous spin. But Doctor G is more than that.
Directed and co-written by debutante Anubhuti Kashyap, Doctor G takes up multiple issues and tries to fit them all in two hours, and in doing so, it leaves quite a few loose ends. There's a talk around the issue of teenage pregnancy and the moral questions that follow when Uday's distant cousin, married and a father, turns his back on a 17-year-old whom he makes out with. But the screenplay seems so rushed that it fails to make an impact. Likewise, the prickly social theme of a single parent's romantic relationship is barely scraped through. It would have been great to see how the dynamics in that department play out. Uday's mother makes no bones about her liking for a man her age and is eager for companionship after having spent a lifetime as a single parent. But her son fails to see that side of her, until she is driven to point it out to him in a face-to-face albeit restrained conversation.
Yet, the film keeps us hooked with Ayushmann Khurrana's very earthy screen presence and humour as he goes about his days as a solitary male in an all-woman department, putting up against a bunch of girls who give him a tough time before warming up to him. The head of the gynaecology department is Nandini Shrivastava (Shefali Shah), who makes him see the bright side of pursuing gynecology. "Let go of your male touch. Think about a doctor's touch. That will be very helpful," she tells him as a way of getting him over his inhibitions in treating female patients. Gradually, as Uday begins to settle into his specialisation, amid the chaos and confusion of an overwhelmingly crowded OPD in a public hospital, he develops a romantic bond with Dr. Fatima Siddiqui (Rakul Preet Singh).
Doctor G is a fun film, with the right amount of humour infused at the right places. Yet, there are times when the screenplay does test one's patience, especially during the times when the protagonist is made to introspect, reflect and turn unnecessary self-deprecatory.
There are also moments of sheer absurdity when one watches Uday carrying out a delivery inside the corridor of the hospital in front of fifty people on the pretext that it was an emergency. These lame scenes take away from the seriousness of the issue which forms the heart of the film. A sparkling performance by Ayushmann Khurrana is supplemented with a sharp screen presence of the other actors including Sheeba Chaddha. This is an entertainer that hits all the right notes when it comes to handling serious social issues and because of that alone, Doctor G is a film that also provides food for thought.
Doctor G cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Shefali Shah, Rakul Preet Singh, Sheeba Chaddha and Abhinay Raj Singh
Doctor G director: Anubhuti Kashyap
Doctor G rating: 3/5