Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Gurney

A temporary warmth before the coldness of the gurney. The delicious afterglow before the stinging rebuke of hyper reality.

Brazenness to reach out for the forbidden, coupled with a reticence to face the repercussions. Yearning for a second coming and learning that the winged chariot flies ever faster. The mystique of the number 11, the magic in the eyes of the black familiar.

The second murder, the most bloodless one yet. The perfect crime, the one with no consequences to the soul. The accomplice left alone at the scene of the perpetration, the usual way.

Fleet footed are the ways of running from one misdemeanor to another.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Despair and Hope

The days are bearable. The sun's brightness keeps the gloom and doom at bay.

Keeping busy with the mundane trivialities of daily life also acts as an antidote to the poisonous vituperation of an existence blighted by the Other. The Other that is at best neutral and at worst hostile to everything that can make life live.

But I digress. As I go on measuring my life in cigarette butts, sometimes the trees turn green. They begrudge me even those precious few minutes of bliss.

For true despair to exist, there must be a glimmer a hope...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Physician, Heal Thyself...

Medical dramas and legal dramas both make for compelling viewing – Robin Cook and John Grisham both sell millions of books; ER and The Practice both attracted millions of eyeballs; and Outbreak and A Few Good Men both sent viewers’ adrenaline racing. Then how can a film that combines aspects of medical drama and legal drama, and is based on a sensational true story that rocked the nation, leave one so cold?

The answer lies in the writing. Every character – the  strong mother, the earnest intern, the arrogant doctor, the determined lawyer, even the eponymous child – is a stereotype, an example of shoddy, cliched, hackneyed, lazy scripting. And the answer lies in the unnecessary padding of the two love stories that are dragged unnecessarily into the narrative just to bring the film closer to the Bollywood archetype.

The common man has a capacity of tolerating scams and corruption, but finds it difficult to condone cases of medical negligence. Probably it is because the common man is loath to accept that god-like figure – the medical practitioner – as a human figure with feet of clay. Ankur Arora Murder Case is such a tale of medical negligence – the story of how a child Ankur Arora (Vishesh Tiwari) dies because of Dr Asthana's (Kay Kay Menon) negligence, and how his mother (Tisca Chopra) fights for justice with the aid of the doctor’s protege (Arjun Mathur), and a lawyer (Paoli Dam).

The one good thing about the movie is the performances. Kay Kay Menon is incapable of a poor performance, while Tisca Chopra is always a delight to watch. Vishesh, as evinced in Ek Thi Daayan, is a natural talent. Paoli Dam tries her best, while Arjun is earnest. Manish Chaudhari, Harsh Chhaya, and Sachin Khurana add their usual competence. Which makes it all the more pitiful to watch actor after actor try desperately to rise above the shackles of the comatose screenplay. 

So what does this film have in store for members of the medical profession? A cautionary tale of how pride and overconfidence can lead a doctor to overlook a routine, mandatory procedure before a surgery, Ankur Arora Murder Case tries to add adage to the old saying: “Physician, heal thyself!”

The movie tries to look at an emotional issue from every aspect of the noble profession — from the young interns' side, from the reputed senior doctor’s side, from the side of the people who run hospitals, and from the perspective of parents who have children in the medical field. There are enough medical terms thrown about to provide evidence that at least some research had been done into the world the movie tries to portray.

Just a pet peeve: why could the movie not have been called Ankur Arora Medical Case? That way, there could have been at least a modicum of suspense about the tale, a desire to stay and watch a story unfold. Is it because director Suhail Tartari had earlier helmed a movie titled My Wife’s Murder, and perhaps ascribed the moderate success of that venture to the talismanic presence of the word “murder” in the title?