Corona has given us our respect back
The makers of a YouTube series on doctors that's seen 45 million views, say the world is waking up to the worth of the medical fraternity
Because of a monster called Corona, we may be looking at our medical warriors differently, but as Dr Nishant, a protagonist on the web show, Operation MBBS, says, "Jab tak marne ki naubat nahin aati, koi doctor ko yaad nahin karta."
General practitioner Dr Pravin Yadav is on the writing team of the show produced by Dice Media, the longform storytelling channel of digital entertainment firm Pocket Aces. "I am on standby to go to duty. The medical fraternity feels that we are going to use this opportunity to show what we are made of. We are finally getting the respect we should," he says.
If the makers, including creative director Ajay Kumar, wanted to create empathy for the medical fraternity in the time of Corona, they've succeeded.
Amrit Raj Gupta
The show has crossed 45 million views on YouTube, and received close to 60,000 comments, mostly from the students of NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Under Graduate), a medical entrance examination. The show follows the lives of Dr Nishant, Dr Saskhi and Dr Huma, played by Ayush Mehra, Anshul Chauhan and Sarah Hashmi respectively, all in their first year at medical college. The team of writers, which included Ayesha Nair (Adulting) and director Amrit Raj Gupta (Gullak), agree with Yadav, although Nair adds that it's unfortunate that a pandemic had to happen to make us look at doctors in new light. "We wanted to keep it real so that the audience could relate to it, and Pravin helped by bringing his life experiences to the table," says Nair. Gupta explains that Dr Yadav had told them of a gentleman who had been studying medicine for 14 years. "We talk of engineering students, but not of medical students and how hard they study."
Dr Yadav suggested that the grind should be at the centre of the story. "If you don't study even for 10 days, you will be asking yourself if you can make it to the next year. You can't move ahead unless you are serious about the goal. Your decisions affect other people's lives, so you have to be serious," he says.
But much like the American television series, Grey's Anatomy, which has millions of fans all over the world, the makers of Operation MBBS wanted to make sure everyone found a bit of themselves in the show, even those not pursuing medicine. "Emotions are universal, like jealousy and peer pressure. We have all seen or experienced it," says Nair.
For Gupta, the feedback has been surprisingly positive and that he has doctors in his own family makes it heartening. "The struggle that goes into becoming a doctor makes the respect and money they receive well deserved," he believes.
With each episode boasting a viewership of between eight and 10 million, it's clear that everyone working from home, and under lockdown, is watching the show about a profession that's turned out to be the most important on the planet. "We need them [doctors] for our survival. And that's why people are watching. They have connected with the characters, and the actors have in turn, connected with the audience."
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