I won’t shy away from admitting that Indian television has slowly but steadily deteriorated in providing meaningful entertainment to the audience. In real life, however much development might have crept into the viewers, the characters that fill up the screen normally stink with same-old bitchiness, petty-mindedness and kiddish traits. Even more ludicrous are the beaten to death concepts of saas-bahu pecking and post-marriage flings which have been glamorously incorporated with gaudy looking females who have melodramatic, Sati-savitri dialogues at their disposal every minute.
And the most hilarious fact is that audiences do relate to such cacophonous characters day in day out. Probably that’s why the number of such soaps seem to proliferate like yeast in a stinking fermentation vessel, and sensible serials are either ripped off-air or suspended abruptly.
In such a scenario, if there’s one serial that provides wholesome sesnsible entertainment, its in the form of Dhadkan—A Tribute to the Medical Fraternity.
In case the title above must not have suggested, Dhadkan is a medical-drama series running Monday to Thursday on Sony Entertainment Television telecasted at 2.30 p.m. and repeated at 10.30 p.m. in UK and India. What it promises to deliver is a taut and emotional peek at the lives of the doctors , management and the patients of a private hospital in each of its episodes. But does it really deliver? Read on to find out.
.::THE STORIES THAT FORM DHADKAN::.
Dhadkan, quite refreshingly, doesn’t have a single protagonist or a single storyline. In fact, almost mirroring the real hospital choric life, it has a new plot every week. What probably remains stationary are the doctors and the surgeons who alternately move into focus with each successive week. The principal doctors and their stories in brief are as follows:
Dr. Raj Pradhan(Suresh Oberoi): One of the senior-most doctors in question, his dedication on-screen is presented so powerfully, that even when his daughter was caught and raped in the riots, he was in the operating theatre dealing with a critical case in the same riots.
Dr. Allen Fernandes (Sushant Singh): An army-doctor and consequently the toughest of all—so much for his roughness in operating that he care two hoots about even scrubbing the patient before an operation. Humorous and witty, he again fits in the bracket of seniormost doctors.
Dr. Chitra Sheshadri (Mona Ambegaonkar): Dr. Chitra is a recently appointed HOD of Paediatrics. Her dedication to her profession leads to a separation with her husband (and daughter) who’s stubborn in leaving for Holland and wants Dr. Chitra to accompany. Quite sensibly, Dr. Chitra chooses to stay back, though the mental impact the separation has had on her is thoroughly visible, as she metaphormises from a serious doctor to an insecure person.
Ms. Mallika Sareen (Achint Kaur): The CEO of the hospital, her sole aim is to run the institution profitably and it doesn’t matter how. Authoritative, arrogant and stinkingly professional, Mallika has all it takes to turn the hospital’s staff go around. Be it ordering enquiries, drawing the revenues, nit-picking the patients, she is a person who works with her head.
Dr. Rajiv Agarwal (Ram Kapoor): A senior psychologist by profession, life for Dr. Ram takes a U-turn when he comes across a mentally challenged girl Chanchal (Gautami Shroff) who has been tortured by her barbaric husband for years. Though Raj’s ways of caring for Chanchal do suggest he’s in love, yet Chanchal’s repeated hallucinations and fears have kept the love-relationship far from blooming.
Dr. Aditi and Dr. Rehaan (Kabir): Probably the only love-birds in this serial. Young, cute, ambitious and hard-working, even though their relationship started on a bitter note (what with Dr.Rehaan being accused of murdering a patient on the stretcher on his very first day of his service!), yet their positioning in the same O.T. and a clearing of misunderstandings has resulted in both caring for each other, albeit secretly.
.::IS DHADKAN CLOSE TO REAL-LIFE HOSPITAL SITUATIONS?::.
Probably the make or break question here. And the answer is yes and no. Yes, because in the present scenario, Dhadkan remains probably the only decent Indian tele-serial that has catapulted the medical fraternity replete with all the adequate research (which shows on screen) done on the management and working of a real hospital. No, because it has given in to the audience’s demand and has lost some of its rawness in the process that was so evidently visible in the first few episodes. The team and the writers have of late getting swayed more into the dramatic sequences , which though are immensely watchable if revolving around the patients, don’t really strike a chord when doctors are shown romancing.
On the flip side, each of the episodes of Dhadkan revolving around a patient normally finish in a week and are tautly written pieces of drama. Some of the best sequences that I can vividly remember are from the first episode where a young boy suffering from cerebral malaria was being rushed into the hospital. The drama which unfolded later revolving around the lack of finances on the part of boy’s family moved me immensely.
In fact, almost pertinent in every second episode of Dhadkan is an under-priviledged patient (like a taxi-driver going for a kidney dialysis) which tugs at you. Through this, the team directly conveys the world of misplaced ideas and myths which the illiterate people carry all through their lives. Also, a stark contrast between dedication of the doctors towards the patients and the professionalism of the management is vividly drawn.
Then there was this episode of the hospital’s manager’s nephew being diagnosed for diabetes. The pressure that he had put on the hospital and the doctors was surreal. Also, Dhadkan has never shied away from displaying variety. Be it the haste of the Emergency Room or the trauma of a tumour-stricken patient, everything is captured brilliantly. There have also been numerous episodes dealing with childbirth and abortion, AIDS, cancer, amputation and mastectomy and all have been splendid in their own way.
Another factor that makes Dhadkan appealing is that the doctors aren’t projected as Gods . Operations do go wrong, complications do occur, doctors also indulge in fraudulent menaces for monetary benefits and enquiries are also held.
Of special mention is an episode where three critical patients (2 drivers and a minister’s son) are rushed to the hospital and Dr.Rehaan operates the driver and the minister’s son is left to die. Though at once even I was flabbergasted by seeing this episode, but when the doctor was being publicly humiliated by the dead son’s father, he told him that his son had the least chances of being alive, and was hence the last priority when deciding on whom to operate first, which had put my doubts to rest.
Such detail, and such research is what makes Dhadkan special.