Mumbai, 23 Jul 2022 10:00 IST
Kumud Mishra's portrayal of the protagonist is a major reason why the SonyLIV show works.
The trailer of the SonyLIV drama Dr Arora: Gupt Rog Visheshagya indicated that the show is about a sexologist’s interactions with a number of his patients. But very early in the show, we realize that it’s much more than this.
Created by Imtiaz Ali and directed by Archit Kumar and Sajid Ali, the show takes place in 1999 in the hinterland of India. Dr Vishesh Arora (Kumud Mishra) is a dedicated homoeopathic sexologist who runs clinics in Madhya Pradesh's Jhansi, Sawai Madhopur and Morena. He keeps travelling to these three cities where he is a lot in demand throughout the week. Arora, however, has kept his profession a secret even from his mother (Himani Shivpuri) as it’s considered taboo.
The show focuses on a few of his interesting patients. Devendar Thakur (Gaurav Parajuli), a strong man of a political party, suffers from erectile dysfunction which stops him from having fun with his new neighbour Putul (Shruti Das), a married woman. A short-tempered and brave superintendent of police Tej Pratap Tomar (Ajitesh Gupta) is unable to satisfy his wife Mithu (Sandeepa Dhar) because of premature ejaculation.
Firangi Baba (Raj Arjun), a fake ascetic, also approaches Arora because he is unable to physically satisfy his female disciples. A newspaper publisher Dinkar Bagla (Vivek Mushran) brings his teenage son to the doctor since he feels his sexual awakening is a sin.
The trailer of Dr Arora sets different expectations. If you are able to forget the trailer, there are chances that this web-series will not only amuse but also move you.
Dr Arora’s patients aren’t treated as just people suffering from sexual dysfunctions. They are important characters and their personal lives form a key part of the show. In a way, this is the makers’ way of saying that just about anyone can face such issues and one shouldn’t feel ashamed of them. While the makers have portrayed the plights of the patients with humour, the narrative never makes light of their situation.
More interestingly, Dr Arora’s personal story forms a major part of the narrative. Around 18 years ago when he was newly married, his wife (Vidya Malavade) left him as he was unable to sexually satisfy her. This made him determined to solve his issue and become a sexologist.
Dr Arora also recreates the pleasing atmosphere of small towns in 1999. The simplicity of the world around the protagonist stays with you long after the show is over. Along with the production design, the music is also impressive. In fact, this setting is suited to any story set in a small town. This can be seen as the makers’ way of normalizing the subject.
The characterization of the protagonist is mighty important. Dr Arora is a calm-minded, empathetic and, most importantly, non-judgmental individual. He does have some minor flaws but this makes him more human and the show more real. Mishra brings out these qualities exceedingly well, at times just speaking through expressions and a gentle smile. When his character goes through turmoil, you instantly feel for him, simply because of the artiste’s portrayal.
The rest of the actors also put their best foot forward. Vidya Malavade, as Arora’s estranged wife Vaishali, succeeds in showing her vulnerable side, which justifies her act of leaving Dr Arora. Mushran is commendable as the vengeful publisher and a strict father. Gaurav Parajuli, Ajitesh Gupta, Raj Gupta, Sandeepa Dhar, Pitobash Tripathy, Anushka Luhar, Shakti Kumar and Shekhar Suman do well in their respective supporting roles.
Dr Arora has a few things going against it. The flashback portion of the young Dr Arora and Vaishali, played convincingly by Aditya Pandey and Siya Mahajan, shouldn’t have received so much screentime. Similarly, the sub-plot about the MLA and Shekhar Suman’s character doesn’t serve much purpose since it hardly is related to the main plot.
But Dr Arora has enough going for it and the tense moments in the finale justify the indication a second season.
Dr Arora: Gupt Rog Visheshagya is being streamed on SonyLIV
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