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Indian doctors in Britain in Bollywood-style film
By Prasun Sonwalkar, Indo-Asian News Service
London, July 11 (IANS) The experiences of Indian doctors in Britain's National Health Service has been captured in a romantic Hindi film produced by a senior doctor of Indian origin.
It is scheduled for release in end-August.
"Bhavishya - The Future" is produced by Nikhil Kaushik, 56, a consultant ophthalmologist at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales, and also a Hindi filmbuff.
It includes songs in typical Bollywood style and features doctors from real life in Britain and India. The cast includes noted actor Saeed Jaffrey.
Kaushik says that he initially planned to employ actors for his film: "(But) I realised I could get a more realistic film if I cast from the profession itself." The romantic leads, Akansha Tyagi and Vikrant Gautam, are both students coming to the end of their third year at Manchester Medical School.
He also put word out among colleagues at Wrexham Maelor that he was looking for interested amateurs and was pleasingly surprised by the interest. Among those subsequently cast were consultant dermatologist Rob Lister, consultant gynaecologist Bid Kumar, and consultant anaesthetist Simon Underhill.
Several scenes were shot in the hospital where Kaushik works, with clinical wards being converted into colourful sets during relatively quieter weekends. The scenes in India too feature real doctors (Harish Bhalla and Renu Nigam) and several scenes were shot in New Delhi and Haridwar, in India's Uttaranchal state.
Kaushik, a graduate of Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, came to Britain in 1977 and has been in Wrexham since 1987. He says: "I'd been watching how the medical profession is portrayed in films, and usually they're villains, killing people, or fighting with managers.
"The film explores what is so good and not so good about Britain...The reality is a different one in which you are balancing many things. Today you might be operating on a seriously ill patient, and tomorrow you might have an interview 200 km down the road. It's an unsettled life that people lead. That's what I wanted to say; and gradually a story brewed up and so I put it down on paper."
The film explores issues concerning medical migration - east to west and vice versa. It narrates the tale of the developing love between two young medics: a young doctor from Delhi who takes up work in the NHS and a British Asian doctor.
Kaushik has spent 100 000 pounds on the film, and says: "Making the money back is not an issue. I just wanted to do it."
The British Medical Journal this week described the film as more "Bollywood meets medical documentary meets health education promo than a standard feature Film". The journal added: "What it lacks in cinematic polish and performer professionalism it certainly makes up for in curiosity value."
Kaushik hopes to hold the film's 'world premiere' in the town where he lives and works, at the end of August. He said, "Films have been a passion of mine. There are a lot of dramas based on hospitals, which, by and large, focus on arguments about hospital resources and fighting between managers and doctors.
"But there are other subtle aspects of our personal lives, below the drama of the hospital. I thought of a story and one thing led to another and I found myself with a screenplay and script for the film."
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