True animal lovers will wince at the way rabbits, mice and other animals are callously used for pharma company tests. There’s not even a twinge of remorse at the suffering of living creatures as profit alone drives the mafia.
It gets worse when the camera swings to human guinea pigs, used even more heartlessly by a cabal of doctors, politicians and pharma companies.
Created and directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Mozez Singh with teammate Ishani Banerjee, the missing conscience is omnipresent in the enormous lengths the masterminds will go to, to cover up their crimes against humankind with a shrug that it’s only the poor who die and they lead miserable lives anyway.
Well shot and well narrated with interesting multi tracks, the 10-episode show goes beyond fudging facts and figures, skipping crucial phases of drug trials at the cost of human lives or using traumatised girls and torture for a global experiment to kill feelings.
At the fulcrum are much-honoured citizen of Bhopal, brain surgeon Dr Gauri Nath (Shefali Shah), the Cruella of super-speciality hospital Mantra, and Ashok Vaidya (Aditya Srivastava) of Vayu Pharma. No crime can flourish without political will, so a few rounds of ‘Kaun Banega Next CM’ are also played.
Important in such a narrative is one doctor who’ll stand up for what’s right and that’s competent heart surgeon Dr Saira Sabarwal – if only she didn’t have a secret of her own in the bedroom closet.
Using multiple characters and their little stories, Vipul and Mozez cast the net wide, bringing in Mangu (well played by Vishal Jethwa) to represent the victimised families of drug trial scams.
It’s intricately plotted and interwoven with Mangu smitten by a nurse, one of the traumatised girls at the experimental centre owned by wicked Gauri Nath and run by her equally unfeeling loyalist Roma (Seema Biswas). Roma who keeps repeating her maniacal refrain, ‘Pyaar dard deta hai’ to Gauri.
And there’s Gauri, fascinated by the brain and dangerously unhinged.
There’s a rude realness to the narration in scenes like the mortuary where dead bodies are handled with casual everydayness by the attendants.
There’s a shot at feminine power with the Begums of Bhopal (Gauri, Saira) out to rule.
But there’s also an overdose of the woman on top. Gauri Nath going back to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. Gauri’s flashback to decipher why she loathes the poor. Gauri’s past with abuse and her tryst with killing. Gauri’s monologues over a dead child. Gauri’s present where from boardroom to bedroom, everything’s shady, nothing is straight, sexuality too.
We all know that Shefali Shah is an efficient actress, she doesn’t require a showreel to drive that home. And, by overdoing it, the show is prolonged by at least two episodes, also tending to shift focus from the inhumanness of human trials to the story of a demented woman, wily and wicked. In the bargain the writing goes a bit wayward. Like you wonder why Dr Saira Sabarwal would let down her guard when she above all knows that Gauri is the devil incarnate and is aware that she’s still on the loose.
Fortunately, Kirti Kulhari has two full-fledged tracks of her own where she flirts with the perilous to uncover the misdeeds of the mafia and spends a lifetime covering up her own secrets. She gets her moment of notice in the showdown with her parents who’ve tuned off from facing reality.
Like Akshay Oberoi did as India captain Rohit Shanbagh in Inside Edge, keeping the lid on one’s sexuality before climaxing with a coming out of the closet sequence in public, has become de rigueur on the screen. All in the quest to spread awareness, I guess.
Human therefore succeeds on different levels. In creating awareness about the heartlessness of human trials, the politics and money power behind it, and about the realities of a post-Section 377 era. With parenting lessons thrown in, this too centred around Dr Gauri Nath. Ah well, it’s all a part of being human.
Watch Human Trailer: