Inside a bus somewhere in UP-MP-Rajasthan, a young woman flashes cleavage and navel and heaves her chest as our village damsels in brief cholis tend to in all our shows. Devendar Thakur (Gaurav Parajuli) with youthful jumping hormones can’t wait to meet her around the corner and throw her on the cot but…
To her cries of ‘Namard’, he flees.
Putul (Shruti Das), a married woman next door with the same heaving chest syndrome throws come hither looks and offers badam dudh to Devendar. But…
A small-time aide to the local MLA, Devendar desperately needs Dr Vishesh Arora (Kumud Mishra), the sex doctor’s expertise.
The young man isn’t the only one.
Created by Imtiaz Ali, it takes a while to settle down to the ‘small townness’ of Jhansi, Morena and Sawai Madhopur as Dr Arora travels up and down three different states, coping well with the subterfuge that patients employ to cover up their inadequacies. It takes more time to get used to a variety of rough-edged characters and to the casual use of ‘ling’ and ‘yoni’ in the conversation with the usual smattering of MC and other abuses from the politicians’ corner.
It also takes an episode or two to understand the doctor who’s good at what he does, giving privacy along with prescription to his patients. But he’s masquerading too, his past building up through flashbacks that come in and out of the narrative. Flashbacks that bring in ex-wife Vaishali (Vidya Malvade) who dumped Vishesh Arora years ago. Flashbacks that trace his tryst with performance issues and his career as a sex doctor. With a faithful tea seller (Pitobhash Tripathi) doubling up as his assistant.
Four writers and two directors, Sajid Ali and Archit Kumar, have a whale of a time tossing the stories of men and women with sexual problems, their inter-personal relationships and elaborate cover-ups that both doctor and patients resort to.
A teenager whose wet dreams cause his conservative father Dinkar Bagla (Vivek Mushran) much consternation. Dinkar Bagla, publisher of a daily newspaper still proud to be a print medium man, unable to grapple with the arrival of television news. A paper tiger quite literally. Strict with his son, different in the bedroom with his wife. And willing to tweak the truth to survive.
The much-feared SP Tomar (Ajitesh Kumar), too excited to hold on, thus disappointing wife Mithu (Sandeepa Dhar). Swami Paramsneh or Babaji (Raj Arjun) whose discourses are delivered in a firangi accent and whose body is tired of the exclusive service (khaas mulaqat) he provides a long queue of women.
Paanwalas and chaiwalas who gossip, media men and politicians with their side stories, most of it revolving around a sex doctor who isn’t even a doctor to begin with. And the secrecy and sneakiness of it all.
As the Babaji asks with his accent, “Famous hone ka kaisa shaap hai? That I have to meet a doctor like a chor?”
It’s a strange manoeuver that Imtiaz Ali and team use.
The title throws open the door for cases to tumble in and titillate.
But without descending to graphic visuals, they maintain the seductive tone of the premise while weaving in the helplessness and the vengeful mindset of people who seek help yet denounce the sex doctor in public. Fortunately, the show isn’t ashleel, obscene. And through a variety of stories told with a sprinkling of humour, it does send out the vital social message that issues kept under wraps must be unstigmatised.
What I call profundity in a sea of sensuality. But there’s quite a bit of the unnecessary too like unrequired background songs, some awkward moments between Vishesh and Vaishali and Babaji’s naked escape on the streets that goes on and on.
Once the acceptance of the backdrop and the confusion of what’s happening is sorted, a whole team of good performers (no pun intended) make it a fair watch. An unnecessarily overweight Kumud Mishra grapples well with a range of situations that call for a certain tonal dignity. Once you get used to him, Raj Arjun as Babaji with the accent puts up a good show too as does Vivek Mushran. Looks like all of them, Gaurav Parajuli the hunk, the badam dudh bhabhi, Vaishali and the sprinkling of politicians including Shekhar Suman, will return as the case of Dr Arora takes an unresolved twist.
Watch Dr. Arora Trailer
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