At one point, Imtiaz Ali’s new Sony Liv original series, starring Kumud Mishra as Dr. Arora, as the title protagonist, seems scary and problematic. You might also wonder whether “India’s answer to sex education” would glorify the pursuit of “civilized”. But luckily, the creators are aware of the problematic side of it and what you get in the end is a mix of flawed and vulnerable characters struggling to cope with societal norms.
Set in UP, the series focuses on the life of Dr. Vishesh Arora, a sexologist who runs a clinic in Jhansi. From sex worker to SP, Dr. Arora’s clients are wide. Since society is highly uncomfortable with the subject of sex, Arora keeps his profession a secret to his family. What we see in the series are the events in Arora’s life with all these high-profile clients. And we also get to know why he took this path.
Imtiaz Ali has always explored confusing gray shades in his films. In Dr. Arora, where he is the producer and co-writer, we can see a similar track in the case of the title protagonist. But the chain requires multiple tracks, and it comes with almost all the colors. One who follows Devendra Thakur’s sex life problems, feels like the most balanced person. It’s funny, didactic and in a way humane too. The rest of the songs are largely comical with Baba, SP, a politician and a media head. And then we have the backstory of Dr. Arora himself, which begins like an innocent love story and moves into a very gray space, unlike everything else in the series.
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The cases faced by sex doctor in conservative society are really good material to equate all problems to sex education. And the good thing is they’re not trying to make it an educational piece. There is a proper story here that connects all the characters. And they are telling these sex problems to all these characters somewhere. It is in this delivery that the screenplay falters somewhat. The comedy tone of each subplot is such that the placement feels a bit awkward at certain moments.
As Dr. Arora, Kumud Mishra is really fitting. That inherent innocence of her face makes her that sympathetic non-judgmental person. The creepy makeover of the character was also portrayed brilliantly by him. Gaurav Parajuli was witty and effective as the ego-hurt Thakur. Vidya Malvade portrays Vaishali’s vulnerability neatly. Pitabash Tripathi was memorable as the right hand of the doctor. Vivek Mushran, Shakti Kumar, Sandeepa Dhar and Ajitesh Gupta all play these caricature-like characters.
With the first season coming to an end, the drama in Dr. Arora is equally set, and he has the scope to push the boundaries in the second season. If they can blend all the narratives without too much contrast in emotional pitch, I think this series may have the allure of being instructive and entertaining.
With the first season coming to an end, the drama in Dr. Arora is equally set, and he has the scope to push the boundaries in the second season.
Green: Recommended film
Orange: OK, Watchable, Experimental Movies
red: not recommended