How many times have we wondered what our lives would be like if it were a movie? Or better yet, how many of you think there should be a movie based on your life?
Well for those of you who relate and those of you who care, ladies and gentlemen, the story of my life is now a movie.
[Cue the Dr. Cabbie theme song]
I’m calling it now before you read on… POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERTS. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
In a vain effort to put aside my study-shower-study-eat-study-sleep-study-ohanddontforgettobreathe routine and venture out into civilization and see what the world has been doing, I joined my mother at the movies to watch a movie that threw everything an IMG dreads right back in my face: Dr. Cabbie.
Thank you God and co-screenplay writer/protagonist (Vinay Virmani) for bringing my mind right back to where it always is – I see what you guys did there. I will never leave my rock and books and hibernation mode again, okay?!?!
I tend to read up on movie reviews before deciding on what to watch so when I saw the mixed reviews for Dr. Cabbie, I was a little skeptical about using my free movie from my Scene points to go see it. (hey, I worked hard to get every point. Don’t judge me.) With past experience though I have realized that my idea of something is usually very different from a critic and let’s face it critics are just…so….well… critical.
First of all, I am a huge Big Bang Theory fan (heeeyyyy there, Kunal Nayyar) and to be honest, the movie had me at the super cute Vinay Virmani (Love. him. That is all.)
Second, the location and storyline of the movie hit home (Literally. I live here. And this is the story of my life.) so I obviously had to go see what the fuss was about.
Also, I can’t even pretend I wasn’t mildly fascinated at how a Salman Khan-produced movie landed Katrina Kaif’s sister, Isabella Kaif. (Ooooooh that Bollywood drama though.)
The movie starts off in the hub and bub of India, in one of the most amazing and well-known cities, Delhi, where a young lad named Deepak Chopra (that coincidence though) follows in his late father’s footsteps and graduates from a well-known medical institution with flying colours. With a heart full of compassion, a spirit determined to heal people irrespective of who they may be, sponsored by his Uncle Vijay who actually lives in Mississauga…
(Which is only the greatest city ever. No really though it is. Sorry I had to digress. I live here. It is, indeed, awesome. Heh…heh…heh? *Uncle Vijay props*)
…and holding the Hippocratic Oath as the foundation on which he builds his morals, he sets out to the “land of opportunity” (Toronto, Canada) with his mother in hopes of starting a medical practice and making a difference.
Everything seems to be wonderful when he sends out his CV and cover letters to every medical program in the vicinity and is called in for interviews. [Cue Reality Check laughing because this DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE. There are lonely long months without a single response to your applications and you overuse your Internet Data refreshing your email page over…and over…and over…but I digress once more. Sigh.]
Back to the movie. No more sidetracking, I promise.
Sooooo the interviews roll in. Happy music playing. Emotions running high. A Desi mom who is gori-fying under the influence of her very gori-turned-“rattlesnake-worshipping”-actually-a-stripper-but-this-is-not-revealed-yet bhabhi. Good times ahead, Dr. Chopra.
Or, you know, the best time for reality to kick in and knock all that delusion out of you.
Each interview brings nothing but disappointment, excuses, and rejection for our beloved (and as we will later discover, extremely skilled) protagonist. The real problem we face in Ontario in terms of doctor shortages (26,000 to give a rough idea) is even brought up during said interviews but to no avail.
After leaving his last interview, Deepak dejectedly walks through the streets of Downtown Toronto, where he is “picked up” so to speak by Tony, a cheeky, smooth-talking, Indian cabbie (Kunal Nayyar) who hooks him up with a job at the same cab company. Hesitant to be a cabbie at first since he feels he is “too good” for the job (and rightly so), Deepak quickly realizes the plight immigrants face when he sees that his fellow cabbies are all overqualified people from other parts of the world that have been left with no choice but to slum it as cabbies in order to survive.
As Uncle Vijay says though, there is no job too small, so bearing that in mind, Deepak accepts the job, moves out of his uncle’s house and sets out on his own to see where his destiny will take him. After the video of him successfully delivering the baby of his love-interest/customer, Natalie, in the back seat of his cab goes viral (thanks to Tony), Deepak gets famous overnight and starts treating patients in his taxi, giving out pearls of wisdom and prescriptions to a variety of fares.
Sounds absolutely crazy, and possibly criminal, no? Oh, absolutely.
Vinay Virmani has come a long way from the days of Breakaway and he puts forth a quality that draws the audience into his character’s troubles. Kunal Nayyar is nothing like the Rajesh Koothrapalli we are used to seeing on Monday nights. As the Toronto Star says, and they said it perfectly well, his role is “not a particularly sympathetic or even well-written role but Nayyar gets some of the film’s biggest laughs with his salty language.” The role of Uncle Vijay is played by Rizwan Manji and borders on stereotype of a man who is caught between two cultures which is not uncommonly seen over here. But maybe the stereotype is the beauty of it all.
The real surprise element is Uncle Vijay’s wife who is blonde and Western (succumbing to the North American stereotype) but is nothing like what you would stereotypically assume when you first see her…or is she? Er… was she?
Lillette Dubey plays the role of Deepak’s mom and Vijay’s sister, and there is absolutely no one else who can pull off the character the way she does. She is phenomenal in everything she does and I have always been a fan.
The other cast members each bring their own mix to the table and all of them work refreshingly well as a team.
OH and a noteworthy mention, Lily Singh, better known as YouTube sensational comedian IISuperwomanII who I didn’t even recognize initially!!!!! So proud of how far you have come!
My take on the storyline?
Dr. Cabbie takes something that is actually happening in our country and puts it forth in a way only the reel life could. That is to say immigrants bringing essential skills to Canada which are terribly wasted because of the kazillions of rules and regulations and examinations etc and ending up as a convenience store worker, or a cabbie in this case, when they suited for something bigger and better. Then we complain about shortages in health care for instance and how there is such a long wait at times to see specialists. Being in the field myself, I can only really speak for health care, but I am sure it applies to many other fields as well. Anyone remember the episode of Big Bang (Sheldon and the Physics Bowl) where the janitor on Sheldon’s team actually had a Masters in Physics and was a big deal in Russia?
With flavours of Bollywood mixed in though, comic relief in all the right places, and putting forth an issue faced by many immigrants, Dr. Cabbie manages to be lighthearted, amusing, and heartwarming.
Ladies, it might also be slightly reassuring that if you’re pregnant and your water breaks on your way to the hospital or while stuck in a cab in that downtown Toronto traffic (and it happens to be pouring outside and I mean like a Bollywood-love-song-kinda rain) your cabbie might just be an MD and you and your baby will be perfectly fine (and possibly famous).
Watch the trailer on YouTube or by clicking here.
Hurry and cab your way to a theatre nearest to you!