Hirani's Master-Piece

A Critique of Medical Profession

Radhakanta Barik

Munnabhai MBBS is a master-piece and a critique of medical profession and the course curriculum. There is a patient in the hospital for twelve years occupying the bed which gets ignored by the doctors as he is declared as clinically dead. With human touch he recovers and this is a dramatic event in the organisation of the hospital. Medicine as a profession has slowly captured by the brilliants with above ninety percentages of marks but without any Emotional Intelligence. Students with 45% got into medical study from the rural background and they proved better stuff as some of the outstanding doctors of India belong to this generation.

Munnabhai MBBS brings the music therapy with a cancer patient. Life is to be enjoyed till one dies. By declaring someone a cancer patient he or she is declared dead. A dancer from the night club brings joys to his face. He gets a visit to theatre with her. He gets a gift of new dress. All these bring pleasures of life and then he died happily. Munnabhai MBBS has brought the issue of music therapy in treating patients. One young man faced suicidal tendency because of his girl friend abandoned him. A dancer from the night club came down with a group of young boys who danced in the hospital and created a soothing impact over the mind. He got convinced,' life is precious and no point of ending it with someone and better to go ahead.

Munnabhai MBBS brings out carom game three times in the narrative indicates that indoor games such as carom, chess and cards etc can create an imagination which makes the patient forgetting his woes and sufferings. Medical science looks at some patients those who refuse to eat get saline injection which is the only answer from them. Playing carom has brought the patient from the bed to ground to play the game and at his best moment in the game he is given a drink which he enjoys. Carom has a symbolic importance in the story of the film and camera moves over a group of players who create an imaginary for the patients. Doctor as the patient's son is failing in his duty and told the group of players as God.

Munnabhai MBBS, the film raises a critical point regarding professional medical study. Only brilliant students get into the course but inability to solve the problem of patients. In all professional courses human touch is missing. Human being a social psychological phenomenon needs to taken seriously. Here entry of Munnabhai with his gang is able to solve problems.

Munnabhai MBBS is throwing light on organisational culture of Medical organisation specifically hospital. It is hierarchically organised which harms the patients. Modern medicine is based on better hygiene and sanitation but sanitation workers are disrespected in the organisation. Nobody inquires of the sweeper's name till Munnabhai does. This is disrespect to the human soul which is a critical to the organisation. The same to nurses who play a decisive role in the medical profession and in the story they remain as the silent spectators. It is highly oriented towards the doctors and specialists resulted in creating havoc to health system of people. The fault lines of the Hospital as an organisation have come out clearly in the film.

The film as a narrative is based on teaching methods in medical colleges where the Professors speak to students and students just listen to him without questioning or initiating a dialogue with their teacher. In such a pedagogic system no new thinking can grow. In a class room there is a student Munnabhai who raises a critical question. ' a person faced accident needs to go on filling the form before getting treated' this kills the person. The Principal orders the removal of the student from the class room and which student refuses to do. This angers the Principal that he would not take the class unless the student leaves the class room. It creates an intolerant environment where learning and teaching cannot happen as both require a tolerant and questioning mind as a teacher and as a student.

A student walks in the corridor of the college in a free mood which indicates learning can be done as Tagore writes by 'keeping head in high'. Teaching is not only in class room and laboratory activity and over all enjoying the learning in an environment where both girls and boys enjoy each other's freedom and have fun of learning. Munnabhai raises a critical question in a college that discipline cannot be the basis of learning and it requires free time and environment of freedom to enjoy the activity. Discipline needs to be relooked in college environment.

It creates history by articulating the serious pedagogic problem which is getting confronted by Indian university education. The narrative is ridden in humour and music turns into a cinematic piece. The actor like Sanjay Dutt adopts a spontaneous style which appeals to audience. Rajkumar Hirani as a Director of the film shows that a serious problem in India can be handled in a film script.

It creates a problem by bringing the background of Munnabhai as a small time criminal working to dominate over the criminals. The camera moves over a shed doing these activities of violence against the other criminals. The background appeals to audience which turns into a text which brings interrelationship among the school drop outs who have nothing to do except crimes to survive then the leader of the team turns into college for learning. This is subtext but dominates over the text. University education needs to be open to people not on the basis of age but whenever they have time and energy they can come back to colleges and learn.

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Vol. 53, No. 38, Mar 21 - 27, 2021