BFS Video // 2010 // 225 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 28th, 2012
A stranger in a strange land.
It's 1963 and the UK Health Minister has just kicked off an offensive to persuade Indian doctors to migrate over and lend their talents to the mainland. One of those doctors is Prem Sharma (Sanjeev Bhaskar), a soft-spoken yet eager professional who left India at the urging of his wife Kamini. London had been their original destination, but circumstances landed the duo in a small Welsh mining town.
Prem, ever the positive force, decides to make a go of it, despite the standoffishness of many of the residents, uncertain how to approach these foreigners. Prem's bedside manner eventually converts many to his side, save for one: the corrupt d-bag owner of the local mine, who may be involved in shady business practices directly leading to the mine workers ill-health.
This season-long arc of The Indian Doctor's first series is juxtaposed with Prem's attempts to fit in, his encounters with the quirky villagers, and the marital challenges he faces with his exhausted yet devoted wife. Five episodes in all, spread over two discs, clocking in at 225 minutes.
If the premise grabs you at all, I would encourage a viewing. The Indian Doctor is a charming series, anchored by the excellent Sanjeev Bhaskar, who crafts a memorable and extremely likable character in Dr. Prem Sharma. Sharma is a nice guy through and through, earnest and well-meaning, yet sometimes over his head. This trait eventually gets replaced by a sly confidence, exhibited nicely when he faces off with his antagonist towards the end. He doesn't throw down like John McClan, but merely overwhelms with a stern devotion to doing the right thing, coming away as an extraordinarily root-worthy hero.
The characters surrounding him are satisfactorily quirky, which you might expect from a small Welsh mining town. Indeed, the side stories for these second bananas -- plots involving impotence, infidelity, xenophobia, and teen pregnancy -- are interesting on their own, and pay off nicely when they inevitably intersect.
Not to imply The Indian Doctor is some melodramatic slog. At its core, the show is positive and often playful. The drama hits when needed and nothing is watered-down, but from the opening moments of show's bouncy theme, you're looking at a series that is more or less light-hearted. Recommended!
The DVD set from BFS is utilitarian: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 2.0 stereo, no extras. One question though...Why is BFS so addicted to these big fat plastic cases from 10 years ago?!
Not Guilty. The doctor is in!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 225 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated