Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Reviews

Munnabhai MBBS

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0405217
  1. Sanjay Pai, consultant pathologist1
  1. 1Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, India

Bollywood (India's version of Hollywood, based in Mumbai) makes about 200 movies annually. Doctors in these movies are usually saints and most manage complex medical procedures, such as cardiac surgery, in outpatient departments, and diagnose pregnancy by feeling the pulse. So a Hindi movie that uses correct medical terminology and real medical locations-I recognised the anatomy lecture hall of my medical school and cannot express the warm feeling that came over me-is bound to stand out. That this movie also has its audiences splitting their sides makes it unique.

The plot is simple: an underworld don and hoodlum pretends that he is a doctor running a charitable clinic in the city to please his parents who live in a village. When the truth gets out, his parents are shattered. The only way that he can atone for his sins is by becoming a doctor. To do this, he needs to enter medical college and pass his exams. Readers will need to see the film to find out whether or not he succeeds.

Many of the one liners are most likely to be best understood by those with a Mumbai background. And doctors will appreciate the black humour better than others. But all viewers are likely to find the film hilarious and well acted. This month Sunjay Dutt, who plays Munnabhai, won India's equivalent of the best actor Oscar.

Beneath the surface humour there is a hidden-or perhaps not …

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