At one point, the new Sony Liv original series from Imtiaz Ali, Dr. Arora starring Kumud Mishra as the title protagonist, seems creepy and problematic. You might even wonder whether “India’s answer to Sex Education” will end up glorifying “well-mannered” stalking. But luckily, the creators are aware of the problematic side of it and what you get in the end is a mixture of flawed and vulnerable characters struggling to cope with the social 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, the clientele of Dr. Arora is elaborate. Since society is highly uncomfortable about the topic of sex, Arora keeps his profession a secret in front of his family. What we see in the series are the events that happened in Arora’s life that have all these high-profile clients. And we also get to know what exactly made him take this path.
In his movies, Imtiaz Ali has always explored the confused grey shades of characters. In Dr. Arora, where he is the creator and co-writer, we can see a similar track happening in the case of the title protagonist. But the series requires multiple tracks, and that comes with almost all shades. The one that follows the sex life problems of Devender Thakur feels like the most balanced one. It’s funny, preachy, and in a way, humane too. The rest of the tracks with a baba, SP, a politician, and a media head are largely comical. And then we have the backstory of Dr. Arora himself, which starts like an innocent love story and goes into a very grey space, contrasting with everything else in the series.
The cases that come in front of a sex doctor in a conservative society are indeed good material to place all the problems in a sex education equivalent. And the good thing is that they are not trying to make it an educational piece. There is a proper story here that connects all the characters. And they are somewhere assigning these sex-related problems to all these characters. It is in this distribution that the screenplay somewhat fumbles. The tone of comedy of each subplot is such that in certain intense moments, the placement feels a bit awkward.
As Dr. Arora, Kumud Mishra is really apt. That inherent innocence in his face makes him that empathetic nonjudgemental human being. The creepy shift of the character was also portrayed brilliantly by him. Gaurav Parajuli as the ego-hurt Thakur was funny and effective. Vidya Malvade portrayed the vulnerability of Vaishali neatly. Pitabash Tripathy as the doctor’s right hand was memorable. 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 evenly poised, and they have the scope to push the boundaries in the second season. If they can blend all the narrative without too much contrast in emotional pitch, I think this series can have that charm of being educative and entertaining.
With the first season coming to an end, the drama in Dr. Arora is evenly poised, and they have the scope to push the boundaries in the second season.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended