Published: 05th March 2020
Remember the doc in Main Coronavirus? He's doing India's first medical comedy web series
Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi is a medical innovator and stand-up comic who is injecting information through large doses of comedy for India's youth to pay attention
Have you heard of the doctor who is a stand-up comedian in his free time? No, this is not a set up for a bad joke, you may have seen Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi on his now-viral videos called Main Coronavirus on WhatsApp. Well, he’s prepared to take his medical know-how and comedic chops to the internet with India’s first medical humour web series called Starting Troubles.
Chaturvedi is an ENT surgeon. Not one to limit himself to a single area of expertise, he set on a mission to invent medical devices right after his training. After inventing more that 18 devices that have been successful in the market, he literally wrote the book on medical innovation. Titled Inventing Medical Devices: A perspective from India, he became one of the first individuals in India to chart the development of medical devices in the country through personal anecdotes.
When the book was released in 2015, it made some waves in the medical industry. Being the first Indian book on the subject, it caught the attention of a US-based filmmaker, Dr Shwetha Malik. Jagdish says, “In India, we do not have enough perspectives on what it’s like to be an medical practitioner. My book was basically a doctor’s journey towards becoming an innovator. Rashwetha felt that it could be adapted into a good web series. This was my personal story but she felt that it would be better if we reached out to a younger audience and the internet was the best way to do it.”
Starting Troubles features this transformational journey of the doctor as a student under the guidance of Dr Kavita Gowda. The series that spans 6 episodes is produced by Gunda Srinivas, under the banner Ten Motion Arts and Jagdish’s own start up Hiiih Innovations based in Bengaluru. Directed by Abhinav Kamal, it is streaming on the newly introduced platform HiiiH since February 16.
Jagdish performs at least 10 to 15 stand-up comedy shows in a month. He says, “We didn’t have much of a budget, so we decided to play to our strengths. Half of the show is taken from my own performances and the rest are weaved in as flashbacks based on my narrative. We call it an innovative fix to the budget since stand up is not expensive. And we had the good luck of being able to cast great Bollywood actors like Renuka Sahane (from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun), Parikshit Sahni (from 3 Idiots) and Kurush Deboo (from Munnabhai MBBS).”
How did Jagdish find the time to make us laugh in between saving lives? He credits his team and the importance of multitasking, saying “The support helps. When everyone tries to do everything by themselves, they burn out. But we knew we had to work together to achieve what we had in mind. And that was to try and bring information to people through entertainment. We are learning that the combination works. There are two things that people like to share: comedy or hate. We just thought we’d try and canvas some knowledge as comedy.”