We have so many web-series in India that talk about engineers and their problems, says Abhinav Kamal, whose digital debut as a director, Starting Troubles has received rave-reviews for being an authentic representation of the medical community. However, according to the filmmaker, the show strives to do much more than that.
Starting Troubles is a 6-part medical drama starring multi-talented ENT surgeon, actor, stand-up comic, motivational speaker and entrepreneur Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi, who plays a dramatised version of himself. The show is based on his autobiography 'Inventing Medical Devices.' The show also stars some celebrated artists like Renuka Shahane, Kurush Deboo, Parikshit Sahni and Rajesh Pi.
Abhinav talked about the journey of making Starting Troubles, which started in Bangalore when he met Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi. "I am also an entrepreneur and film director since the last 8 to 10 years. So stories of entrepreneurs and their work, learning from their failure has always been a value addition for a person. I had read his book on which this story is based. Dr Jagdish and I got in touch and had a conversation where he said that he wanted to make a web-series out of that book. He also had a friend, Dr Shweta Malik, who had been working on a script.”
What is most interesting about Starting Troubles is that it plays out as an extended stand-up comedy set, through which the protagonist tells his story as a new medical intern, who is on the verge of suspension and career ruin. The show benefits from sharp, satirical writing and punchlines.
Talking about the unique concept, Abhinav said, "Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi is also a stand-up comedian, so the idea struck. First, this is going to be a web-series, which will be produced by independent producers. So we didn't have a huge budget that we can expect in Bollywood. There has to be an exposition through fictional story-telling, which means we have to at least make 9 to 10 episodes within the budget.
"Secondly, we also tried to take advantage of Dr Jagdish being a stand-up comedian. How about we put the exposition and the background in this stand-up and connect it to the fiction that we are going to shoot? That way, we are basically shooting approximately 70% of the film, and the rest can be shot as a stand-up material."
The show breaks the stereotype of the typical doctor that we have seen in TV and movies, and is able to do so because there are medical professionals calling the shots in the show, along with the director. The comment section of Buddybits, the YouTube channel where the show is currently streaming, is full of comments from medical professionals vouching for the show's authenticity.
For Abhinav, however, the priority was to find a pan-Indi audience. "The great attraction for me was that this story was based on the values of entrepreneurship and following your passion. The Indian society, especially our family and parents expect their child to have a proper and balanced life. Our education system prepares us more for a job. They don't motivate them for entrepreneurship. You have no courses for entrepreneurship, you have courses for pure sciences, mathematics, even before 10 plus 2. In a way, engineering does the same thing," he said.
"This story was different altogether because it was about a person who takes his job as a doctor very passionately, but also has many ideas about being an entrepreneur and problem solver. So we thought it would resonate with a lot of people in the country. Entrepreneurship is a very risky proposition. You have to leave your job and convince your family to support your decision. On the other hand, there is another world called "interprenuership." It means that you are already working in a company but have the spirit of an entrepreneur. It resonated with me because I'm an engineer and an MBA. However, after my MBA I didn't take up a job but chose to go on my own path. Hence, I hope this show resonates with people who have the spirit of entrepreneurship," he signed off.