Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Bollywood allows for the ability to immerse into a different universe, escaping reality. With the creative licence which comes with making a film comes the opportunity to traverse the boundaries of medical science. Below are three films which portray medical miracles to demonstrate the power of love…
1) 3 Idiots
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kff3BIsf4DM, 3 Idiots
This isn’t the first time this film has been mentioned in one of our articles but it has so many messages to give. One of which is the medicinal value of the phrase “All izz well.” In the last scene (which Sneha amazingly depicted in the All Izz Well blog) the baby is born quite limp and doesn’t cry (crazy, considering delivery was conducted on a ping pong table with a vacuum cleaner as a ventouse and an engineer as an obstetrician). If the baby had a APGAR score calculated one minute after delivery it would have been well below the normal of 7. However, the appearance, grimace and activity visually improve upon hearing the phrase “All izz well,” with the end result of a healthy, happy baby and mother. Who needs an ABCDE approach when you have a 3 word phrase accompanied by tapping on one’s heart - a gentle form of self-CPR?
2) Amar, Akbar aur Anthony
Source: https://twitter.com/imac_too/status/1000947198031417344, Amar, Akbar Aur Anthony
One of the most memorable scenes from this film is the blood donation scene. Amar, Akbar and Anthony, representing Hinduism, Islam and Christianity respectively, donate blood to the universal recipient Bharat (also known as Bharati, their mother in the film). The nurse mentions that they have two men donating blood but they need even more blood, so much so, that they require another “Rh donor.” This results in all 3 men lying down on hospital beds with tubing leading from their arms to a centrally placed red bottle which then pumps blood directly into Bharati’s veins. I was unable to see an obvious filtration process. Furthermore, there is no obvious mention of an antibody screen before the transfusion. Luckily, Bharati does not suffer from any adverse reactions to the transfusion; no ABO compatibility nor delayed haemolytic transfusion reaction in sight. Speaking of sight, Bharati, tragically having lost her eyesight at the beginning of the film, miraculously regains her vision at a religious festival. The film could have been re-titled “Bharati: the medical enigma.”
3) Munna Bhai MBBS
This film highlights the use of alternative medicine in the form of carrom, in helping Rustom’s father (who has not eaten in a week), regain strength. He is shown as being started on parenteral nutrition earlier in the day and is too weak to open his eyes. However, when Circuit and Munna start playing carrom in the evening, he comes and joins, downing a glass of orange juice and requesting food after a trick shot. Whilst not necessarily medically accurate, this film portrays the importance of treating patients respectfully and like human beings. It further highlights the emotional benefits of human contact in the form of the famous jadu ki jhappi (magic hug) and its impact on mental wellbeing. According to a quick internet search, a hug needs to last 20 seconds to allow for oxytocin to be released and for the ‘happy hormone’ to work its magic.
In conclusion, the medical miracles in these films serve as metaphors for underlying messages on love and unity. I also learnt that regaining vision was a common theme which has been portrayed in many Bollywood films. I would strongly recommend revisiting old, dramatic Bollywood films if you’re feeling homesick/ having a bad day.