12 March 2014

Organised Medical Profession and a Few Loose Cannons

It is sometimes funny or even weird the way two films connect in your head. Recently while reading the script of Dallas Buyers Club my mind kept going back to You Don’t Know Jack, a “made for the TV” film with Al Pacino and Susan Sarandon in it that I'd seen a few months back. On the surface there is no connection between the two films, apart from the fact that they are stories inspired by real people.

While Dallas Buyers Club is about Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient who smuggles medicines that
helped AIDS patients but weren’t approved by the FDA in the USA. There is a lot of social subtext; of how in the beginning there was a misconception that only gay people got AIDS and how Woodroof in spite of being straight gets it. The transformation of his character from being someone selfish who is trying to stretch his life beyond the thirty days that the doctors had given him, to a person who seeks larger good of people with his actions.

You Don’t Know Jack on the other hand is about Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a
pathologist and an advocate of physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. He fights for right of his patients to die with dignity. Call it a dichotomy or anything else, he chooses Gandhian way of protesting when he is arrested for his actions. First, refuses to pay the bond for his bail and then goes on hunger strike in jail to make his protest heard.

Basically, both Ron and Jack take on the Medical Bureaucracy for what they feel is right.

In India I can only of Ek Doctor Ki Maut with Pankaj Kapur in the lead in this genre of films. Please let me know if any other film made on same lines.