Director Madhav Ramadasan’s maiden film ‘Melvilasam’ made some strong statements against the discrimination prevalent in the minds of some petty individuals. His latest film Apothecary is a powerful reminder about certain unethical practices that are deep rooted in the medical ‘business’.
Dr. Vijay Nambiar (Suresh Gopi), a widely respected neurosurgeon at the high tech ‘Apothecary Hospital’, is admitted there in a critical condition after a freak accident. His wife Dr. Nalini (Abhirami) is also a doctor at the same hospital.
The film is mixed with fantasy from then on as several incidents that made his life disturbing of late, comes to Dr. Vijay Nambiar’s mind, even as he remains unconscious in the hospital bed.
Into the doctor’s unconscious mind enters Subin (Jayasurya), one of his patients from a poor background, posing some disturbing questions. Likewise, Prathapan (Asif Ali), a former patient, also get into the doctor’s dreams.
It is from Subin that we learn the doctor was forced into doing some unethical medical tests at the behest of some medical companies. The poor patients who were unable to remit the required amounts for treatment became guinea pigs for the greedy hospital owners and some doctors over there.
No two ways about, this film has been taken with noble intentions and has its heart at the right place. Of course, it is not easy to narrate such unhealthy practices that are prevalent in the society where we live and have been silently suffering it all along.
Ramadasan resorts to a conventional story telling pattern that at times tend to become way too emotional. The narrative has also the format, which makes it look more like a drama at times. Hari Nair’s visuals are fine but the background score jars big time and is even irritating at times. At more than 140 minutes the film is a tad too long as well.
The film has some really good performances and some shockingly disappointing ones as well. While Suresh Gopi is good, Jayasurya comes up with one of the finest performances in his career. Asif Ali barely makes an impression, while Abhirami sleepwalks through her role showing no involvement whatsoever. Watch out for a superb show from Indrans, who has generally been slotted by Malayalam cinema as a slapstick comedian.
What Apothecary prompts is to make the viewers think about certain questionable practices in the society. It raises a pertinent question on the plight of hapless patients, who are forced to endure the exploitation meted out to them by certain hospitals and the doctors there. The film succeeds on this aspect, to a certain extent, which is quite an achievement. A big thumbs up for that boldness!