By Guneet Wadera, Sep 18 2014 Thurs
Salman Khan’s debut international production plus Vinay Virmani’s sophomore Canadian film after the resounding success of Breakaway added with the combined debuts of The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar and Katrina Kaif’s younger sister Isabelle Kaif; consequentially curiosity accompanies Dr. Cabbie.
Deepak is an earnest medical school grad aspiring to carry forward his father’s legacy of healing selflessly when Canada comes calling. He packs his bags and moves from Delhi to Toronto with his mother (Lillete Dubey) stars in eyes and all.
Reality strikes when he comes to the realization that his credentials are not recognized in Canada. Qualified yet unemployed the doctor turns cabbie to keep himself afloat in this land of opportunity. An unexpected instance makes the dejected Deepak make a U-turn converting his taxi into a mobile clinic. Therein begins the healing again as Dr. Cabbie embarks on a journey to discover his true purpose and true love.
A simple yet interesting premise, Dr. Cabbie is a lighthearted comedy with its heart in the right place.
Vinay Virmani in his third feature puts in a sincere performance as Deepak Chopra, a doctor aching to heal. Shouldering multiple responsibilities including writing and producing credits on the film is no mean feat for someone doing just his third film. The actor is growing in confidence with every passing film. In Dr. Cabbie he shines particularly in the emotional scenes.
Adrianne Palicki (of Friday Night Lights and G.I. Joe: Retaliation fame) as Vinay’s love interest looks stunning and effortlessly enacts her part of being a single mother with ease. Her character goes from being down and out to empowered and strong, Palicki manages to chart the graph incredibly well.
Kunal Nayyar as Deepak’s boisterous, over the top friend Tony is charming. Delivering laughs at regular intervals, Kunal showcases a different side of his acting persona outside of the largely beloved Raj Koothrappali from The Big Bang Theory. Unlike Raj, Tony has no issues talking to woman with or without the consumption of alcohol. He is flirtatious, flamboyant and shares a sparkling chemistry with debutant Isabelle Kaif (Katrina Kaif’s sister). For her very first film, Isabelle has a good screen presence. She looks striking and dances well. Watch out for her matching dance moves with Vinay, Kunal and Adrianne on the dance floor in the popular track Dal Makhani from the film.
Out of the supporting cast, Mircea Monroe as Deepak’s amusing aunt stands out. Caught somewhere between being Canadian and embracing India, she puts the funny in the film providing comic relief and light hearted moments in the narrative. Her dialogue ‘Once you go brown you’ll never frown’ has already caught on. Rizwan Manji who plays her husband is the perfect foil to her as Deepak’s uncle.
Another performance to make note of is that of Tia Bhatia. Without giving too much away the newbie springs a pleasant surprise in a role that is sure not to go unnoticed.
Dr. Cabbie boasts of an appeasing soundtrack with Dal Makhani, All I Need Is You, Maula Mere or Don’t Be Shy each having their own distinct sound.
Tackling the serious topic of professional discrimination, the immigrant struggle and at times turbulent transition to new land, Dr. Cabbie gives an uplifting reality check to those disillusioned by what the immigrant experience entails. The impact of the story told could have been enhanced further by stronger writing, fuller etching of characters and their respective graphs and crisper editing. The film works best in the honest moments when it isn’t trying too hard to be funny or sentimental. Nonetheless, it is in equal parts a hilarious and heartwarming story about overcoming adversity and facing the odds.
What do they say about laughter being the best medicine? Dr. Cabbie is just what the doctor ordered.