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This doctor uses Coronavirus quarantine time to make ‘Carantine’ videos

Jagdish Chaturvedi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

So many good doctors and medical professionals have emerged as frontline warriors in the global effort to push back against the deadly Coronavirus.

Sitting inside a parked car somewhere in one of Bengaluru’s many bylanes, Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi was confident that this war ought to be fought on multiple fronts. In India, one of these fights would be the containment of fake news and misinformation.

As the pandemic situation evolved and death tolls climbed, Jagdish whipped out his mobile phone and recorded short videos from his car, quelling rumours and putting down scientifically incorrect suggestions. He uploads these “Carantine videos” on his YouTube channel for over 1.26 lakh subscribers to watch. From quirky word play spun into a monologue interspersed with abundant comedy to out-of-rhythm rap videos, Jagdish keeps at it.

“There are two types of people in our country. There is the compliant population who are well-read, aware, diligent and interested to make things happen. Then there is the ignorant population who happen to be the larger majority,” says the multi-faceted Jagdish, who wears the many hats of an ENT surgeon, medical device innovator and entrepreneur, author, and stand-up comic.

For Jagdish, the troubling aspect of an explanatory video was that it wouldn’t be shared among the so-called ignorant populace, that routinely forwards ridiculous WhatsApp messages.

“Controversial content gets lot of shares and engagement. If I shoot the content sitting in my hospital chamber and talking about Coronavirus, people won’t share it thinking ‘Why do I need to bore or scare someone or spoil their day?’ When it is comedy, they think ‘I want my friend to look at it’,” he adds.

A new perspective

While he continues to shoot and engage with his subscribers on YouTube, Jagdish also debuted a web series last month. Titled Starting Troubles, the six-episode series stars Renuka Shahane, Kurush Deboo, Parikshit Sahni and others besides Jagdish. It is based off a book he authored Inventing Medical Devices: A Perspective from India.

A still from ‘Starting Troubles’

A still from ‘Starting Troubles’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The brains behind 18 medical devices (a portable ENT endoscope with a digicam attached being one) Jagdish, in his book, details how he was nudged towards medtech by his seniors. “I wrote the book with the purpose to encourage more doctors to become innovators,” he says.

There was, however, one small problem. Much like the WhatsApp populace, younger doctors in this generation need encouragement to pick up a book (aside academics) and read.

“A friend of mine, Dr Shweta Malik, told me that youngsters do not read books. Also the creative types, they are offbeat. They may not be readers and that is where the thought of taking things off the book came about,” he says, adding, “[Shweta] suggested we turn the contents of the book into a short film or web series or a documentary. The moulding and encouragement for doctors to become innovators has to happen in their MBBS days because once their career gets going, it is hard to make that break.”

Starting Troubles features a doctor in training who wants to be an entrepreneur, and balances work with his passion for acting. But his actions get him suspended from his course and banned from the theatre community. What happens thereafter is the plot.

The story is similar to Jagdish’s own experience growing up. He used to be in theatre, and this experience is what he attributes for his effortless ability to deliver monologues in his YouTube content and standup comedy gigs. When he could no longer attend theatre rehearsals, as he was required to be at the hospital where he was training, he was ousted from the community.

A poster for ‘Starting Troubles’

A poster for ‘Starting Troubles’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

He filled this vacuum theatre left in his life with stand up comedy. “What we have shown in the web series are real life anecdotes,” he says.

Convincing senior artistes to come on board, surprisingly, was less of a task for Jagdish. “I wanted someone elegant and powerful to play my boss Dr Ravi Nayar on screen. Now I’m an ’80s kid and I grew up watching Surabhi. I thought what if we reached out to Renuka Shahane. We didn’t have a phone number and only an email. We didn’t really expect a reply, you know, we were amateurs with little budget trying to film something in a few days. But it was courteous of her to read the script and she came on board saying she wanted to support the concept. She was happy to play a doctor which had actual medical terms in the dialogues,” he adds.

Hooking doctors

The six episodes of Starting Troubles stream on HiiiH, a startup medtech portal founded by Jagdish.

Jagdish Chaturvedi while filming ‘Starting Troubles’

Jagdish Chaturvedi while filming ‘Starting Troubles’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

He hopes Starting Troubles will draw medical students to the portal, which can then be used as a platform to explore sponsors and services to fund innovation.

“Medtech and health care revolves around doctors. Today, what is happening is that the innovation happens without the involvement of doctors. Our ecosystem is also immature with only a few hundred medical startups in place. It is this core problem we want to address via HiiiH,” says Jagdish.

With a dedicated team of seven people including for marketing and technical sections, HiiiH, in Jagdish’s words, is like a “speed dating platform”. At the moment, there are about 150 consultants signed up on HiiiH offering a range of services to medical innovators in order to successfully help set up a company.

A poster for ‘Starting Troubles’

A poster for ‘Starting Troubles’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“In India, we still import 80% of our medical devices which is the reason why cost for treatment is high. Ours is a mature import market but we export 60% of what we develop, and so there is less know how of the needs and process,” he adds.

What drives him to explore such solutions, whether it is to mitigate issues around healthcare or making “Carantine videos”, has to do with Jagdish’s own character trait of being impatient. “I’m attracted to things that can be done quickly and which leave an impact. But my perspective as a doctor is different. I’m very patient with my patients,” he concludes.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 3:11:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/this-doctor-uses-coronavirus-quarantine-time-to-make-carantine-videos/article31153235.ece

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