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Times of India
The film celebrates the virtues and duties of a true doctor by tracing his dilemma, what should he choose duty or business interests?
It calls for a great deal of patience to like Madhav Ramadasan's '
Such is the amount of faith Madhav has in his film that he tells his story consuming a lot of time setting the narrative and ploys that are more suited to theatre than a film. It's about the intense emotional dilemma of a doctor caught between ethics and money. Suresh Gopi plays Dr Vijay Nambiar, a famous neurosurgeon in a private hospital. He is subjected to nagging persuasions from his management to go for clinical trials using his patients and his submission leaves him in an excruciating phase of mental agony.
Dr Vijay is thrown into comatose stage after an accident and he is almost left for dead by his colleagues. A set of characters are introduced who later reveal themselves to be victims of clinical trial. Each of them initiates a kind of moral discourse with the doctor who stays silent, half-awake, sometimes evincing feeble reactions in the form of a grunt. The patients whom we later understand as mere illusions of the doctor in comatose chide him, celebrate him and pose disturbing questions on his psyche.
The manner in which director Madhav handles the profundity of the health-based subject is direct, emotional and heavily poignant. The element of earnestness being invested in this film is undoubted. It becomes less likable when there is a continuous use of images of characters tangled in distress that appear as haunting images for the doctor. Once that sense of initial shudder wanes, the sequences come across as stage-managed props that are put to life at frequent intervals.
The film's moments are confined to a few dialogues where a doctor's hands are likened to that of God. The delusionary debate between the patients who died in clinical trial and those who await survival, staged towards the end, pushes the narrative more towards the stage than a movie screen. Suresh Gopi can hold this role close to his heart, he has emoted with a repressed energy and his outbursts of frustration are confined to controlled sighs and well-modulated verbal expressions.
Apothecary could be loved for the intense portrayal of a grave issue, the intricacies of which are still unclear.