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Film / Doctor Krishna

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Doctor Krishna is a 1990 Carnatic-language musical drama film, made in Sandalwood. It stars longtime actor Vishnuvardhan as the titular Doctor Krishna, an accomplished physician who returns home to Karnataka from having undergone advanced medical training in the United States. Challenges he faces while at home, include an apathetic greedy medical industry, parents enamoured of a shady priest Haivadan Rai, said priest’s daughter Chanchala being enamoured of him, a drug pusher operating in his vicinity, and his own feelings for a troubled poor young woman in the village he practices in. Soon everything comes to a head.


Tropes found here are:

  • AB Negative: Devraj is injured in a bus accident and has suffered excessive blood loss. His type is AB- and Krishna is the closest one with the same Blood type. Due to the sheer volume of blood that must be drawn from Krishna, no one wants to risk transfusing blood from him.
  • Asshole Victim: Krishna’s father Anand Rao is a victim for sure, but to say he isn’t nice is an understatement. He openly supports his friend Haivadan Rai’s Charlatan lifestyle, Forces Krishna into marrying Chanchala and treats Raji horribly, even disallowing Krishna from treating her in his house when she has a seizure.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Seeing how much Krishna’s parents disapprove of him, and seeing how the frayed relationship with his parents is deeply affecting Krishna, Raji leaves him to spare him any more pain.
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  • Broken Bird: Raji. Chanchala too, eventually.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Krishna performs it on his father whose had a heart attack. However, it accurately shows the recipient not making a full recovery and getting up immediately. It correctly lampshades that he is only stable and that he needs more long term care.
  • Convulsive Seizures: Raji has a subdued one while walking out of Krishna’s house. She just faints, collapses and starts foaming at the mouth. Haivadan Rai has a more dramatic one in court upon trying to fraudulently testify that Krishna killed his own father. The seizure convinces him that he is being subjected to divine retribution and confesses to poisoning Krishna’s father, in order to frame him as revenge.
  • Dr. Feelgood: Devraj, Chanchala’s brother is a fake doctor and pharmaceutical supplier, who pushes drugs.
  • Dogged Nice Girl: Chanchala. She does get Krishna in the end.
  • Driven to Suicide: Krishna’s mother, upon accusing her son in court of murdering his father, and then learning of Haivadan Rai’s confession, hangs herself out of shame. Raji also attempts suicide twice.
  • Flower Motifs: A flower is shown withering and wilting as the third quart of blood is drawn from Krishna, symbolizing him being close to death. However, as he recovers and regains consciousness, that flower is shown sprouting up again.
  • Frame-Up: Haivadan Rai is pissed that Krishna exposed his son Devraj’s drug dealing racket and got him incarcerated, so Rai plots to somehow send Krishna to prison too. He therefore kills Krishna’s father Anand Rao with a poison syringe, sometime after the latter had had a heart attack and Krishna had injected him with a stimulant to save his life. Rai then complains to the police that Krishna had poisoned his father.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Devraj is a greedy sleazy drug pusher and cheat. But upon finding out that his father murdered his nemesis’ father to frame said nemesis as revenge for busting Devraj, deeply troubles him, upon which he rehabilitates and tearfully promises to go straight.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Krishna. He may have gone to the West to study, but he doesn’t touch alcohol or cigarettes, nor does he approve of Western courtship rituals. He cannot be influenced by greed, or bureaucratic inertia, and takes the Hippocratic Oath very seriously.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Chanchala realizes how much in love with Raji Krishna is, and stops pursuing him. She even supports Raji becoming bethroded to Krishna. Towards the end, Krishna undergoes an extremely dangerous procedure to save Raji’s husband Devraj because she seems happy with him.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Devraj. He even stops Raji’s second suicide attempt and marries her to take care of her.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Krishna’s father Anand Rao suffers the stereotypical clutch chest in pain and collapse variety. However, the movie accurately shows that responding to a heart attack doesn’t involve a trip to the ER. If a competent doctor is close by, lifesaving procedures can be performed right there.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Krishna is a good decent man, but he is more than capable of engaging in fisticuffs. Against multiple opponents. And then there is his striking a female drug addict.
  • Manchild: Raji is one, to mask her deep depression and sickness.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: A literal example. Devraj the former drug dealer is a bus crash casualty who has been critically injured. He lost so much blood that he is already in shock and is barely clinging to life. To save him, Krishna must donate three bottles (about 1.5 liters) of blood. Drawing so much blood causes Krishna himself to lose consciousness.
  • Sinister Minister: Haivadan Rai. Charismatic charlatan, party boy and murderer.
  • Unrequited Love: Chanchala towards Krishna. Even in the end when she marries him, it is unclear whether he has any romantic feelings for her.


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