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Dr. Cabbie: Film tackles job problems faced by educated immigrants with comedy

cabbieBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

In Dr. Cabbie, Vinay Virmani stars as Deepak, a man from New Delhi, who arrives in Toronto with a degree in medicine and dreams of following in his MD father’s footsteps. Instead he is met with bureaucracy and frustration. The medical establishment in Canada doesn’t accept his hard-earned degree and decree that he won’t be able to practice medicine in his new country.
Virmani was inspired to write the story after taking a cab ride in Toronto.

“When you get into a cab, you form that Indian-to-Indian thing,” he says. “The driver is like, ‘Where are you from?’

‘No, where are you really from?’

“It always starts off like that. Then he told me his story. I was really moved by it because here’s a guy who was young and naïve when he came here, very passionate about being a doctor, and had that dream shattered.

“Then I heard about a Chinese dentist in Vancouver who was doing dental work for families who couldn’t afford dental. They called him the Bedroom Dentist. So all these things played in my head.”

In the film, a friend (Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar) gets Deepak a job driving a cab, and one eventful night he meets Natalie, the girl of his dreams (Adrianne Palicki), and delivers her baby in the back of the hack.

When a video of the birth goes viral he becomes a something of a sensation. Soon people are flagging his taxi, looking for medical treatment.

With a thriving practice on wheels, he doles out medical advice and prescription drugs to customers from the back of his cab.

“If somebody told me a cabbie delivered a baby in a cab I would want to see that,” he says.

“I would want to see how he did it. It’s not far fetched to believe a video like that would go viral.”

The movie is a broad comedy, but one with serious underpinnings.

“Right now we do have a doctor shortage in this country, we do have qualified PhDs not only driving cabs, but doing all sorts of work,” he says, “and I really hope the movie sheds light on that, but in a fun, comedic way.

“I hope we’ve given integrity to the issue.

“Through the fun and games and the loud characters and situations, we say a doctor is a doctor is a doctor — that the Hippocratic Oath does not change just because you cross a border.”

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