Movie Review: “Dr. Cabbie” – Self-inflicted Racism

Written by Samah Ali October 06, 2014

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As immigrants travel to North America with the thoughts of a new life and opportunities, their promised possibilities in the “land of opportunities” quickly vanishes as obstacles prevent them from capturing their dreams. Instead of gaining prestigious positions from their qualified degrees, they are turned down by the lack of recognition their motherland’s education system has in their new country. Forced to restart, over-educated people end up taking service jobs to make a living instead of their original intentions of a well-paying professional career. “Dr. Cabbie” addresses this issue in a comedic standpoint but is layered over by self-inflicted racism and a failed attempt at a westernized Bollywood movie.

Deepak (Vinay Virami) graduates at the top of his class from medical school and dreams of going to Canada to become a practicing doctor to honor his father. After encouraging his mother to leave India with him, he arrives in Canada with the intention of being fought over by multiple hospitals, but is very disappointed when all establishments decline him. Falling back on the easy job of taxi driving, an unexpected birth inspires him to serve patients in the back of his car and make use of his knowledge. With innocent intentions, Deepak chauffeurs his patients and provides them with the proper medicine needed for their illnesses.

“We have more PhD’s in here than Harvard.”

The original draw to “Dr. Cabbie” is the important discussion it recognizes: the amount of qualified individuals that are forced to be cab drivers. Although there are taxi drivers that have no other prospects, several drivers are intelligent people who graduated with recognizable degrees from impressive universities in their home country. Due to the lack of international recognition from North American institutions, these trained scholars revert to simple skills like driving to make a living. Not only does this movie bring light to the situation, but it opens the discussion in the Western world and how to fix this drawback. Having a graduate degree in any profession shouldn’t be ignored; rather it should be seen as legitimate credentials for the correct work field. As “Dr. Cabbie” brings up, there should be more doctors serving people in practices, not driving people around in the streets.

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Virami is a great story developer. With that out of the way, let’s recognize his one-dimensional writing and acting in both features he’s participated in, “Breakaway” and “Dr. Cabbie”. The two movies have very different storylines, however the way they are executed is relatively the same. Struggling Indian boy who wants to fulfill his dream and ultimately falls in love with an attractive, white woman; salt and pepper in some traditional Bollywood themes and musical references. Recognizing the substantial topic for “Dr. Cabbie”, the repeated comments of “being cheap” and the idol-like obsession of marrying a woman with “milky skin” makes you question Virami’s cultural stability, let alone the movie. To cover up his insecurities, traditional Bollywood dance scenes are used to salvage whatever cultural dignity is left. Clearly someone needs to return to their roots and develop a new approach to writing films.

“Your dream of becoming a doctor has become a real nightmare.”

“Dr. Cabbie” brings up a solid issue with international education systems and the validity of a university degree, but it falls short of discussing how we can improve this flaw. Instead, the Westernized Bollywood flick makes several notions towards Indian culture and stereotypes to the point of questioning the writer’s insecurities. All in all, better to avoid this movie or watch while channel surfing.

Rating: 3/10

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About Samah Ali

Samah Ali

With a deep admiration for film, television, and music, Samah spends most of her free time expressing and sharing her love for the arts. Studying Creative Writing at Western University, she enjoys writing about film & music and shapes her passions with the latest movie or album available.

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