Dr. Cabbie’s Vinay Virmani talks to Georgia Straight Editor Charlie Smith on the immigrant experience

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ACTOR, writer, and producer Vinay Virmani spoke recently to Editor Charlie Smith of the highly popular newspaper Georgia Straight (www.straight.com) about how his new comedy, Dr. Cabbie, was inspired by a taxi trip in his hometown of Toronto.

Virmani learned that the cabbie was trained as a doctor in India, but couldn’t practise medicine here because his credentials weren’t recognized by the Ontario licensing body.

He told Smith: “He requalified, he retrained, and still, they couldn’t find him a suitable medical residency. He said something to me that really set off this whole thing, which was ‘I just came here to heal people. I just want to help people and treat people, and they won’t let me do that.’ ”

Virmani plays a young and naive Delhi-trained doctor named Deepak Chopra in the movie that opened this week. He can’t practise medicine after immigrating to Toronto, so he ends up driving a taxi. When he delivers a baby in a cab, Deepak gains celebrity status, prompting him to reflect on why he moved to Canada.

Virmani told Smith: “He says to himself, ‘I don’t need a clinic to heal people. I can do it in the back of my cab because that’s the only thing I know how to do.’ ”

He noted: “I just feel that a subject like this—that is about something important—can be told a little bit more effectively if it’s done through comedy and if it’s entertaining. Hopefully, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry, [and] it will make you leave kind of feeling entertained but also picking up on an important social issue.”

Virmani  pointed out that his dad, Ajay Virmani, moved to Canada from Delhi in the 1970s with just $8 in his pocket. After graduating with an MBA, he became CEO and owner of Cargojet Airways.

Virmani told Smith that he benefited enormously from the guidance of Bollywood acting legend Salman Khan, who coproduced the film. One of Dr. Cabbie’s co-stars is Isabelle Kaif, whose older sister Katrina Kaif is India’s reigning female film star.

 

You can read the full story at:

http://www.straight.com/movies/729546/dr-cabbies-vinay-virmani-focuses-immigrant-experience