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Dr. Cabbie brings humour to doctor shortage


By Ivanna Ihekoaba, September 18 2014 —

At some level, everyone has experienced the feeling of having something you worked so hard for taken away. Dr. Cabbie, the latest film by director Jean-François Pouliot, focuses on these situations and puts a glaring spotlight on the everyday struggles of foreign skilled workers as they struggle to find jobs in their professions.

Dr. Cabbie tells the heartwarming story of an Indian doctor who immigrates to Canada with the ambition of healing others and ends up driving a cab. The film questions the implications of non-recognized foreign accreditation in a country that is experiencing a doctor shortage.

“It’s a very serious problem for immigrants and it’s one I felt needs to be told,” says lead actor Vinay Virmani, who plays Deepak, Dr. Cabbie himself, in the film. “The whole myth or stories that we hear of doctors driving cabs, or engineers, or lawyers doing housework. Jobs that they aren’t supposed to be doing, jobs that their training and skill set is not what they intended to do is a very serious problem.”

Born and raised in Toronto, Virmani has long known of Canada’s doctor shortage. When writing the story for the film, he used his concerns to help fuel the idea of the film. Virmani found inspiration when he encountered a cab driver one night in Toronto, who worked as a doctor in India.

“He told me his story. He said, ‘Look, I came here to Canada, my medical degree wasn’t recognized. I re-trained. I re-qualified. They made me re-learn English, but they couldn’t find a residency for me. I just came here to heal people and they won’t even let me do that.’ His dream was taken away from him, of being a doctor, and that’s unacceptable,” says Virmani.

Although the subject matter is rooted in a serious societal problem, the film takes a light-hearted approach and Virmani’s co-star, Isabelle Kaif, says the audience can expect to laugh.

“Treating such a serious matter in a comedic way has more effect on the audience because they take it in more. They’re more receptive to it,” says Kaif.

Adding to the comedy is Kunal Nayyar who plays Raj in the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory.


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