Human: Queer Relationships in the Midst of the Murky Medical World

Hotstar web series human

The Hotstar web series “Human” focuses on the relationship between pharmaceutical companies, huge private hospitals, and government officials that exploit the underprivileged in human trials while manufacturing new drugs.

The ambitious web series has a well-written web of characters, almost all of them in some or other way related or impacted by the dark side of the medical world.

The web series makers managed to build a fairly vast canvas of characters, with the focus of the show as a narrative that aims to expose the connection between big pharma, large private hospitals, and government officials who time and again exploit the poor and needy in human trials for new drugs.

This article/review is just with the queer parts of this web series in perspective, but if I have to actually write about the whole thing I would only talk about – Shefali Shah, cos she was just ruthless, cold and cruel and I’ve hated her character since the beginning! Well, she is that GOOD!

**Spoilers Ahead**

Shefali Shah, as Dr. Gauri Nath, was such a delight in her own ruthless way. An acclaimed neurologist who runs her hospital, Manthan. Kirti Kulhari plays Dr. Saira Sabarwal, a cardiac surgeon who worships Dr. Nath and joins Manthan’s cardiology department. Saira is idealistic but talented and capable, making her perfect for Gauri to mentor while also manipulating her. Saira’s personal life is shown as complicated, in which she is in the closet about her sexuality and is also a pathological liar. The righteousness she seeks in her workspace and the flaws in her personal life didn’t seem to fit but fit well in the narrative.

Although there was very little chemistry between them, the queer relationship between the leads in Human, Shefali Shah, and Kirti Kulhari, being one of the main twists in the story, was in a way good. It was good to see a less sexualized view of queer women. The frustrations of being queer, the living with lying, and family reactions were written in neatly, but it is a wee bit tiring to see queerness as something that is only “in relation to” another person. It is good to see that there is a little more sensitivity than the previously done representations of queer women. In comparison to, say, for example, the lesbian in Call My Agent: Bollywood, who was shown as borderline stalking and creepy, this representation in Human is better for sure!

Individually, Shefali Shah has no match for her acting talents, but Kriti Kulhari did a good job. The situation where she confronts her parents about her identity (without ever labeling herself) and talks about her sexual experiences was done well. It was raw, but then again, the focus on talking about only sexual experiences was unfair, because again, being queer isn’t just about sex and sexual feelings. There is also the hiding, the lying, the struggle, so much queer trauma that could have been addressed! Clearly, Kriti Kulhari has given it all, but somewhere the dialogues are out of place and disconnected from reality.Starring Shefali Shah, Kirti Kulhari, Vishal Jethwa, and Ram Kapoor, this web series Human is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. It is directed by Mozez Singh, Vipul Amrutlal Shah