The medical profession needs a faith revival: Anupam Kher on his new American TV show, New Amsterdam
The actor plays neurologist Dr Vijay Kapoor in the new NBC medical drama
Bollywood actor Anupam Kher plays an Indian-origin neurologist in the new American TV show, New Amsterdam. The NBC medical drama is based on Twelve Patients, a memoir by Dr Eric Manheimer who supervised New York’s Bellevue Hospital — one of the oldest public hospitals of USA — from 1997 to 2012. NewAmsterdam stars Ryan Eggold in the lead role as unorthodox doctor Max Goodwin who seeks to reinstate public faith in the medical profession.
Kher’s character, Dr. Vijay Kapoor, is one of the oldest doctors at New Amsterdam Hospital — a fictional stand-in for Bellevue Hospital — who has worked at the facility for 25 years and heads its neurology department. The pilot episode of New Amsterdam aired on October 10 and the show has been picked up for full-season broadcast consisting of 22 episodes.
Praising the premise of New Amsterdam, Anupam Kher says, “In India and all over the world, the hierarchy of a doctor is second to god. A patient puts his life in the hands of a doctor with a lot of trust and hope. But when that hope and compassion gets corrupted, then your faith in humanity goes haywire. New Amsterdam is a show that tries to rekindle that compassion. I'm not saying that we don't have honest doctors — I know many doctors who have left their foreign jobs and returned to their countries to serve their people — but overall this profession has also turned into a lucrative business.”
Kher, who has been a part of International projects like Silver Linings Playbook and The Big Sick, has received a positive response for his portrayal of Dr. Kapoor. “The response so far has been very encouraging. There have been many great medical shows in the past, but New Amsterdam has moved a lot of people who want a faith revival in the medical profession. I am very proud to be on the show and represent India and Indian-origin doctors,” he says.
Asked if shooting a pacy English-language show was daunting in any way, Kher replies, “Well, I’ve spoken more English in the last three months than I’ve ever done in my life. I went to Hindi medium school, so I think in Hindi. For this role, I have to translate my thoughts from Hindi to English and then speak my lines as if it's my second language. Also, since I play a senior neurologist who has lived in the US, I don't want to say the medical terms as a Hindi medium boy would. It is a difficult thing to do. I feel like a newcomer all over again."