Kerala doctors at ‘Vayo Clinic’ prescribe ‘laughter three times a day’ to break barriers

In Kerala, a group of four doctors believes that humour has the power to break down barriers, and started a mini-comedy web series.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Mar 31, 2024 | 7:00 AMUpdatedMar 31, 2024 | 7:00 AM

The doctors during the shooting of 'Marunnu'. (Supplied)

Four physicians in Kerala have “discovered” a cure for the serious tone of healthcare discussions: Humour.

According to them, what started as a casual conversation during one of their gatherings soon became a comic web series, Marunnu, released on YouTube.

Marunnu (Malayalam for medicine) is the brainchild of Dr Shinto K Thomas, Dr Ananth Mohan, Dr Jikku R Sekhar, and Dr Sanil Kumar. It is released through Rx Arts, a YouTube channel created by Dr Thomas.

The doctors, former batchmates of Government Medical College, Kottayam, said that through Marunnu they had found a unique way to blend their love for medicine and passion for acting and directing.

These doctors think that laughter is the best medicine, especially when it comes to hard-hitting public health issues like anti-microbial resistance (AMR) or awareness against tuberculosis (TB).

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‘Humour to bridge the gap’

Poster of Marunnu. (YouTube screenshot)

Dr Thomas, the director as well as co-scriptwriter, it was the quest to explore their artistic talent beyond the confines of hospital walls that resulted in the series.

“We envision Marunnu as a mini-comedy web series. Here Dr Vasudevan Yohannan and his staff Giblesh Kumar of ‘Vayo Clinic’ will enlighten you and help you to bust some medical myths. We plan each episode as a fun ride,” he told South First.

Vayo Clinic is a humorous take on the Mayo Clinic. Vayo in Malayalam means “come”.

“We realised that humour has the power to break down barriers, especially when it comes to discussing important health topics,” he added.

Marunnu features bite-sized episodes of a maximum of five minutes each where doctors discuss public health issues with a comedic twist. From debunking medical myths to shedding light on the doctor-patient relationship, Dr Thomas said they cover it all while keeping their audience entertained.

So far, two episodes have been released. The first one came out on 22 March and it discussed the issue of AMR. The second one about tuberculosis was released on 23 March, ahead of the World TB Day.

A screenshot from one of the episodes.

“This is just the beginning. We promise to tackle more issues in the coming weeks with skits on doctor-patient relationships, a light-hearted look at the medical community, and other topics that fall under public health issues,” Dr Thomas said.

When asked about feedback, he said, “We feel that our efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, as our channel has gained traction not only among our peers in the medical community but also among the general public.”

He said viewers appreciate the blend of humour and valuable insights, making learning about health topics a delightful experience.

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‘Keep it short and simple’

Speaking to South First, Dr Mohan said, “In a world where time is precious and attention spans are short, we believe we found the perfect formula to captivate audiences: Videos that are short, sweet, and filled with laughter. We try to deliver hard-hitting public health messages with a hilarious twist.”

He said the shoot is mostly held at night since all of them are working: Two in private hospitals and as many in government-run institutions.

The quartet.

“We discuss the topic for shooting whenever we get time. We mainly discuss it in a WhatsApp group. All four all involved in the scriptwriting process,” Dr Mohan said.

He further added, “Once we finalise the script, we proceed to shooting. It usually happens in the night as it’s at that time we become free. The two episodes were shot at Mundakayam Medical Trust Hospital, Kottayam, where Shinto works.”

Dr Mohan said three other alumni of GMC Kottayam are also involved in the web series. Dr Meenu handles the music, Dr Althaf, designs, and Dr Hari is the mentor.

Signing off, he added, “We wanted to bring a human touch to healthcare discussions. And what better way to do that than through laughter?”

Incidentally, one of the posters in the episodes says, ‘Marunnu: Laughter Three Times a Day.”

(Edited by Majnu Babu)