A glimpse into the lives of Indian doctors fighting COVID-19 in the US

4 min read
Filmmaker Sweta Rai's documentary 'A Pandemic: Away from the Motherland' aims to take audiences on a journey of empathy for the doctors who are on the coronavirus frontline
The Los Angeles-based filmmaker Sweta Rai, from Madhya Pradesh, has three Masters degrees but nothing prepared her for the trials and tribulations of pulling together an emotive documentary on the millions of doctors risking their lives to save others.

In a Skype interview with MetroPlus, Sweta does not just talk about the logistical challenges, but also the emotional weight of pulling off such a project.

The documentary follows the personal lives of five Indian doctors who are on the frontline of the COVID-19 battle. One of them is Sweta's friend, Dr Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of Northwestern's lung transplant programme, who recently made headlines for performing the United States' first double-lung transplant surgery on a COVID-19 patient.

Filmmaker Sweta Rai

Sweta wanted to go deeper into what these doctors — the other four being Dr Pooja Malhotra (nephrologist), who contracted COVID-19, recovered, and got back to work; and Dr Uma Madhusudana (internal medicine), Dr Shreedhar Kulkarni (internal medicine), and Dr Shantanu Singh (critical care and pulmonary diseases) — go through each day, risking their lives and wondering when they would next be able to see their family.

'A journey of empathy'

"I wanted to start a conversation of empathy," she says. "I focussed on the doctors' journeys. Two of them have parents back in India who worry about them greatly."

At the time of writing this, the United States has 2.43…
Divya Kala Bhavani
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