Recently, Boman Irani tweeted about his visit to Grant Medical College and Sir Jamshedjee Jeejebhoy Group of Hospitals.
170 years celebrations of Grant Medical college.Addressed the august gathering in the very room we shot the munna mbbs speech. A full circle— boman irani (@bomanirani) February 16, 2014
It was charming to see the greatest medical minds of this country sit on the benches of that historic room, having a ball like school kids.— boman irani (@bomanirani) February 16, 2014
Doctors, some of whom were 90+ enjoying the reunion of the historic Grant medical college. I feel truly fortunate to have shared the day.— boman irani (@bomanirani) February 16, 2014
Shot here 10 years earlier. Same room, same spot. Now at the 170 yr celebrations of grant medical college. pic.twitter.com/4ngI33sw4k— boman irani (@bomanirani) February 21, 2014
The year was 2003, the film was feel-good comedy Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. and the role Boman Irani played earned him a nomination for Filmfare Best Comedian.
In the film, when Murli Prasad Sharma a.k.a. Munna Bhai (Sanjay Dutt) decides he wants to become a doctor, he asks Circuit (Arshad Warsi) to find out which is the best medical college in Mumbai. They soon find themselves in the corridors of the "Imperial Institute of Medical Studies" - a fictional college created for the purpose of the film.
Bollywood film locations are important, so the Anatomy Hall of Grant Medical College was used as one of the many filming locations. This great lecture facility lent some authenticity to the story.
It is in the Anatomy Hall that Dr. J. Asthana (Boman Irani) introduces himself as the Dean of the Imperial Institute of Medical Studies:
"I'd like to tell you, the country's best doctors have studied in this very hall. They sat on these very benches. Just like you are sitting. You should be proud that you are to be a part of this 150-year-old institution. This institute has a history of producing good doctors ... no, great doctors."
This description wasn't far off for the real Anatomy Hall. According the Grant Medical College website:
Grant Medical College and sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, established in 1845, is a premier and pioneer medical institution of national and international fame. This oldest medical institution in Western India, run by Government of Maharashtra, provides undergraduate and postgraduate medical training and health care ranging from broad specialties to super-specialties along with tertiary care to patients. Grant Medical College Sir J. J. Group of Hospitals stand apart amongst all the medical colleges in Maharashtra because of its unique topography, connectivity and persistent leadership in medical training and health care for common man over past one and a half century.
The institute has four hospitals attached to it: 1) Sir J. J. Hospital 2) St. George’s Hospital 3) Gokuldas Tejpal (GT) Hospital 4) Cama Albless Hospital with combined bed strength of 2844 and caters to an annual load of 1,200,000 out patients and 80,000 indoor patients, from all parts of Maharashtra and central India.
With an annual intake capacity of 200 undergraduate students for MBBS and over 190 postgraduate students for various MD/ MS/ Diploma/ Super specialty courses, Grant Medical College Sir JJ Group of Hospitals stands among the Medical field as an institute of immense national importance. Free and quality treatment across a large number of specialties for people below poverty line and at a nominal cost to the common man is the hallmark of Grant Medical College and Sir J. J. Group of Hospitals.
As seen in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., the deskrows in the Anatomy Hall are painted black - apparently to hide the graffiti left by students over the years. But even that doesn't hide the stickers that have been posted on the front of the desks. And the wear-and-tear on the desks is apparent. The desks are functional, but definitely used.
Teakwood benches, which had once been painted black to hide students' doodles and comments, have been restored to their original tawny golden colour. The circular arches at doors and windows, the original blackboard's retractable pull-down mechanism as well as the spiral staircases have been restored. "Areas where the teakwood benches or arches were broken or had missing parts were specially fixed. We got the restorers to find wooden pieces that matched our wood in quality and age," said J J Group of Hospitals dean Dr T P Lahane.
The hall will have a few new things: A wall of honour that will carry an ID photograph of all students who have passed out between 1865 and 2014. "We added granite flooring and kota tiles on the steps as the old flooring had broken in several places," said contractor Deepak Mande who has been appointed by the PWD to restore the hall.
The renovation of the new Anatomy Hall was completed in time to welcome the more than 1,200 people who came to celebrate the anniversary of the college on 16 February 2014. (You can see the beautifully renovated desks in the photo tweeted by Boman Irani, above.) The celebration also gave more seasoned medical professionals the opportunity to offer wisdom and lessons learned to a younger generation by sharing their humorous and poignant experiences in the medical profession.
Ten years after the launch of Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., the film seems to have become a favorite among alumni of Grant Medical College. Being part of the 170-year celebration of this world-class medical institution was considered an honor for actor Boman Irani. According to the Bangalore Mirror:
Actor Boman Irani was extremely nostalgic on Thursday afternoon after going back to the Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. classroom at Grant Medical College in Mumbai. He said that he never imagined while shooting the opening lecture scene in the 2003 flick that he would return 10 years later to the same room and same spot and address the alumni on their 170 year celebrations. A congregation of some of the greatest medical minds India has produced. "An honour not for me but to the team of Munnabhai for doing the right thing in cinema," he said.
The following video playlist features: the trailer for the film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.; Boman Irani talking about his first day on the film; and the scene in Anatomy Hall where Boman Irani introduces himself as the Dean of the college.