Neeraj Ghaywan’s sensitive Varanasi-set debut is next on our countdown of the best Hindi films made in 2015.
Neeraj Ghaywan’s first feature, written by lyricist and stand-up comic Varun Grover, is set in the ancient city of life and death. Chance, the Ganga river, and railway tracks all plays their part in the stories of Deepak (Vicky Kaushal), from the Dalit Dom caste that has raked coals over corpses at the ghats for millennia, and Devi (Richa Chadha), a computer institute employee whose first brush with love and sex goes horribly wrong. Deepak falls and rises in love, but Devi’s journey takes longer. Harassed and shamed by a venal blackmailing police officer who claims that he possesses a sex tape of her tryst with her lover, Devi folds into herself. It takes a convivial colleague, Sadhya (Pankaj Tripathi), to break the ice and make her re-assess her relationship with her father (Sanjay Mishra). Sadhya’s tribute to the pleasures of kheer is one of Masaan’s most brilliant moments.
Tripathi, one of Hindi cinema’s most gifted and dependable actors, is perfectly cast as Sadhya. Ghaywan had met Tripathi on the sets of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, on which Ghaywan was an assistant director. The sequence was more comic in tone, but was trimmed for the final cut, the filmmaker said. “Sadhya is a happy loner,” Ghaywan said. “Completely unaware of how lonely his life is and yet, relishing the goodness of life, he is the catalyst who brings change in Devi’s life. Varun wrote Sadhya based on a character from Vinod Kumar Shukla’s novel Deewar Mein Ek Khirkee Rahti Thi.” The movie is packed with several references to Hindi literature, and the eagle-eyed viewer might spot Sadhya reading Shukla’s book in the movie.
The conversation between Devi and Sadhya is quiet and ordinary, yet profound, like so many of the exchanges between various characters. “Sadhya is the one who purges Devi’s turmoil that is inside of her, making her reassess her equation with her own father,” Ghaywan said. “Throughout the film I wanted the dialogue to be spoken in a conversational manner, the way it was written. I didn’t want the philosophy or the character’s motive to be spelt out and attract attention, but just happen organically.”
There was more to Sadhya’s character than was included in Masaan’s final version. “A scene that is there in the deleted scenes on the DVD shows him talking to Devi on a scooter,” Ghaywan said. “He reveals his urge to someday just get on a train and get off an a random station where he can get a whiff of good tea. He can’t do this now as he is tied to his father and his job. Devi motivates him to do it. One day Sadhya calls Devi while she is in Allahabad at a lecture. He tells her that he has taken that train and it motivates Devi to do something that she has been wanting to do – go and meet Piyush’s parents.” Piyush is Devi’s unfortunate lover, with whom she gets caught in a tawdry hotel room by a police unit. “All this was removed in the film because of time,” Ghaywan said. “Also, in the edit, I wanted Devi’s trigger to finally meet Piyush’s parents to be more internal rather than external. She has a sense of dignity that is dear to her. While writing, we knew it is not going to be an easy character to fathom. We didn’t want a perfect arc for her (like it is for Deepak) or a defined set of character traits. In grief, your inner soul is in contradiction with what the mind wants. Devi had to be uneven, unfathomable and instinctive.”
For previous entries in our countdown to the best Hindi films of the year, see here, here and here.
Putting the patient first - insights for hospitals to meet customer service expectations
These emerging solutions are a fine balance between technology and the human touch.
As customers become more vocal and assertive of their needs, their expectations are changing across industries. Consequently, customer service has gone from being a hygiene factor to actively influencing the customer’s choice of product or service. This trend is also being seen in the healthcare segment. Today good healthcare service is no longer defined by just qualified doctors and the quality of medical treatment offered. The overall ambience, convenience, hospitality and the warmth and friendliness of staff is becoming a crucial way for hospitals to differentiate themselves.
A study by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in fact indicates that good patient experience is also excellent from a profitability point of view. The study, conducted in the US, analyzed the impact of hospital ratings by patients on overall margins and return on assets. It revealed that hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have higher profitability. For instance, hospitals with ‘excellent’ consumer assessment scores between 2008 and 2014 had a net margin of 4.7 percent, on average, as compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with ‘low’ scores.
This clearly indicates that good customer service in hospitals boosts loyalty and goodwill as well as financial performance.Many healthcare service providers are thus putting their efforts behind: understanding constantly evolving customer expectations, solving long-standing problems in hospital management (such as long check-out times) and proactively offering a better experience by leveraging technology and human interface.
The evolving patient
Healthcare service customers, who comprise both the patient and his or her family and friends, are more exposed today to high standards of service across industries. As a result, hospitals are putting patient care right on top of their priorities. An example of this in action can be seen in the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. In July 2015, the hospital launched a ‘Smart OPD’ system — an integrated mobile health system under which the entire medical ecosystem of the hospital was brought together on a digital app. Patients could use the app to book/reschedule doctor’s appointments and doctors could use it to access a patient’s medical history, write prescriptions and schedule appointments. To further aid the process, IT assistants were provided to help those uncomfortable with technology.
The need for such initiatives and the evolving nature of patient care were among the central themes of the recently concluded Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit. The speakers included pundits from marketing and customer relations along with leaders in the healthcare space.
Among them was the illustrious speaker Larry Hochman, a globally recognised name in customer service. According to Mr. Hochman, who has worked with British Airways and Air Miles, patients are rapidly evolving from passive recipients of treatment to active consumers who are evaluating their overall experience with a hospital on social media and creating a ‘word-of-mouth’ economy. He talks about this in the video below.
As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.
The promise gap
In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.
So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.
As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.
Striking the balance
Bridging the promise gap also involves a balance between technology and the human touch. Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who also spoke at the event, wrote about the example of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health Hospitals. He writes that their team of surgeons typically performs about 900 procedures a month which is equivalent to what most U.S. university hospitals do in a year. The hospitals employ cutting edge technology and other simple innovations to improve efficiency and patient care.
The insights gained from Narayana’s model show that while technology increases efficiency of processes, what really makes a difference to customers are the human touch-points. As Mr. Hochman says, “Human touch points matter more because there are less and less of them today and are therefore crucial to the whole customer experience.”
By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.
Hospitals are also looking at data and consumer research to identify consumer pain points. Rajit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Max Healthcare Institute, who was a panelist at the summit, spoke of the importance of data to understand patient needs. His organisation used consumer research to identify three critical areas that needed work - discharge and admission processes for IPD patients and wait-time for OPD patients. To improve wait-time, they incentivised people to book appointments online. They also installed digital kiosks where customers could punch in their details to get an appointment quickly.
These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.
To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.
This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.