10 Thrillers That Detailed Medical Crimes Before Samantha’s Yashoda

The noble profession has not always remained so noble in celluloid. Check out this list of south Indian films that explore the medical world’s darker side
10 Thrillers That Detailed Medical Crimes Before Samantha’s Yashoda

Murdering people for body organs, using IVF treatment to seek vengeance, stealing dead bodies for their fingerprints, and plotting schemes to tamper with medicine rates- south Indian titles have packed in all such mischief and more into their medical thrillers.

And the latest film to dramatise the murky side of the medical world is Samantha’s Yashoda.  The thriller, which is slated to hit the screens on November 11, digs deep into a surrogacy racket that exploits women who rent out their wombs. Samantha plays the titular Yashoda, a surrogate who is admitted at Eva, a plush medical institution that hires surrogate mothers in exchange for a huge sum of money. But when a pregnant woman goes missing, Yashoda unearths a dirty secret and decides to fight back.

Ahead of Yashoda’s release, let’s take a look at a few other films that have explored medical trauma.


Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar

If organ trafficking was the norm that medical thrillers have usually explored, Teddy took this trope to the next level. Imagine going on a college trip and visiting a nearby hospital for a minor injury, only never to return. This is what happens to Srividya (Sayyeshaa), who is forced into a comatose state so that her organs can be harvested. But here’s the catch. When she is given the medicine to induce a coma, her soul gets transferred to a teddy bear (Unreal? It only gets better from here). The teddy, which then finds her saviour in the brilliant Shiva (Arya), sprinkles some hilarity to the genre.

Joseph (2018)

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

Joseph, which won the National Film Award (Special Mention), has a brilliant Joju George steering its narrative. Joseph, an alcoholic, retired police officer with a sharp eye for evidence, is shocked when his ex-wife is declared brain dead after an accident. While the doctors suggest the family go ahead with her organ donation, Joseph feels chary about the whole thing as his gut says it’s a murder. Even as he finds no possible suspect or motive, he decides to follow his instinct — only to discover an underground organ racket. But what happens when Joseph gets trapped in a similar accident?

Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019)

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

Like all detective thrillers, you see Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya walk around in coats and hats, and solve crimes like a pro. Sometimes you feel like the film gives seemingly unnecessary details like Athreya not being able to do the funeral rites of his mother. But the second half catches you off guard, connecting all the dots. When several people linked to his cases are killed, Athreya is tricked as the prime suspect. 

Fighting against all odds, he somehow manages to uncover a secret- dead bodies that are supposed to be sent to Kashi are stolen and dumped near Railway tracks. Apart from milking money by stealing these bodies and hiding a few religious crimes, Athreya learns that the fingerprints of the deceased are used for robberies and murders. The dead can’t deny any crime, can they?

Forensic (2020)

Streaming On: Netflix
Cops getting entangled in medical crime cases have become formulaic in films now. But Forensic adds to the tested genre, the intricacies of forensics. When young girls are abducted and murdered one after the other, the police and forensic personnel figure out a pattern. The only clue they are left with is the DNA of the killer. While it does not match with any suspects, it shockingly points to an unsolved decade-old murder, and thus begins a race to nab the killer.

Thani Oruvan

Thani Oruvan, which saw a duel between Jayam Ravi and Arvind Swamy, is famous for multiple reasons. This film is set against the typical good guy vs. bad guy format within which a medical crime drama ensues. What happens when Siddharth (Swamy), a murderer-turned-scientist, joins hands with his father, a corrupt Health Minister, to profit from the medical industry?  

From illegally testing drugs on newborns to hiking the rates of medicines, Siddharth is the mastermind behind every organised medical crime racket in Chennai. Mithran (Ravi), a police officer, tries to take him down several times, but fails. When he finally decides to take him down with a taste of his own “medicine”, a snug trap is set. 

A: Ad Infinitum (2021)

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

“Science demands sacrifice,” the film tells us. Maybe it refers to the audience’s sacrifice of logic and maybe science itself. Centred around the illegal testing of genetics and de-aging, the film follows an amnesiac man trying to discover his identity. Sanjeev, who has no recollection of his past, leads a new life. And he is shocked to find a doppelgänger in a student leader, Ashwadhama, who went missing 30 years ago. But before Sanjeev can know more, he gets arrested for kidnapping several children. Sanjeev soon learns that Ashwadhama was a victim of de-age testing himself. So, is there a third and evil look-alike?

Kuttram 23

Streaming On: Zee5 and Hotstar

Most of the initial scenes in Kuttram 23 are centred around Assistant Commissioner Vetrimaaran’s (Arun Vijay) family, and if you sense danger, you are not wrong. All that appear as irrelevant details — his sister-in-law’s pregnancy, her IVF treatment, and the murders of a pregnant woman and a priest — find meaning as the film progresses. 

While Vetri is investigating the double murder, a tragedy hits close to home. In addition, Vetri also chances upon a high-profile case of a pregnant woman’s death. As he begins to dig deeper, he finds yet another common connection that forms a pattern. With a convincing concept and interesting twists, Kuttram 23 is arguably one of the most well-crafted medical thrillers in recent times. 

Anasuya (2007)

Streaming On: Zee5

There is no bigger danger than an evil doctor who is on the hunt for organs. Anasuya, a journalist, finds out that a murderer is on a killing spree to harvest organs. But the killer has a signature move –  he leaves behind a red rose with every murder. While the pattern continues to follow eerily, Anasuya rushes to save the killer’s targets. 


Streaming On: Netflix, Zee5, Disney+ Hotstar

Have you ever wondered how the caesarean section took over normal delivery as a more common practice? Well, Mersal gives us a dark and dramatised cautionary tale about the same. Set in the 80s, the film introduces us to SJ Surya's Daniel Arokiyaraj, a skeevy, power-hungry doctor, who is invited to work as a doctor in a village hospital. This is where he uses the innocence of the small-town folk to his advantage. But when he messes with Vetrimaaran (Vijay) and his family, killing his wife with an unnecessary c-section, a tale of revenge begins to brew. 

“You’re shocked when I say caesarean, right? Mark my words, in another 20 years, patients will be shocked by the words ‘normal delivery’,” Daniel prophesies. Fast forward to the present, the film depicts the different ways in which corrupt medical practitioners play with the lives of patients. 

Nirnayam (1995)

Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video

This 1995 crime thriller introduces the concept of organ smuggling early on in the film. When Dr. Annie is murdered in her hospital, it is not because her organs are suspected to be trafficked, but because she has discovered a kidney scam in her hospital. In a turn of events, her husband, Dr. Roy (Mohanlal), is framed for the crime. Now a fugitive, Roy tries to bring the accused behind the scam to justice. 

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