Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
Cast: Abhimanyu Dassani, Radhika Madan
Director: Vasan Bala
Vasan Bala of the un-released film Peddlers fame comes into his own with Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota. Bala delivers a film with a child-like comic book quality with a quirky central premise about a protagonist with a superhero affliction and a family tragedy that makes him want to go after all chain thieves. Indeed, MKDNH gets full marks for its originality in the telling of an imaginative story about Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani), the boy born without any pain receptors in his body, a feature that gets him into a whole lot of trouble.
Vasan Bala’s story is ingenious in its use of local surroundings and referencing of superhero stories and of course, the movies! There are judwa bhais, martial arts, childhood sweethearts, and even a doting grandfather involved in this madcap caper. The film is a veritable doff of the hat to the much-loved clichés of Hindi cinema. Surya’s war cry, “Paap ko jala ke raakh kar doonga” - being just one of them.
Surya, because of his affliction and subsequent isolation-in order to prevent him from causing himself grievous injury- turns into a man-child with an endearing innocence that can sometimes be exasperating for his family. The upside is that he gets to watch all kinds of Kung Fu videos under the indulgent gaze of his grandfather to keep him out mischief. It’s no surprise then that Bruce Lee ends up being Surya’s role model until he discovers Mani Sir (Gulshan Devaiah) who can beat a 100 people in a row!
Direction-wise, Bala is in terrific form, never allowing the zany, multi-track narrative to slip out his control. Barring the long fight between Mani, Surya, Supri and the evil-twin Jimmy’s gang which is a bit of a stretch, the film moves rapidly as it should in an action-comedy.
The central performance by the new kid on the block, Abhimanyu Dassani, is sincere and competent. He pulls off the innocent babe-in-the-woods act with ease. As far as debut films go, Dassani has surely chosen the right vehicle to display his acting chops, pun intended. Incidentally, he is the son of actress Bhagyashree who became a household name with her 80s superhit debut in Maine Pyar Kiya.
Radhika Madan in yet another fiery turn as Supri, is impressive with her action, while Mahesh Manjrekar as the grandfather is quite a delight. He most certainly features among directors who are popular choices as actors too.
Music too plays an important role in the film, keeping alive the zany comic-book feel. The quirky tunes do add an extra twisty to the loopy goings on.
Incidentally, having attended the film screening along with the cast and crew, what I found particularly notable was the palpable excitement. A whole bunch of young millennial actors- Harshvardhan Kapoor, Sanya Malhotra, Ishaan Khattar were present to cheer their buddy, but equally to cheer the neoteric cinema they identify with and want to participate in.
Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota is the inventive, new age Hindi cinematic offering that could appeal to the millennial audience. With a combination of its wacky setup and laughs aplenty this avant-garde film could, in fact, turn out to be a surprise sleeper hit of a film.
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