I’m a fan of the action genre, as are most cinephiles. Most Bollywood action movies involving clichéd story arcs are usually written off, because we’ve seen those kinds of movies a gazillion times. And don’t get me started with the action sequences. Bollywood movies, most of them anyway, have terrible sequences. The storylines seem so awfully trite. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, the clichés are lined up just the right way that we can’t help but love the movie. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, an eccentric, hilarious action comedy, is just that. It bucks the very Bollywood conventions it draws from.
That’s where it stands out. But as much as it’s a satire, it’s also a delightful ode to cinema (from the title to the milieu to the storyline itself).
Surya (played by Abhimanyu Dassani) suffers from a rare condition known as ‘congenital insensitivity to pain’. So yeah, that means he literally feels absolutely no pain at all, no matter how badly injured he is. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s a good thing or not, but here, due to this, he leads a mostly sequestered childhood, isolated from the outside world for the fear of being mocked or ridiculed.
Surya finds solace in his grandfather and his martial arts VHS tapes which he constantly binges on. As a result of this, he starts to develop a laughably audacious sense of imagination. To ensure that his beloved grandson doesn’t deal with the struggles of ‘fitting in’ due to his unfortunate condition, he keeps him company and even fuels his wild fantasies to keep him happy.
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Ajoba (the grandfather, played by Mahesh Manjrekar) is an oddball himself. In fact, the delightfully weird world director Vasan Bala (Anurag Kashyap school) creates in this movie is filled with goofy characters, storylines which the writers go out of their way to make so oddball-ish that you can’t help but get sucked in their wacky world.
Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is pure entertainment for the sake of entertainment. As far as action is concerned, the movie sets the bar very high, as opposed to other Bollywood films having mediocre action sequences which do little to get you hooked. The film isn’t pretentious in any manner, it doesn’t try hard to be smarter than it actually is. Bala creates a hilarious environment that is so random that you’ll laugh out loud despite yourself. Sure, the screenplay could’ve had a bit more depth to it, but the smart action sequences along with its unapologetically absurd setting makes up for it all.
Special mention to composers Karan Kulkarni and Dipanjan Guha for the brilliantly done music which aids the narrative.
Abhimanyu Dassani and Radhika Madan slip into their characters’ skins perfectly and share a great on-screen chemistry. Dassani well displays a sort of blankness that’s associated with when you’ve had a mostly isolated childhood. His wide-eyed looks at the popping of bones or at the sight of blood gushing out from his body are hilarious.
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Madan is a delight as Supri. Her talent and charisma take centre stage when she’s allowed to be as weird as humanly possible, which allows her to expand the character of Supri in her own vision. That is to say, she killed it.
Gulshan Devaiah effortlessly nails it both as Jimmy, the clichéd psychotic villain and Mani, his younger brother. (The double role, a nod to the 70s and 80s Bollywood).
And don’t forget the numerous action movie references. The movie is an ode to the classics that Surya grew up with, from Bruce Lee to Nicholas Cage characters. Vasan Bala is the Edgar Wright/Guy Ritchie of Bollywood. The style he manages to evoke in the film is almost comic book-like.
The satirical, whimsical action-entertainer is a Deadpool-esque comedy. It doesn’t make much sense, but hey, who wants it to?
Where to Watch: Netflix
By Aditya Sarma
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