Bollywood usually takes itself too seriously. There are only a handful of films where we have got a glimpse of that madness or suspension of belief done right. The genre is interesting and if approached with the correct sensitivity can yield some amazing results. Case study - this week's release Vasan Bala’s eccentric Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. Starring debutant Abhimanyu Dassani in the lead with Radhika Madan, the film's promo already set the tone on what to expect. The story of a young boy born with a disability that becomes his biggest ability - a medical condition where his body feels no pain. Interesting isn’t it ? Well if you throw in an antagonist like the often under-utilised and underrated Gulshan Devaiah in a double role then you stir a crazy pot of possibilities that bring insane results.
Vasan Bala’s approach to the film is simple - think out of the box, make the film technically as sound as possible (the slow mo shots and the background score throwing tribute after tribute to songs from 80s and 90s) and ensure that the characters in the film sustain interest. Everyone from Mahesh Manjrekar who plays Abhimanyu’s grandfather to his father played by Jimit Trivedi are outstanding. Bala doesn’t treat a single character like a showpiece and hence gives them pivotal roles to play in the film.
Like Tarantino, Bala does great justice to his action scene and there are a couple of blood curling moments like a school kid stabbing his classmate with a pointed compass and a father mercilessly slapping his young daughter. These moments have place in the film in the larger context. Why the film works is simply because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Like Andaz Apna Apna, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota might not find the relevance and glory today but it definitely is a defining moment in contemporary Indian cinema where studios are slowly and steadily getting typecast into churning out stories that swerve entirely to the left or then are mostly mainstream. MKDNH is somewhere in the middle.
Abhimanyu Dassani is first rate in his debut film. The lad is confident and one can clearly tell he’s had a truckload of fun playing Surya. Radhika Madan as his childhood crush and future sidekick has some stellar moments of her own. She’s a face and talent worth following! However the star of the film is the versatile Gulshan Devaiah who can possibly play any character under the sun with utmost conviction. His double role in the film is one of the major highlights of MKDNH.
The only place where the film falters is in its pace and length. Bala reigns in his editors and gets over indulgent at places. Some of the monologues and dialogues are too long and stretchy.
If you ask me then Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is a definite ticket to buy this weekend. Buckle up for a fun ride where the unexpected becomes the new normalcy and logic and reason are tossed out so you could let your imagination run wild!
3.5 out of 5
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