Opening Film: 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival
Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota which translates as The Man Who Feels No Pain is an out-and-out whacky entertainer. Vasan Bala (co-writer Raman Raghav 2.0) sets up a comic-like ride which transcends into a pleasant entertainer, here, the winner is Vasan’s resourceful cinematic influences. From The Karate Kid, The Terminator, Rocky, The Death Match to Geraftar play an important arc; it’s such a resonating film for someone like me who has grown up watching Jackie Chan and Rocky, that too with grandparents. Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani) has a rare congenital disease that makes him insensitive to pain, and sets out learn martial arts and hunt down muggers.
Simple structure but with a quirky self-aware narrative; a character even exclaims “too dramatic” – Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota never gets stale as it re-hydrates itself time-to-time. Even mundane activities are presented with a rhythmic pattern and lit in sunny colours of a comic-book by Cinematographer Jay I. Patel. Rooted in local flavour of Mumbai while borrowing pulp from Tamil films of 80s – Vasan Bala ensembles the gist into a silly-mischievous adventure. Karan Kulkarni’s zany soundtrack trends a cinematic crescendo, the pop music steadily transports into a pulpy zone. Vasan Bala who has briefly assisted Anurag Kashyap derives musical notes alike, which raises the craziness of the narrative to another level until an overwhelming exhaustion.Abhimanyu Dassani debuts with an indigenous character, slips into Surya’s character with utter determination without a hinderance. Provided with amazing action sequences choreographed by Eric Jacobus and Dennis Ruel, Abhimanyu’s confidence in delivering martial arts is naive which is credibly matched up by fierce Radhika Madan. Gulshan Devaiah who apparently plays a “cliché psychotic villain” and a “cliché drunken master” juggles smoothly between two contradictory personalities where he ends up with a physical reformation. Mahesh Manjrekar steals the show with his middle-class indulgent antics, a typical grandfather provides hydration to Surya’s character.
Vasan Bala’s surreal usage of reference material somewhere makes a reverence towards Globalisation in a subtle manner; Surya’s superpower lies in hydration. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota might act as a restraint entertainer, limited in its reach but once you enter the zany and peppy world, you’re in for an eccentric comic ride. “I felt like Rocky Balboa”, the infamous punchline sums up feelings for the whacky entertainer.
Release: 21 March, 2019
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