Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota: Bilkul Bhi Nahi!!
Movie Review: Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
Star Cast: Abhimanyu Dassani, Radhika Madan, Shwetha Basu Prasad, Gulshan Devaiah, Mahesh Manjrekar, and Jimit Trivedi
Screenplay & Direction by Vasan Bala
Music Composed by Karan Kulkarni & Dipanjan Guha
Cinematography by Jay Patel
Censor Certificate: UA & Runtime: 138 Minutes
Every film is an extension of character that a director and writer posses. They or he/she tend to come out of a fantasy world of goodness or evil to deliver such a piece of art that at times bugs you, at times irritates you, at times inspires you and at times make you feel envy. I, as a critic or highly opinionated person about films, am in envy about a talent like Mani Ratnam. How can he be so relentlessly passionate? How can he still be fresh even though he is recycling his own ideas, he can still find new ways in story-telling?
With Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, I feel a tiny fraction of jealousy for not being an 80’s kid, who could have had the pleasure and chance to watch many classics in theatres for the first time. I could have discovered the sensation of Martial arts with the emergence of Bruce Lee and would have discovered a new phenomenon like Chiranjeevi, Rajnikanth with Kamal Haasan in their top form. I would have had the pleasure to enjoy true silliness of the love stories when action-packed films are very regular. I would have had the pleasure to see films at single screens for a few more years.
Vasan Bala, just took me on that nostalgia train and left me without a companion to wander around and find my inspirations from the work that inspired him to make the film work. It is not a tiring journey as I am a sucker for Chinese action films, myself. I really love the over-the-top tropes of Indian dramas and the revenge sagas that dominate them. I enjoy a delicious meal and this one is full-course.
It is relentless in being a meta-film. It keeps giving tributes to all the old world filmy troupes while making fun of them. Here, the hero is completely filmy and he imagines his girl to walk-out from a cupboard while he is in a police station. His grand father’s name is Ajooba and he isn’t worried about his daughter’s penchant to pick a fight with a stranger who looks completely like a rowdy at a theater. We see, the young narrator, hero, twisting tales from his story to his convenience and then revealing the actual thing. We also see the director giving a twist to “And they lived happily ever after…” cliches too.
It doesn’t stop there, we see the typical South Indian troupes like Hero and heroine starting their friendship/love from a tender age. He then gets into the typical superhero zone where he doesn’t even leave mythological epics. He shows that the hero trains by watching videotapes of many action films and majorly a 100-man fight of a Karate Champion. Still did not ring-a-bell? The story of Eklavya and his sacrifice for his guru, Dhronacharya. In a weird way, the heroine is Arjuna and hero is Ekalvaya. Both became friends early and teamed up to beat the enemy of Dhronacharya with their powers. Here Dhrona is not inclined on revenge but in the epic, he was and we all know whom he favored too.
This film reverberates the nostalgia theme not just in writing but editing patterns, find the typical 90’s style edit in the opening scenes and the aspect ratio it is limited to like an 80’s film. It uses music as the real kick in the butt of nostalgia and we get simply beautiful tracks one after other soaked in pure genius mix of over-the-top references to the cult. This is an amalgamation of all senses that are directed our brain to remember our favourites while watching a film with potential to become one. A simple Nolan-esque style of watching films. A film within a film within a film kind off an experience which demands our brain to be a simple single screen with a room for multiple screens like an under renovation theater which does sound to be the idea, when you think back to entire second half almost happening in an under renovation housing complex. Vasan Bala gave nods to old action films, new age technical detailing and also made fun of superhero and supervillain troupes while making a Superhero film himself. Gulshan Devaiah is phenomenal while Mahesh Manjrekar and Radhika Madan stole many scenes. Abhimanyu Dassan seems a good actor too.
On the whole, this is a film about films and the inspiration they can fill you up with. Some times good and sometimes bad. Even Bala isn’t an exception. He even gave drag in films a nod, by making his film overlong and draggy at some parts. Still, he created a piece of art that would inspire someone somewhere to go back and re-watch all their favorite classics and write a beautiful homage film for all of them in their own weird little fashion.