Vasan Bala’s delightfully mischievous film is what Bollywood should take pride in
In an extremely unique, novel, and amusing way, your hero here starts believing he’s the superhero material going out there to save the world. Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (MKDNH) is never your regular superhero fantasy film. Instead it’s a perfect ode to the genre, both taking a dig at them and also respecting them for what they do to you as a cinematic entity. Its an experimental film, something that’s never attempted before in Hindi cinema. And mark the words, the sincerity in this brave attempt pays off.
Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani) is diagnosed with a rare medical condition- Congenital Insensitivity to pain, meaning he feels no pain, no matter what. This makes him a misfit where he’s constantly bullied by peers. Believing that his condition is a greater sign, he learns martial arts to hunt the criminals down.
Its Vasan Bala’s genius for first of all to come up with an idea so uncoventional to even make a film about it. Reminding you of characters sketched by M Night Shyamalan for that matter, Bala brings in his own signature style incorporating humor, sense, logic, rationality, and also absolute absurdity. References to Bruce Lee or Kill Bill including various others are many, and you like them all.
The narrative style is incredibly refreshing, mainly infusing the plot with monologues for what characters are thinking, sudden songs and dialogues from memorable films. While the story about a medical condition could be straightforward, as norms would have it, what Bala does here is pump it with several tongue-in-cheek moments where you’re left surprised at the audacity of the maker. Its a world created by Bala for sheer pleasure of it. But never does it take you away from reality.
If superheroes were things of real world, imagine, Surya would be one. The world is crazy, weird, full of fantasy, ambitious, but at the same time sensible, and very much real. It is only this that makes the film so lovable. The right amount of balance between what should be funny and how to make it run parallel to the rationality of medical condition is what Bala achieves with grace.
The film is filled with exceptionally charging scenes, keeping a smile on your lips all through. Editing of the film is what stands out making the narrative so amazing- aural or visual. There are very minor editing flaws in the slo-mo which could have been avoided, but the appeal has already won you; you don’t pay much heed to the minuses.
Debutante Abhimanyu Dassani nails every scene. Brilliant work on the part of casting director. The presence of a fresh face makes the plot believable. Dassani is strong in everything his character does. With the kind of diversity he’s shown in his first film, he’s sure to have earned recognition in the circle.
Radhika Madan is exceptionally good too. Perfectly living the character, she’s a great support to the plot.
Mahesh Manjrekar in a very charming and attractive role gives a memorable act. No doubt that he’s a great actor. It is his character that gives you the best time during the course. Its an important character and he puts his best foot forward.
Gulshan Devaiah in an unapologetic double role is simply awesome. You are inherently happy whenever he occupies the screen.
Jimit Trivedi is extraordinary. Although he has a brief role and appears at regular intervals in the film, he makes sure you wait for him to come again. His body language and mannerisms are mind-blowing. He’s an absolute delight. Satyajit Ganu in a small role evokes desired disgust for him, an act thus nailed well.
Music by Karan Kulkarni and Dipanjan Guha is good. Background music is specifically awesome. With a wide variety of sound to offer almost in every scene, the film scores high through it score.
Cinematography by Jay Patel is outstandingly marvelous. Be it action or comedy, or plain narrative, the camera has aided the story telling in a fantastic manner. Since the film is shot very differently, the message is conveyed majorly through camera. Production design is exemplary too. Going in sync with the mood, its weird and mad.
Editing by Prerna Saigal is very good, with cuts and a definitive structure all at right places, evoking required emotions. The film is an editing marvel. Simply breathtaking. It could have been better in some action sequences though where you don’t want to see so much of the slow motion.
In a country with such diverse audience, where film making is actually a risk considering the demands and tastes of audiences, MKDNH shines right at top. In fact, this is the kind of films Hindi cinema needs to be able to boast of its quality. Action and comedy and most importantly sense and weirdness run parallely, with none overpowering the other. Thankfully, this 2018 film saw the light of the day and the audiences got to see such intelligent work. The film asks you to get into the zone. For pleasure of film viewing, embrace the zone. A must watch.