Replete with indirect references to brainless masala movies, this film is a reinvigorating and chucklesome take on familiar turn of events with a twist of weirdness.
It’s a never-ending process. It seems like masala genre and Indian cinema have been going hand-in-hand since ages and it is still continuing to be made for it has a huge fan-following and hero-worshipping. There are plenty of films that have largely been on the lines of familiar structure – hero-meeting-heroine-against-all-odds – with some of them having really good stories at its helm. Mostly, such films are criticised for defying all the logic. Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota does the exact opposite. Replete with indirect references to brainless masala movies, this film is a reinvigorating and chucklesome take on familiar turn of events with a twist of weirdness.
Surya (Oh! How fantastic was Abhimanyu Dassani in this character) has a medical condition called congenital insensitivity to pain which literally means that he can’t feel the pain. Hence, the aptness of the title – Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain). The movie goes about showing how Surya meets Supri (Radhika Madan is splendid), how he takes inspiration from a one-legged karate master named Karate Mani (Gulshan Devaiah), and the eventual capture of the villain (also acted by Gulshan Devaiah) in order to get back the chain snatched by him.
Sometimes you get a scene narrated or played out in full and later get to know that it was either a figment of imagination or was actually ridiculing what would generally happen in a masala movie. Whenever such revelations happened, they were always laughable subjects. Surya’s mother, in a scene, hits a goon in a cinema hall sending him flying up in the air before the narrator clarifies that it didn’t happen that way. In another instance, Surya joins Supri in fighting off the goons before he comes to his senses and realises that it was all in his imagination and that it is Supri alone fighting them all off.
Even in serious situations, the hilarity remained intact. A goon lying on the ground acts as if he is hurt and purposely does not stand up so as to get away from the fighting scene. The villain, in another scene, asks for the genius who has, stupidly enough, fixed a tape on the leg of Karate Mani so as to restrain him. My favourite was the one where Surya shows all his fighting skills against a bunch of hospital staff and all Karate Mani does to encounter them is to casually squeeze an orange in their eyes.
As the younger version of Surya calls it, if he is “Aag” (Fire), then Supri is a “Toofaan” (Storm). It turned out to be very true when they met 12 years later. Unlike the usual notion of masala films in which hero acts as the saviour of heroine and they both fall in love, this film chooses to show female empowerment and emphasises that they are in no way lesser in terms of physical strength when compared to men. Supri’s mother, while highlighting her own inability to choose a ‘life’ for herself, persuades Supri to run away to escape the man who is seemingly trying to take her to Canada and live a married life with her. Also, Supri can be seen fighting more than one goon with great style and flexibility.
Time and again, Surya does the Superman punch and asks Supri to use the laser in her eyes to ward off evil. You need someone to push you into a state where you think of yourself as some sort of superhero and it’s the grandfather Ajoba (Mahesh Manjrekar) who does that in this movie. So, there is always a feeling of watching a comic book sort of story. In this case, it seems like a story involving Superman and Supergirl devoid of any superhuman powers.
There comes a time when, much like us, Supri gets irked by childish mannerisms of Surya when she asks him to “grow up” and says that she does not have “bandwidth” for retelling what happened in 12 years of life in just a few minutes. In all its weirdness and funny instances, the frivolous nature of the pursuance of the ultimate goal is something that would put you off towards the end. Nevertheless, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota hints at a possible sequel in the end. It was amazing to see the way it took a dig at clichéd Indian masala movies and I hope it keeps doing so in the sequel.