After being around in film festivals for almost 2 years now, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota got a release in India after winning the highly acclaimed midnight madness award at the Toronto international film festival leading to high hopes for the Indian audience. The film opened to good reviews although it grossed only a menial amount at the box office due to its clash with other more “massy" films. It mostly had limited screenings where it didn’t even complete a whole week in the theatres. It tell us about the harsh reality that indie movies like Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, Manto don’t get enough time or opportunity at the theatres, and thus fail to garner the support of the common masses. The film belongs to the elite genre of Action Comedy and it did prove itself to be worth its salt on various instances but perhaps some aspects fell short.
First and foremost the movie is what it promises to be a fun filled action comedy unlike what Indian audiences have ever seen before in a Hindi Language film which has only given us examples of the likes of Golmaal. The action sequences are pretty inventive with a few long takes rather than resorting to the use of a handheld cam to show the hostility. The movie was clever to find comedy in its action sequences rather than having separate scenes for the comedy and separate scenes for the action. These sequences are very well merged with the soundtrack which often resembles the heart of the film being tender and serene in Surya’s childhood moments with Surpi and being chirpy and upbeat in the sequences where the so-called “Karate challenge" by Jimmy takes place. The film isn’t scared to be a parody of itself and maintains its tone throughout the film with even sequences of visual comedy while we see Surya grow up in his father’s confines. However, in spite of the brilliant execution of the film, I felt that there was something missing in the film and that there was a loose tie somewhere in the script which made it feel like a drag in the second half.
An important question arises at this point, what is a good action comedy film? Films like Guardian’s of the galaxy, Deadpool or perhaps Edgar Wright classics like Scott Pilgrim Vs The World or Hot Fuzz might remind us of a what a good action comedy film is. Despite the vast differences in settings, stories, characters and style and beneath all the flashiness and action there is a person or a group of individuals who is at the center of these experiences. In Deadpool, it’s Wade Wilson’s struggle to come to terms with his complexion and the need for acceptance for Vanessa. For Scott Pilgrim, he’s just a teenager out to get a girlfriend or Nicholas Angel, a cop trying to do his duties. Even going to the lengths of Bhavesh Joshi, an underrated piece of work, there is a guilt that exists in Sikander for being the reason that Bhavesh dies or even stooping down in front of his own eyes. This is mainly what was largely missing in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. There doesn’t seem to be a sense of depth for any character in the movie. The movie was really enjoyable, but, it didn’t seem to have a long-lasting impact on the audience.
The first major disruption between the audience and the film was the constant try to explore characters but following it up with absolutely nothing. One of the times when this was observed was during Surya’s father’s breakdown during which we get to know more about him as a character but this isn’t followed up by anything at all. Another instance was the lack of exploration of adult Supri’s character. There were a few scenes in which we try to explore her character but it doesn’t do much good to the film at least to the relationship between Surya and her. This made the character come off as slightly annoying which might be a conscious decision on the part of the director, but then there are a few scenes included which try to give an explanation for her character to change in the 10-15 year span in the movie where we don’t get to know much about her. The scenes where she opens or at least tries to open up are poorly written and directed at least in comparison to the amazing dialogues given to Jimmy placed by the magnificent Gulshan Deviah. They tried to add a mother-daughter angle which worked to a certain extent but then again the La La Landish sequence of Surpi before going to the medical store to pop the i-pill proved to be a disappointment. Every character lacked depth in the film especially Jimmy and his twin brother the Karate Master (or sensei if you will).
Jimmy in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
The film never tried to be a drama film and just continued to be a good entertainer much like Aquaman which also lacked a sense of purpose or characterization but was never bothered about it in the first place would have done a world of good for the film rather than going for the safe space.
Mard Ko Dard hi Hota is a pretty enjoyable film. You are bound to get a nostalgic feel if you have grown up watching and adoring movies like Kung Fu Hustle and other Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan action movie which were filled with martial arts. You also get a bit if the Edgar Wright style during the visual comedy sequences which makes us aware of the kind of movie Vasan Bala was trying to create and even after years of being on the verge on the being shelved, Mard Ko Dard hi Hota deserves great praise and is surely one of the better superhero films made in India on its way to revolutionize action comedy films.