I was saddened to see an indie filmmaker who seemed more rebellious than some,  succumb to focusing on entertainment to really do the ‘Paapi Pet Ka Sawaal’ ordeal during a special screening of the film. While it managed to turn up heads when it gets in Edgar Wright-esque mode, now when the film has hit streaming platforms, I’m a little too sceptical about its fate. Going in, “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” (‘The Man Who Feels No Pain’) is the latest in many Indian films that did not get enough screens to reach many people. Even when it was devised for the easy-going, naive mainstream audience.

It’s really hard to point out what went wrong with the film. But to a certain extent, it is overstuffing the entire runtime with self-reflective and boozy bottles of nostalgia. From VCR tapes to letting the inner child live free, Vasan Bala’s vision is too marred by the self-aware, meta-screenplay. Time and again when the film unfolds like a homage to melodramatic, over-the-top Bollywood counterparts among other Kung-Fu films, the glue between expectations and reality is intentionally made gooey. Which is why there are times when the film suddenly detours from the narrative and remains unfocused and cluster-fucked for most of its runtime.


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The film is edited with fast-cuts to make it seem more stylistically whimsical, but since Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota doesn’t really stand on anything other than pure opportunistic, pop-culture references and overly smart narrative conveniences, there’s very little to nothing that makes it stand on its own worth. The characters arcs seem to wobble whenever a conflict is introduced. The jokes, which might seem super-hilarious in a compact, life-sized cartoon strip for the same story; don’t really transition to the screen. Saved only by Gulshan Devaiah’s uncompromising, jolly-good villenous turn, the film lightness up only to fall to a never-ending climax that again wishes to rinse-up how usual Bollywood Masala films end.

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Supri (played by Radhika Mandhan) is a character who is not a common occurrence in traditional Indian films. Woman characters have either meant to be the part of a narrative to push the hero to do greater things or simple there as props who need saving. Bala breaks conventions here by putting forth a character who is headstrong and knows how to fight her own fight. He also plods along showing the vulnerable side of her giving her character more depth than what usually catches the eye. However, he also puts her in situations that are entirely driven by a fractured narrative arc of a drunken father and a best friend who simply wouldn’t grow up providing her with sequences that are entirely dependent on some other character to really make sense, hence breaking the unconventionality to conventionality all over again.

Related To Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota: Peddlers (2012)

Vasan Bala’s film has endearing characters who all call for a big celebratory leap forward for conventional Hindi films; but the entire arc that comes along with the self-awareness lacks real oomph or glow. Everything that doesn’t depend on breaking conventions and serve a simple story of a man-child growing up never truely forms an appealing whole. Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota is a film that hides its inconsistency behind tricky self-aware balls of humor. I respect the big heart that Vasan Bala toys into his film; but while “Peddlers” was his way to drive real-world problems in an inherently dark story, this film right here is meant to trigger them. I am sure it will trigger some people but will not be remembered as filmmaking that lasts long.


Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota Netflix Trailer

Cast – Abhimanyu Dassani, Radhika Madan, Mahesh Manjrekar, Gulshan Devaiah
Running length – 134 mins
Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota streaming on Netflix.


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