“Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota” (The Man Who Feels No Pain) released recently to a rave reviews to critics across the spectrum. The film is the only Indian action film to have been featured at the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) and had the audience appreciating its edgy and out of the box content.
The film stars Debutant Abhimanyu Dasani, TV Star Radhika Madan, Mahesh Manjrekar and Gulshan Devaiah in a double role. The film talks about Surya, a regular Mumbai kid who has a severe physical dehydration issue but ends up being a martial arts using crusader rescuing his family against a psychotic criminal. The film’s director Vasan Bala ( Raman Raghav 2.0, Peddlers) has been appreciated by all movie critics for his vision. He recently caught up with Entertainment Blogger and Journalist Rahul Gupta for a chat on the film where he talks about the various aspects, vision on the film and also talks about his personal journey which in part inspired the very idea of “Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota”. The film has been produced by veteran Ronnie Screwvala and RSVP Films. “MKDNH” is now playing in theatres across India. This is a Pen News exclusive!
RG : “MARD KO DARD NAHIN HOTA” is a unique attempt at creating a new kind of Hindi cinema and its main character Surya leads the charge. What was the inspiration behind creating Surya’s character in the film?
VB : The inspiration behind creation of Surya is in big part my own life. I see myself doing all the things as Surya does. He is an extension of the imagined childhood I had. My life spent in the suburb of Matunga in Mumbai and my everyday activities like renting video cassettes of action films and growing up in the quaint neighborhood. Surya is the kid who refuses to grow up and lose his innocence.
RG : “MKDNH” is a bold attempt at creating an Indian superhero. Film like “Krrish”, “Shaktiman”, “Toofan” have attempted to make something in this space but haven’t made much of a dent if compared with Marvel and DC Universe. Do you think Indian audiences will resonate with your characters?
VB :We in India have a habit of equating anything created with a Hollywood influence. To be frank, MKDNH is a martial arts film rather than a super hero film and we have invested heavily in the action sequences. I also feel that a lot in the audience will see themselves in these characters as they fight similar problems and issues while growing up. So, yes I think a lot of audience will resonate with the film.
RG : What were the three things you kept in mind while writing these characters?
Firstly, they had to be rooted in Matunga (my birthplace in Mumbai). Secondly, they had to be like the characters I have known and met in real life and Thirdly, retain the innocence in Surya by all means.
RG : Kindly tell us about the action sequences and the inspiration behind them. We saw Radhika Madan kick and attack like no other female protagonist in Hindi films. In fact she totally stands out.
VB: Action sequences were highly inspired by Kung Fu/ martial arts FILMS like Fists of Fury, Enter The Dragon, Police Story and 36 Chambers of Shaolin. Radhika was fun to work with and she learnt everything well and performed the sequences with aplomb. A lot of preparation went into these sequences.
RG : Usually films of this genre are high budget films. As per industry estimates “MKDNH” was made at a relatively lower budget. How did you do it?
VB :We had limited budgets and we had to maximize the resources and focus on where it matters. We took new talent but still worked very hard on making the action believable. We didn’t spend anything on the special effects/ CGI at all. The only thing we did use it was the fight sequences of Mani as he had to fight with one leg.
RG : The film is literally choc a bloc with references to other films from Hollywood, Bollywood and Asian cinema. Why did you use so many third party content in a world which you were creating?
VB : Surya as a character learns everything major in his life by watching films. In fact a lot of his perspective in life is by watching films. Movies like “Geraftaar”, “Fist Of Fury”, etc make an everlasting impact on Surya while he does his fighting. And there is also the scene when Grandfather Asuba tells Surya that it’s time to move from Bruce Lee to Sahe-Lee. So these films essentially amplify the story and are an integral part of the narrative.
RG :“MKDNH” is filled with multiple relationships like Surya-Dad, Surya-Asuba, Mani-Jimmy, Surya-Supri, etc. Which according to you is the most important relationship in the film?
VB : Asuba- Surya is the most important relationship in the film by all means.
RG : Jimmy’s security agency/employees seem to be very colourful and it has some weird advertising videos. Where did you get the inspiration to create this company?
VB: In my childhood I remember local security people and services companies would make these kind of ads and they would project larger than who they actually were, its that which was in my mind while thinking of Jimmy’s agency. A lot of VHS advertising was also the inspiration behind it as in the film Surya first spots Mani on a video tape.
RG : How long did you take to make this movie from the beginning?
VB : It took me a few years to make this film and I was finding a film producer for it for quite sometime and finally I found Ronnie Screwvala and RSVP Films and they were very supportive on this. But yes I started work on MKDNH since 2015 . The challenge is working on location with a bunch of new actors as well as working on the action sequences and doing it in a defined budget needed maximum utilization of sources.
RG : Can the audience expect a sequel of “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota”?
VB : Yes we might get it given the right story and treatment. The sequel might be a possibility.
RG : One of the major finds of this movie is debutant Abhimanyu Dassani and he does some high octane action and jumps. Did he do all the sequences himself? Will you be working with him in the future?
VB : Abhimanyu did all his stunts himself and I would be definitely working with him in the future. He is a very talented actor and performer.
RG : Vasan , you have written “Raman Raghav 2.0” and made the critically acclaimed “Peddlers” before. What is your message to the budding filmmakers of today?
VB : Think positive and wake up everyday thinking today is the day your dreams will come true. Don’t be hard on yourself or on other around you.
RG : Vasan, many thanks for talking to us at Pen News
VB : Thank You Rahul.