'Har mind-blowing kahani ke picche naa kuch bahut bure decisions hote hain,' quips Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani) and soon collapses on the ground before he can beat his opponents to pulp. The main culprit? Dehydration! Nope, we ain't kidding here.
Through a series of flashbacks, Surya takes us to his childhood days where he was diagnosed with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) as a kid. 'Baad mein google kar lena,' says Surya, but we soon discover that his condition is all about 'Mard ko dard nahi hota'. In lay man's words, 'a man who feels no pain'.
While Surya's father (Jimit Tivedi) is quite overprotective about him knowing his condition, his loving grandfather 'Ajooba' (Mahesh Manjrekar) feeds him a steady diet of films on VHS - from Geraftaar to Bruce Lee's martial arts films. But hey, it's the video of an one-legged karate warrior named Mani (Gulshan Devaiah) which particularly catches his fancy and inspires him to chase all street-muggers who he believes are responsible for his mother's death.
Meanwhile, the socially-awkward Surya finds a friend in Supri (Radhika Madan) who rescues him from the bullies in school. The girl might be tigress when it comes to defending Surya, but at home she fails to raise her voice against her abusive father.
A misunderstanding separates Surya and his childhood crush Supri and the film takes a leap of few years. Things take an interesting turn when an adult Surya runs into Supri and the one-legged martial arts star whom he once idolized. What follows next is a zany ride which brings in lots of 'dishoom-dishoom', whistles and laughter.
Here comes a home-grown martial arts film which is pure desi at heart and has dollop of wacky humour. Vasan Bala pays a brilliant homage to martial art flicks and gives it an intriguing old-school Bollywood twist with Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. You get nostalgic at several points with the references from all our growing years. The comic-book treatment coupled with Bala's lively excecution makes every minute of the action-comedy highly enjoyable.
On the flip side, the plot loosens a bit at a place or two, but the director makes up for it with the hilarious lines.
Speaking about the performances, Abhimanyu Dassani makes a 'kickass' debut and is a talent to watch out for. He exudes a certain sense of innocence and in Surya's words, even gets to 'distract' the audience from the 'kicks and punches' with a shirt-dropping scene. It would be interesting to see his choice of films from here on.
If you thought that a film like Mard Ko Dard only has men high on action then you are highly mistaken. The film proves that it's possible to do away with female leads reduced as mere props if the makers give them a chance to showcase their two-fist strength and shine alongside their male counterparts. We must say, Radhika Madan is a complete revelation in this flick.
Gulshan Devaiah is a bomb as the one-legged karate star Mani and his twin brother Jimmy who is a 'psychotic villain'. While Mani impresses with his brawny moves, Jimmy brings down the house with his comical liners. Mahesh Manjrekar delivers a firecracker act and leaves you chuckling.
Jay Patel's cinematography perfectly blends the sunny colors with slick slo-mo action sequences. Prerna Saigal's taut editing flows well with the narrative.
Along with the quirky premise and characters, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is dope when it comes to the music department as well. Be it the quirky 'Rappan Rappi Rap', the dreamy 'Tere Liye' or the foot-tapping Nakhrewaali, the film scores high with its catchy lyrics and amazing music.
Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is a complete crowd-pleaser and worth every penny. Pleasing romance, suave action sequences, rib-tickling moments- Vasan Bala ticks all the boxes and gives us 138 minutes of pure entertainment. I am going with 4 stars.