Saturday, 27 August 2011

Unintentional comedies- Mard

How many times have you watched a movie that was so bad that it was good, the 'serious' movies which were so hilarious that you laughed till your stomach hurt? Bollywood has produced several movies which, depending on your perpective ought to have been nominated for the razzies or mark milestones in the development of comedy as a genre. This series of articles is dedicated such gems from the annals of Bollywood.

We flag off the series with Mard (1985), a movie directed by Manmohan Desai, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Amrita Singh.

The difficulty with a movie like Mard is that its hard to figure out where to start. Nearly every single scene of this movie is cringeworthy in a way that makes you laugh your head off and so this writer has absolutely no illusion of having done any sort of justice to the epic (unintended) comedy that is Mard.

Imagine a movie in which a man riding on a horse manages to evade bullets fired from a stationary machine gun and shoots a dozen enemies with a rifle in one hand even as he rides. Imagine a movie in which a man stops an aeroplane from taking off by throwing a rope over the aircraft wing and holding it with his bare hands. Imagine a movie in which characters spout gems like "Haraam zaado, nikalo khoon baahar jo tumne hamari praja ka kiya hai" or (sample this) "Yeh bol nahi sakti, lekin inke chehre ki jhurriyon mein dukh ke hazaar daastaanon ke saath likha hai ki jao beti tujhe maaf kiya." And on top of all that, imagine a movie in which all that happens within the first 10 minutes.

That's Mard for you. Its a movie in which you have Englishmen with names like Curzon, Dyer and Simon who speak among themselves only in Hindi (and pronouncing promotion as par-mo-sun by the way). Its a movie in which a horse is intelligent enough to know that the doctor who is about to administer an injection has dubious intentions, but its master doesn't. Its a movie in which a woman overcome by grief loses her voice in a touching scene that will make you laugh your head off.

Welcome to the world of Manmohan Desai. Its a world where a king who resides in a palace with over 100 rooms and has the wealth to gift away an invaluable pearl necklace takes on his opponents all alone, without his soldiers. Its a world where the king uses a horse as his only means of transportation eventhough the era of automobiles has already arrived. Its a world where a father's conception of a naming ceremony consists of scratching the word 'mard' on his new born infant's chest with a knife, leaving an eternal engraving that remains there several years later. Its a world in which a horse has the ESP to anticipate exactly what is going to happen next.

Its also a world where logic is non-existent. How did the British enter the Raja's kingdom with their troops and loot a fort without his consent? Where were the king's troops when his fort was being ransacked? Would the British imprison and torture a local ruler, given the fact that those local rulers were the bulwarks of their empire? Incidentally, given the fact that civil aviation did not appear until the 30s, it naturally follows that the events of the first five minutes (where Curzon is about to fly off to Britain with invaluable treasures) unfold sometime in the 30s. That being the case, the newborn cannot have attained maturity until the late 40s or 50s, when the British had long since quit India. To be sure, the script (assuming there was one) has holes big enough to drive a truck through.

Nevertheless, such analysis would be sheer nitpicking on what must rank as a landmark in filmmaking. The entire analysis that you have read so far is from the first ten minutes of a movie that runs into 3 hours. If you are thinking that it gets better from thereon, perish the thought my friends. This movie is an embodiment of the idea of starting as you mean to go. As far as unintended comedies go, Mard is right up there among the very best.

If you want to have a manual on how not to make a movie, go watch Mard. Its a touching, family drama that will make you laugh till you fall off your seat.

Rotten eggs rating: 4.5/5.

P.S: Please save your money and watch it on youtube. The producer of this movie does not deserve any more revenue from the DVD sales.

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