Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, which premiered at the tail-end of the Midnight Madness section of the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival, bagged the Grolsch Viewers’ Choice Award in Toronto, pushing David Gordon Green’s Halloween and Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation to the second and third positions respectively.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Vasan Bala during the post-awards brunch.
“It probably will when I am on the flight back to Mumbai,” the director said.
Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, completed just in time for TIFF, stars newcomer Abhimanyu Dassani in the role of a young man who has a congenital disorder that makes him incapable of feeling any pain. The condition allows him to jump into violent fights and brawls without worrying about being hurt.
The film stars Radhika Madan in the key role of the hero’s girlfriend who is no mean fighter herself.
Another Indian film, The Field, directed by London-based Sandhya Suri, won the IWC International Short Films Award.
“It is amazing that this film about a woman in rural India has been recognised in this way in TIFF, she said in a recorded message from the UK.
The Field is a 19-minute fiction film about a woman who works on a north Indian farm and finds a way against all odds to assert her innermost urges in an ultra-conservative setting.
Peter Farrelly’s The Green Book, starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, won the festival’s Grolsch People’s Choice Award, while Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, adapted from a James Baldwin story, and Alfonso Cuaron’s black and white Venice winner Roma took home the runners-up prizes.