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1985 177’ col Hindi d Manmohan Desai pc MKD Films, Aasia Films st Prayag Raj sc K.K. Shukla dial Inder Raj Anand lyr Rajinder Krishan c Peter Pereira m Annu Malik lp Amitabh Bachchan, Amrita Singh, Nirupa Roy, Dara Singh, Prem Chopra

The son, Raju Tangewala (Bachchan), of a dispossessed rajah is given the name ‘Mard’, i.e. Man, and has it tattooed on his chest as a sign of virility. Mard rebels against the British who are presented as robbers and property developers, the favourite Hindi film villains of this period. In keeping with a characteristic Desai plot device, Raju is raised by fosterparents who, just before dying, inform their adopted son of his ‘real’ ancestry. The leatherclad daughter (Amrita Singh) of a doctor in the service of the British first whips the hero and then falls in love with him. The British villains are called Dyer and Simon, names still associated with the general responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (referred to in the film) and the leader of the Simon Commission. Desai juxtaposes these references with the more arbitrary introduction of Roman gladiators and Mexican bandits. Made immediately after Coolie (1983), marked by Bachchan’s near fatal accident, Mard went to unusual lengths to demonstrate the invincibility of the hero, invoking colonialism and feudal oppression to affirm that he whom the gods protect cannot be destroyed.