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Full Bollywood: Dev Patel’s Directorial Debut ‘Monkey Man’ Draws Inspiration From Lord Hanuman

Full Bollywood: Dev Patel’s Directorial Debut ‘Monkey Man’ Draws Inspiration From Lord Hanuman

  • Set in Mumbai, the action thriller, starring the British Indian actor, tells the story of a man’s quest for vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother.

Dev Patel’s directorial debut movie “Monkey Man,” recently dropped its trailer, giving fans a glimpse of what to expect from the Mumbai-set action thriller inspired by the legend of Hanuman. Starring Patel in the lead role, the film tells the story of “a man’s quest for vengeance against the corrupt leaders who murdered his mother and continue to systemically victimize the poor and powerless,” according to the film’s synopsis. 

“Monkey Man’ is based on an original story and screenplay by Patel, Paul Angunawela, and John Collee. It tells the story of a man named Kid (Patel), an ex-con who has returned to society. He has fond memories of an idyllic childhood being raised by his loving mother (Adithi Kalkunte), who amazed him with stories about Hanuman. After years of suppressed rage, he discovers a way to infiltrate the enclave of the city’s sinister elite. “As his childhood trauma boils over, his mysteriously scarred hands unleash an explosive campaign of retribution to settle the score with the men who took everything from him,” according to a synopsis of the film. 

Joining Patel in the film are Sharlto Copley, Sobhita Dhulipala, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte, Sikandar Kher and Makarand Deshpande. Producers include Patel, Jomon Thomas, Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Ian Cooper, Basil Iwany, Erica Lee, Christine Haebler, and Anjay Nagpal.

The film was first announced in 2018 and was bought by Netflix after it was completed in 2021. But then Jordan Peele screened the film and thought it deserved a theatrical release, so he bought it off Netflix to be distributed by Universal through his own Monkey Paw Productions banner, as reported by Deadline. Universal Pictures quickly agreed to market and distribute it. It will be in U.S. theaters on April 5.

The trailer has received positive reviews and has sparked curiosity about the film. “I am super curious to see what Dev Patel can do as a director, but I am also into Dev Patel starring in another awesome action movie,” says a review in LaineyGossiP. 

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According to The Verge, “both the film’s cinematography and its fight sequences seem like they’re going to be absolutely mesmerizing, and as surprising as this kind of turn for Patel might feel, it also might be one of the things that makes ‘Monkey Man’ a hit.” 

Meanwhile, for Bloomberg Opinion columnist Bobby Ghosh, Patel’s new movie owes more to Bollywood than Hollywood. The “more obvious inspiration” for the film is its setting — Mumbai — “and the movie industry based there,” he writes. “Just as ‘Slumdog’ was a synthesis — albeit a superbly executed one — of well-worn Indian cinematic clichés,” the film owes a lot to Bollywood. “His hero may be anonymous (“the Kid”), but anybody raised in India will instinctively know his name: Vijay,” Ghosh writes. “That name is associated with the character of a Bollywood staple, the “angry young man,” personified in the 1970s and 80s by the greatest of all Indian movie stars, Amitabh Bachchan,” he continues. “In addition to the Mumbai setting and the mostly Indian and Indian-origin cast, there is also some curiosity about the coy references to Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god.”

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