Dev Patel unleashes Monkey Man

The award-winning actor and director Dev Patel, star of Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, is set to bring some Indian masala action to Hollywood with Monkey Man, which will release in theatres on April 5.

The Jordan Peele-produced film pays tribute to the legend of Hanuman, the mythical monkey god, reported Collider.

The official trailer, released last month, indicated that the film, set in Mumbai, follows one man’s quest for vengeance against a corrupt leader who murdered his mother.

In Robin Hood-like fashion, Monkey Man sets out to dethrone the tyrant who continues to systemically victimise the poor and powerless for his own greed and gain.

The trailer looked bloody and brutal. There are flashbacks to Monkey Man’s past and his vigorous training to become the vigilante, as well as Patel fighting numerous assailants.

Patel, 33, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2017 for Lion, plays the lead, is the director and has written the film.

Paul Angunawela and John Collee helped him pen the screenplay.

This is not the first time Patel has starred in a movie that challenges social politics in India, as he first gained major recognition for his part in Slumdog Millionaire, a tale of how a street kid from the slums came to win a game show.

Monkey Man has the added advantage of having Peele, the Oscar-winning filmmaker best known for his horror movies with deep social commentary including Get Out, Us and Nope, as the producer.

The film features an international cast including Sharlto Copley, Sobhita Dhulipala, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, Adithi Kalkunte and Sikandar Kher.

Sobhita, who makes her Hollywood debut with Monkey Man, called the film a “roller coaster”. She told the Hindustan Times: “My character has got a very distinct texture that’s unlike anything I’ve seen. It left me feeling inspired and even more in love with cinema. The action, the music, the style and the raw emotion. It’s going to be a sensory feast.”

She also lauded Patel, calling Monkey Man his labour of love. “He truly has exceptional taste in all things cinema,” said Sobhita. “That coupled with his enormous patience and passion to give his best in every department is pretty phenomenal.”

Kher said he really liked the script and also Patel. “He’s charming and funny. So, I was excited to do it,” he said.

“Patel is one of the most amazing directors I have worked with because of the way he communicates with an actor and his openness to sharing ideas. I had a great time being directed by him.”

Monkey Man was initially set for a Netflix release after the streaming giant acquired the global rights to the film in 2021 for US$30 million ($40.5 million).

It was originally announced for release in 2022 and then last year, but remained undated for a while.

The shift away from Netflix to a theatrical release under Universal Pictures this year was influenced by Peele, who, after viewing the film, decided it deserved a theatrical release.

Peele’s production company, Monkeypaw Productions, in partnership with Universal Pictures, then acquired the film from Netflix.

Indo-Asian News Service

 “He truly has exceptional taste in all things cinema.”
Actress Sobhita Dhulipala on Patel (above), who wrote and directed Monkey Man

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