How Dev Patel completed ‘Monkey Man,’ his difficult directorial debut.    

Beverly Hills — Dev Patel proposed “Monkey Man” as “a revenge film about faith.” Faith is beautiful and strong. We can unite. Patel, who directs and writes the action thriller coming Friday, thinks it should make us fight for each other rather than against each other.

Hanuman, a Hindu deity famed for his strength, loyalty, and tenacity, inspired “Monkey Man”. Patel found many similarities between Hindu mythology and Superman's iconography. Kid (Patel) works in an underground fight club and infiltrates a Mumbai-like city's top class to avenge his mother's tragic death  

“Every day I’ve prayed for a way to protect the weak,” Kid says in the clip. In the film, we realize his mission goes beyond family. Patel represents freedom, seeking justice for people oppressed and displaced by power, money, and religion.  

Religion may weaponize a big population. And it can be used horribly to do violence. It can also be a lovely instructor, says Patel. “Iconographies, stories, morals, and courage are split. Old Indian temple carvings show a more free, open, and radical spirit.”

The Oscar-nominated British actor was influenced by Bruce Lee and loved action movies as a child.   

I thought, ‘I can use a genre that I love so dearly to talk about the caste system,’” he adds. It was also fueled by resentment over India. Actually, that happens everywhere.”  

According to Associated Press film critic Jake Coyle, the film "is pointedly political in its fictionalized echoes of modern, Modi-led India," skewering Hindu nationalism.   

In India, where movies and politics are often linked, “Monkey Man” is still awaiting censor board approval and has no date. Patel believes the film, which stars several Indian actors, addresses global concerns like violence against women, caste, and police brutality.

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