The last couple of weeks has been kind of low key at the movies owing to the upcoming exam season. Talking about exams, India has always been known to be the hub of education, Bollywood & Cricket. We do complain at times of the abysmal performance of India in International meets, but is that complaint justified??? Majority of the parents refrain their kids from taking up a sporting career owing to the lack of monetary support from sponsors, who in turn believes there is nothing more lucrative than Cricket. This attitude has led to many of our sporting icons to be forgotten & one such name is Paan Singh Tomar. Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia known for "Saheb,Biwi Aur Gangster", the film premiered in London Film Festival in 2010 but hit the screens only this weekend.
Inspite of being a sports fanatic, I do have to admit with regret regarding my ignorance about Paan Singh Tomar as a sporting legend. It's really sad that he became a household name only after he became a dacoit while his sporting feats were hardly known to the citizens. The film tracks the life of Paan Singh Tomar when he was the Army & who takes up the sports division purely to satiate his appetite as there was no limit on diet rather than his love for sports. In due time, his athletic skills garners attention & he gets trained for 3000m steeple chase in which he remains National Champion for 7 years. After being denied to go to the war front in 1962 & 1965 due to the stipulation that sportsmen shouldnt be sent, he vents out his anger at the International Military Games 1967 by winning the gold in his event. Following this, he retires from Army to settle certain family disputes & subsequently the film tracks as to the circumstances leading him to be a dacoit.
Tigmanshu Dhulia is said to have done extensive research on Paan Singh & has definitely come up with a impressive yet compelling biopic. Spanning a period of three decades, the film touches upon all the major incidents with as much intent & sensitively without ever compromising on the film's tempo. Being well versed with the Chambal terrain, following his experience of working there during the shooting of "Bandit Queen", Dhulia has ensured that the visuals were raw & captivating with the help of Aseem Mishra. Sandeep Chowta also deserves praise for the background score which does add onto the impact of the sequences.
There is no doubt that Irfan Khan is one of the best actors in the country & he has yet again reimposed this fact with his excellent portrayal of Paan Singh. Though we are only into the third month of the year, but I just cant help saying that I believe that he might be sweeping all the Critics Award for the next year. Mahie Gill as Indra (Paan Singh's wife), has done apt justice to her small yet significant role. The same goes for the rest of the cast as well especially Vipin Sharma (Major Sharma) & Brijendra Kala (reporter).
Verdict: The film has already garnered critical acclaim from all the various film festivals it had gone to, which in turn did instill a sense of anticipation among the audience. At this juncture, it could be rightfully proclaimed that all words of praise for the film is totally justified. It also makes us realise that fact we should respect all sporting icons who brings laurels to our country be it Kabaddi, Shooting, Tennis etc. & not just Cricket. In short, dont miss this biopic!!!