7 June 2012 | rangdetumpy
A great film by Tigmanshu Dhulia about an issue which needed to be told
India is probably one of the few countries in the world with various distinct cultures and their own history. In such a nation there were (and are) innumerous people whose life contains all ingredients for a nail-biting tales but sadly biopics are hardly explored in the country. Tigmanshu Dhulia showed guts to pen a script on one of unsung heroes of Indian sports Paan Singh Tomar and end result is a captivating cinema that explores many facets of our system. Paan Singh Tomar is an interesting journey of a loyal soldier and a brilliant athlete (infact a national pride) who transforms into a notorious "dacoit" thanks to the 'system". In a flashback mode the movie deals on the drastic transformation of this loyal army-man into a notorious dacoit (Baaghi as referred by Paan Singh himself). In a linear and simple story PST tells about the plight of an athlete who had brought honours for his own country. Negligence of system is highlighted through his sad tale and the story revolves on framework after independence when seeds of corruption & anti establishment were germinating in full swing. In one sequence Paan Singh tells a journalist that how he was ignored by media when he won medal in steeple chase race in an international army sports meet but now when he was in the other side of the law playing hide-and-seek with the police the journalists are pouring down to get interviews. Another pain stacking sequence shows Paan Singh going to local police to lodge a complaint but he was humiliated by the inspector and even insulted the gold medal which he won for his own country. Tigmanshu dhulia' eye for detailing needs to be acknowledged. While writing the script Dhulia ensured that the audiences identify with the character and gets involved with the proceedings. The crowds were cheering in the initial reels when Paan Singh's potential as an athlete was displayed following which his cry for justice which was put down by the corrupt system. As the film reaches the climax the neglected scenario of athletes indeed touches the emotional chords of the audience. Dhulia's execution makes you think as you leave the theatre. In terms of technicalities Editing and Art department deserves mention. Dhulia's direction is complimented by Irfan Khan who played the role of Paan Singh Tomar with perfection. His nuances, dialogs, expression, body language speaks about a perfect army men. Brownie points should be given to him for his efforts to shape his body at this age and mould himself as the young energetic athlete. His dialogue delivery in the later reels reflected the strive within as he becomes a rebel with a cause. "Bihad mein baghi hote hai, dacoit toh parliament mein bante hai" – this dialogue will be remembered in from now on. A performance that deserves full marks and demands awards, this one is easily one of Irfan's career best performances. The supporting casts were appropriate in their roles. Mahie Gill as Tomar's wife gave a good performance again. Vipin Sharma was a treat to watch in role of Major Masand, a senior to Tomar and one who believed in his potential. Brijendra Kala is as usual dependable and brought a comic flavour as a journalist. With the current scenario of the nation movies like Paan Singh Tomar needs to be made and promoted which injects "thoughts" inside audience in an entertaining way. It's when the movie ends, and the names of four Indian national champions who died penniless are shown, "Paan Singh Tomar" hits the most. Indeed a fitting tribute to unsung heroes of Indian sports. This movie needs to be watched and pondered upon. Tigmanshu Dhulia : Take a bow.