Thursday, March 8, 2012

PAAN SINGH TOMAR (2012)



"Beehad mein baaghi hote hei...dacait hote hain parliament mein."

Undoubtedly one of the breakthrough best film of this year. Though released without much publicity and marketing and with limited release, I’m sure it will surely and slowly gain its momentum with successful mouth publicity. The film is true and authentic bio-pic account about one of India’s unsung sports hero who later turned to be a rebel with a gun in his hand. Director Tigmanshu Dhulia made an impressive debut with ‘Haasil’, a film based on students’ politics and that film introduced one brilliant actor to the industry as Irrfan Khan. But much before his debut, the project of making this film was boiling in Tigmanshu’s head during the making of Shekhar Kapoor’s ‘Bandeet Queeen’, where he worked as Casting/assisting Director. For years he struggled with his strenuous research, years of shooting with many impediments including his main lead Irrfan’s accident and above all finding producer for funding such an unknown Indian athlete star-turned-dacoit tale. Thanks to UTV and Ronnie Screwvala for supporting and backing to make it happen.  

How a primary education learner villager belonged to valley of Chambal transformed from subedaar in army to 3000 meters International steeple chase athletic gold medalist and than post retirement turned towards taking law and gun in his hand is a tale need to be told. The man tried to seek justice with legal ways and we see his helplessness and frustrated anger at police station on screen. He would like to be remembered as a rebel who never surrendered and not just another dacoit of chambal. The film also hit the question about the shameful state and destiny of many of our unsung sports heroes like Tomar. Many of them died either penniless or with lack of medical attention; some of them are forced to sell their gold medals as explained in the end titles. Does an average Indian even know or recall the names of any other sports stars except Cricket is a big question? Some of the state and national stadiums are used as Ramleela maidan or as a venue for rich and famous politicians or businessman’s son’s/daughter’s wedding. Though lack of state support and amenities when these men achieved medals and shines country’s name, for how many years or months or days we keep them remember is a big question! How many of these stars shines through media or advertisement to earn extra green bucks selling colas and insurance. Few days ago headlines of all national dailies keeping regular updates of Yuvraj Singh’s cancer treatment, I wonder how many times they cover the shameful tragedies of other unsung heroes? There are many such questions in country’s collective consciousness that remained unanswered even today. 

                                 
The film is next to impossible without one of the ‘baap khan’ among all other Star Khans. This is the film which is absolutely on the shoulder of Irrfan Khan and once again he made an indelible impression on screen that will remain memorable for long. I must say this is one of his brilliant performance worthy enough to win National Award. It is quite unimaginable to think of any other actor here portraying various stages of Tomar’s life from 18 to 50 with so much breathing local human. Whether moments of fun, introspection, helplessness or frustration he maintained the character with so much detailing and authenticity that anybody connects with him so easily. And he’s finely supported by Mahie Gill, Rajendra Gupta, Vipin Sharma, Brijendra Kala, Zakir Hussain. 

What I loved most about the film apart of Irrfan’s striking performance is the way Tigmanshu brought the authenticity of Chambal with deglamorised original setting maintaining the realistic mood with moments of dark humor to the region where gun speaks louder than tongue and where chaos and lawlessness rules in the village. He showed striking reality of the region but also accentuated certain sequences with the aim to give the audience pure entertainment with moments of fun throughout the film till the climactic encounter and that's what makes it not just off beat cinema for urban multiplex audience but for all audience for all regions. Tishu maintained elements of sparkling fun with witty dialogues dipped in authentic local Bundeli dialect from almost all characters. In how many films we have fun like- ‘baap chalkave jam aur beta bandhe ghoonghroo.’  The first half is full of them where we see Paan Singh as army man and athlete is full of them with hilarious anecdotes about ice cream, lemon juice, spike shoes and running for food moments of fun. The film falters with clich├ęs in the last half an hour but than the rest of the film served its purpose so brilliantly.

Three cheers for Irrfan, Tishu and UTV, hope you guys keep entertaining us like this way.

Ratings- 8.5/10 

1 comment:

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