It is a disappointing situation when a national athlete who hold the record of being national champion of steeple-chase for 7 years remain unnoticed by the entire country. He got noticed only when he went rebel. Once shot dead by the police people forget him immediately. When Tigmanshu Dhulia was working on the Bandit Queen project he got to know about this legendary athlete who turned into decoit later or we can say rebel as (Irran says in the movie as Paan Singh Tomar “Baagi, not Daaku”). There were years went and then he (Dhulia_decided to make a film on Paan Singh Tomar’s life. He researched the film’s background for two years, interviewing Tomar’s surviving family members and visiting his native village in Bhind.
|Movie||:||Paan Singh Tomar|
|Writers||:||Tigmanshu Dhulia Sanjay Chauhan|
|Starring||:||Irrfan (Paan Singh Tomar), Mahi Gill (Indra), Vipin Sharma (Major Masand), Imran Hasnee (Matadeen Singh Tomar), Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Gopi), Zakir Hussain (Inspector Rathore), Jahangir Khan (Bhanwar Singh – Daddaa), Sitaram Panchal (Ramcharan), Rajendra Gupta (H.S. Randhawa – Sports Coach), Swapnil Kothriwal ((Hanumant – Pan Singh’s Elder Son), Brijendra Kala (Journalist), Rajeev Gupta (Corrupt Cop), Ravi Sah (Paan Singh’s nephew Balram)|
A youth from the village of Bhind, got selected in Army and his parents are happy, so does his wife. He went then to join it. He is a straight forward, speaking from the heart guy. He was really good at running. When he found that there is ration on the how much a soldier can eat, he got frustrated as he need a remarkable amount of food. He was the only soldier who was enjoying the punishment of running.He then found that the soldiers in sports department have no quota limit and then decided to join the sports wing. (He was associated with the Rajputana Rifles). When requested to the superiors he was given the task to transport packet of ice cream to the officer’s home before it melt. He did the job in 4 minutes. He was then sent to the sports wing. There he met his coach H. S. Randhawa. When coach found that in 5000 meter race, in which Paan Singh will participate, he will surely win; he got a problem. It is a social problem for him if the specific guy will not win the race. For the sake of the teacher’s relative’s happiness; stubborn Paan Singh got softer and withdraw from the race. He then started preparing for the stippled-chase. A race initially meant for horse (and riders) in the short span of a couple of months. He though trained for it with hard efforts and won the chase. This is from where his journey as a sportsman really started.
We see that his family life was also moving ahead. He then represented India in the ASIAD arranged at Tokyo, Japan. There he was given the spikes to wear. He was unhappy with that. He said bluntly that why you are not giving such stuff during the training and giving it now. I have practiced with the cloth shoes and now this new type of shoes are ground picking. However the team coach was able to convince him to run. He felt uncomfortable running with these new stuff he wore for the first time in life. At the later stage in the race he removed the spikes and run to his ability. But he came second in the race due to this mess. It was a good life running till now. When he came in the next vacation at home he found that his relatives have captured the land belong to his family. He then tried getting help of Panchayat, Police, Collector via legal ways. He was disappointed as he was unable to get any help from the authorities. Even his medals, his commitment for the country, everything was made a joke of. His crop was cut down forcefully by his relatives and grabbed it. He then get his son joined the army and tried resolving the problem with proper ways. He was against hurting anyone of his relatives. But one day his son was beaten by his relatives, he was however able to just survive. When police denied helping him after all this he got angry. By knowing that he went to police station, his relatives literally attacked his home, his son and wife with his nephew were able to escape, but her mother was beaten by the butt of the gun brutally by his relatives. She then sent the pieces of bangles to his son Paan Singh Tomar as the monument of shame. Paan Singh decided to get revenge as the things are now getting worst. This is the life changing point for Paan Singh. From an army man, national champion athlete, he has to be a rebel!!! The athletes are considered as the national pride and army even do not send them to the war, just to keep them safe. And the country don’t care for them? Shame! Of course there are two sides of a coin. There were people having faith in him and supporting him from various segments.
How he lived his rest of the life in the Vally of Chambal and ultimately met with death is something to watch on screen. This is a movie which leads towards though provocation. It is not made for the entertainment purpose. Most of us were unaware with the name of this legendary athlete, and when he got fame, got fame as a bandit more than his skills in the game. His dedication and patriotism talked less about. There was also a controversy about the movie, when a certain officer represented his points. The ultimate lesson is if the corrupt people will not help the truth, then the rebels will be there. The biggest lost is not to the rebel and his life, but to the society also.
If to discuss acting. Irrfan (this is how he spells his name now) excels of course. He is a versatile actor and know what to do and how. Irrfan Khan trained rigorously with steeplechase coaches, even breaking his ankle at one point during filming. He considers it as not only mentally but physically also challenging role in his career. He is probably the only Khan who deliberately removed Khan from his name, as his skills are enough to get him noticed. Mahi Gill proves that she is not here just to be muse and expose into the movies. She have skills and she can act. Rest of the cast member played their part remarkably. A real thriller to watch. Our verdict. Go for it.