Paan Singh Tomar - Movie Review

12:22 AM Shanky 2 Comments


There are no beautiful foreign locations, no cleavage shown, no dancing around the bush or even beating around the bush. Will this movie appeal to you - the common man? Surprisingly, it does! That’s the surprise element in this movie. Three cheers to the director and his team for having had the confidence in the fans of Indian cinema to have attempted this movie. Irrfan just did what he does the best in any movie - act with panache and elegance. Only this man can add elegance to a completely pedestrian role. The ease with which he has slipped himself into the hood of Paan Singh Tomar is amazing to say the least. He brings out the ignorance in a simple village man who takes words on the face value and not the conceited meaning that it was delivered with.
Paan Singh is the underdog athlete who joins Indian Army, where his talent is spotted and nurtured in a very Indian way. Like the humble Bihari friends who clear JEE and Civil Services exams without much fuss, Paan Singh smashes records at the athletic events he participates. A simple, humble man who is running to win medals, one day decides to run against the system for his life and his prestige. A not so uncommon family brawl turns ugly and Paan Singh is left with nowhere to go and is humiliated by the government support system. A citizen who thought his life is protected by the government is left to fend for himself and that is when Paan Singh turns to his strength and plays the system as per his strengths rather than by the rules.
When you are going to base a movie on one man and his life, it becomes apparent that he needs to carry the movie through his acting. Also, the hidden gem in delivering such a performance lies with the cinematographer and he has done a supremely awesome job in this movie. True, that there was no necessity to try anything 'out of the box' for such a straight forward plot. But don't forget that even restraint is a skill that is far from easy to acquire. Virender Sehwag is the living example of this. Kept it simple, easy on the eyes and close ups when required and you feel you are one of the Bhaagis in Paan Singh's gang.
This movie brings out the fact that fame without money is powerless in India. The neglect that the sports figures of this country face is quite evident when everyone in the theater left when the prologue is being played after the climax. Nobody gives a damn what happened with the real Paan Singh. Nobody cares what happens to our athletes while we shamelessly crib about the lack of medals in Olympics and other world events. Our athletes are people like you and me who are as patriotic as you and me, if not more. This movie is just a small example of the ill treatment that is meted to our heroes. A must watch!

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