Film Critic: Goher Iqbal Punn
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Producer: Ronnie Screwvala
Star Cast: Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill, Vipin Sharma
Music by: Abhishek Ray
Distributors: UTV Motion Pictures
Release Date: 2nd March, 2012 (India)
Irrfan Khan starrer Paan Singh Tomar, a biopic, hits the screens. The film, though not promoted as it should have been, was well in talks due to its true life story of a national level athlete who turns a dacoit of Chambal later in his life. Bollywood has not taken birth with movies on dacoits with this flick rather we have been witnessing the films on this subject since the outset. In yesteryears’ time, the flow of these films was quite high since the cinemagoers used to appreciate and like the films based on dacoits and robberies, etc. Dacoits, who once were noble men of the society, living in isolated mountains sitting on horseback looting the affluent or the corrupt figures of the society but showing their gentle side to the poor or innocents, were much liked by the audience of that time. This ilk of movies did handsome rather record breaking business putting big smile on the faces of the makers and the investors who went home carrying mammoth money along.
Treatment to this kind of subject did not stop at all rather it continued but the style kept changing. In today’s time, the scenario is utterly changed the dacoits or the robbers, who turn bad due to circumstances, do not live in mountains or isolated places rather they are shown living among us in cities. The scene is lavish today with luxurious cars, lush lifestyle, sexy gals in surroundings and arms and the likes. Subject is same but scene is changed.
Tigmanshu Dhulia discusses a very sensitive subject on screen that hits the hearts since it is a real life story depicted on the celluloid. Dhulia borrows the story from real life and then dishes it out with his skills of storytelling on screen. Very brilliantly he executes his job that allures the souls and captures the breath-flow. He proves that he has the knack of making a serious cinema with dexterity. Tigmanshu shows off the reasons to the viewers that what caused Paan Singh Tomar to take the law into his hands. The nation’s sportsman turning into a dacoit is what instantly catches the attention and when there is a brilliant director is behind, you can expect much more than your expectations. Dhulia does not spoil your expectations rather fully lives up to them. It is not a typical blood feud cinema rather a biopic of country’s athlete who brought honors for the nation but felt betrayed when he was in badly need of country’s help. The circumstances then led him to turn dacoit of Chambal. Paan Singh Tomar is Dhulia’s homage to those luminous sportsmen of the country, who made the nation proud with their games but were not awarded their dues at time of their career and life’s sundown.
Paan singh (Irrfan Khan) is a small town boy who goes on winning the steeplechase at national games. Life changing incidents happen in his life which force him to give up the game and pick up the gun. He becomes a dacoit of Chambal valley then.
Dhulia’s Paan Singh Tomar is a luminous biopic that supremely depicts the incidents which coerce the sportsman to turn mutineer by picking up the gun to become a dacoit. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s effort to stockpile Paan Singh Tomar’s entire lifespan on screen is really applaudable.
Story idea of making a movie on this sensitive and serious subject needs applauds. Script is classy and attention-grabbing. The director is really complimented luminously by the well-written and authenticated screenplay, which is why the final product is appealing and brilliant. There is nonetheless some flaws in the screenplay like some of the real life incidents needed not to be injected into the narrative. Putting the real life story on screen requires its own merits, thus mostly some of the irrelevant scenes need not to be included, but in this case few of the scenes have been included in the script. Those come during the second hour of the film, which make the film sluggish for fewer moments.
Editing by Aarti Bajaj is fine. Cinematography by Aseem Mishra is a work of art. Background score appears true life of these kinds of films and Sandeep Chowta does a great job.
Irrfan Khan, a classy and marvelous actor of Hindi cinema who always enacts with verbalizing eyes, does the character of Paan Singh Tomar with super finesse. His performance is award-winning and you can expect him fetching awards for this role in the movie. Mahi Gill is talented and shows her class of acting. Vipin Sharma impresses and Rajendra Gupta attracts with his part. Rest of the cast too goes well with their respective roles.
Final Verdict by the Critic:
Paan Singh Tomar is a serious and meaningful cinematic work depicted brilliantly well on screen. It is a MUST WATCH.
‘Paan Singh Tomar’ is a real story based on the life of a runner who transformed into a rebel. Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, the movie has already premiered at the British Film Institute London Film Festival in the year 2010.
The movie stars Irrfan Khan, who is playing the lead role and the character after whom the film has been named. Opposite him is Mahie Gill, who plays the role of Indra and Vipin Sharma, who plays Major Masand.
Paan Singh Tomar belongs to a small town of Madhya Pradesh. He joins Bengal Engineers to put an end to his poverty. Thereafter, he takes up running as a profession, and goes on to win the ‘steeplechase’ running event at the Indian National Games for seven consecutive years! But fate has other plans for him and he gives up running and his prestigious position of a ‘subedaar’ in the Army, only to become a ‘baaghi’ (or rebel) in the Chambal Valley.
The director of the film, Tigmanshu Dhulia, got to know about Tomar when working in Chambal for ‘Bandit Queen’. He realized that this runner was not very well-known in spite of holding numerous records. So he decided to make a film based on the life of Tomar. Hence began the journey of ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ the movie, with Dhulia collecting information by talking to the family members of Tomar and visiting his village in Bhind.
The movie has been shot in Chambal valley and the real barracks in Roorkee, where Tomar used to live. It has also been shot in the uphill area of Roorkee, which is among the oldest army cantonments of India. The Dramatics Team of IIT Roorkee contributed several scenes in the movie, including the racing sequence.
Lead actor Irrfan Khan put in a lot of effort for this movie. He trained himself quite rigorously as he practiced with steeplechase coaches, and even broke his ankle during the shoot. It has by far been the ‘most physically and mentally demanding film’ of his career.
The movie is set to release in India on 2nd March, 2012.