Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill, Vipin Sharma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
From a small town of Madhya Pradesh, rose an athlete who ruled the steeplechase event at the Indian National Games for 7 years in a row and whose record stood unbeaten for 10 years. His name was Paan Singh Tomar, but, his fame didn’t stop there – he became even more famous or rather infamous when he gave up his running shoes and went on to become a ‘Baaghi’ and wreaked havoc in the Chambal Valley. Paan Singh Tomar is the true epic journey of a talented runner who turned into a rebel!
The movie is based on a true story but not sure how much of it is authentic and how much of it is cinematic liberty. Some of the scenes stand out like the one where Paan Singh Tomar runs to deliver an ice cream or the scene where his coach asks him to not take part in the 5000 meters race. All the race scenes are excellent. Paan Singh Tomar’s altercation with the cop and his family being attacked as well as his revenge scenes all stand out.
Cinematography by Aseem Mishra is very good especially in the sports portions of the movie. The visuals in the second half are very reminiscent of Bandit Queen. Art Direction by Dhananjay Mondal is pretty good. Editing by Aarti Bajaj could have been better in the second half.
Irrfan Khan gives his career best performance as Paan Singh Tomar. One can tell he worked really hard to look the part of someone in the military and a athlete. He is excellent from the very first scene to the last. This is a performance that deserves Best Actor awards. Mahie Gill is excellent in whatever limited scenes she is in. Vipin Sharma, Rajendra Gupta, Imran Hasnee and Brijendra Kala are all very good. Zakir Hussain is good in a brief role. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s role seems like it was edited out. The rest of the cast is good too.
Screenplay by Sanjay Chouhan and Tigmanshu Dhulia could have been better in the second half. The first half is excellent but the movie drags quite a bit in the second half. There are scenes which seem repetitive or redundant. There was no need for the son-father kidnap scene. There is a scene immediately after that where they kidnap someone after traveling across three states. That scene is excellent and was enough to make the point on how they were making money.
The second half is also very similar to Bandit Queen. Those who have not seen Bandit Queen may not have any problems but those who have seen it will get a feeling of deja vu. Interestingly Tigmanshu Dhulia was the Assistant Director on Bandit Queen. Once the revenge is accomplished then there is not much purpose to the movie. The movie should have ideally ended after the interview or may be just have the final scene after that but it gets sidetracked with unnecessary stuff.
Tigmanshu Dhulia’s direction is very good but a tighter second half could have made this a masterpiece. The movie is definitely a honest effort and he needs to be commended for trying to tell this story. He has not compromised by adding any unnecessary commercial elements or any item songs to the movie. The movie has dialogues in the rural accent which some people may have trouble understanding. The movie does however have some great one liners. Showing the names of the athletes at the end is also very well done. This is a movie recommended for all patriotic Indians.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 (Very Good).Tags: Imran Hasnee Irfan Khan Mahie Gill Member Reviews Nawazuddin Siddiqui Paan Singh Tomar Reviews Tigmanshu Dhulia Vipin Sharma