Friday, March 2, 2012

Paan Singh Tomar - Movie Review, Irrfan Khan's best performance

Paan Singh Tomar is compelling movie which does clinical justice to the brilliance of Irrfan Khan, easily one of the best actors in the world. He has always been an immensely gifted actor who has been known to dwarf other actors, even when he performs with suitable restraint. In Paan Singh Tomar, Irrfan Khan has given one of the best performances of his career, so much that you may even feel like buying Vodafone ka Chota Recharge and other such products that he endorses, because he is so reassuring in everything that he does.

Back to the movie, Paan Singh Tomar is a tragic biopic about an international level athlete and Indian steeplechase champion from a village in Madhya Pradesh. He speaks less but whenever he does, he ends up saying things in a bitter-sweet manner. He wins laurels as an Indian steeplechase champion. On retiring, he comes back to his village, and realizes that his land and y has been seized by his cousin brother.

When he goes to the police and the collector for justice, they turn their back to him. The fact that he won a lot of pride for the country falls on deaf-ears and one police inspector is too happy to throw Paan Singh Tomar’s medals on his face. His cousin brother’s goons come knocking on his doors and even terrorize people in his family.

Little wonder, Tomar decides to take law in his own hands and set things right and teach the wretched system a lesson. As he gains ill-fame as a Chambal dacait, Paan Singh Tomar grimaces upon the fact that when he was an international steeplechase champion, people were hardly interested in him and now everyone from the media to the common-man wants to know more about him.

Plus points about Pan Singh Tomar – One of the finest talents in the country, director Tigmanshu Dhulia drives home the divide between the glorification of cricket and the worse than step-motherly treatment given to other sports in the country. He does not preach but you get the point and feel very sad at the way, there has been a criminal neglect of various sports in India.

The movie is not at all dark or moody, in fact, it is filled with so many light-hearted moments that you actually feel a pang in your heart at the way; Paan Singh’s family gets ill-justice. So much that you stand by Paan Singh, despite some of the heinous crimes he committed, considering the fact that he would never have even dreamt of going that way, if he was given help and support by the country, he had given his everything to.
Tigmanshu’s team has kept everything precise and relevant to the narrative, right from the language and dialect to the costumes and settings.

Performances in Paan Singh Tomar
Irrfan Khan is the life of Paan Singh Tomar. Our publicity machinery which always goes ga-ga on how a star has been preparing for a role and how many bench-presses he has been doing, may have forgotten to cover Irrfan Khan’s preparation for the film. This guy is pushing close to 50 but he does not look a day older than 33. It is evident that the method actor that Irrfan Khan is, he has been preparing himself very well for the role and kept himself in an athletic shape for the first part of the role.

 The second half has him looking older, slightly frail but steely in resolve. He is convincing in both the parts and we doubt any other actor would have been able to play Paan Singh Tomar with as much conviction as Irrfan Khan did. Mahie Gill does not have much of a role to play but truth be told, she looks hot even with the village-girl tan. However, one suspects that some of the scenes of this wonderful actress may well have been edited. Zakir Hussain, Gopal Varma’s favorite character actor, has a short role in the film, which he does well

Conclusion- Towards the end of the film, the director Tigmanshu Dhulia pays tribute with names to sportsmen who have died penniless, ignored by the government and the media in spite of winning Olympic medals and international fame. It is great to watch a film of Paan Singh Tomar’s caliber which reminds us of a not-so shining India, a movie that does not have plots of convenience, stupid item numbers and inane comedies but is still touching enough to touch a chord, somewhere deep in the heart.


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