|PST Cover Art|
We have seen many movies in the recent past, based on either some sports of life of a sportsperson. So far, 'Chak De' has been the only movie which got success both comercially and critically.
Now, we have 'Paan Singh Tomar', based on a sportsperson-turned-dacoit (oops, 'baaghi', as he keeps on saying in the movie), who was seven times national champion in steeplechase event.
Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia (who assisted Shekhar Kapoor during 'Bandit Queen' and also made movies like 'Haasil', 'Charas' and very recent 'Saheb Biwi aur Gansgter'), PST tells us a story which makes us believe that no sport can be bigger than cricket in our country. Director Tigmanshu has been able to pay tribute to one such unsung hero with the help of this movie which he planned during 'Bandit Queen' days.
Paan Singh Tomar was a village lad who joined army just after India got independence. He decided to get into sports after being denied proper diet in general cadre, and gets on to become the national champion in one of the toughest sport - Steeplechase.
Paan Singh doesn't get to go to warfront and decides to cover that up on the race track and brings glory to India. One of his cousins plays dirty with him and even beats up his son. The police officer refuses to lodge a complaint against the cousin and instead insults Paan Singh who shows him the medals he has won. The family fight gets even worse when Paan's cousin kills his mother. Paan then decides to take revenge and forms a gang. Whole second half is based on how he takes his revenge and kidnaps people to make up for his livelihood.
PST has been low profile throughout its pre production and production period. Its release even got late due to certain reasons. But the movie has the masala and that's what makes PST talk of the town at present and for that, credit goes to a tight script, stellar performances ( specially Irrfan) and exquisite direction.
Shot actually in Chambal valley and Meerut cantonment, PST never looks like a movie, thanks to the director. Bundelkhandi dialect has been extensively used by the characters which makes them look even more real on-screen. Just hope that it doesn't becomes bouncer for some of the audiences. There is very less scope of music in the movie, but the background score fits well.
Now, coming to the most important thing - Acting. Irrfan looks terrific on screen as the lead. He plays the character with great ease. Be it an armymen, athlete or a dacoit, Irrfan plays them with thorough perfection. The innocence and wit which he shows makes people sympathize with him (so what if he is a dacoit). Supporting actors also add to the value ofß the film, be it Paan's coach, his wife (played by Mahie Gill), his cousin or his gang-members.
In all, PST is a must watch with some good acting and direction. Watch out for some great one-liners by the 'Subedar' Paan Singh Tomar.