He ruled the steeplechase event at the Indian National Games for seven years in a row.
His record stood unbeaten for ten years.
His name was Paan Singh Tomar.
For a reporter, you would assume that getting hold of Paan Singh Tomar for an interview, several years after his exploits in the athletic arena would be stress-free.
Taking very high risks to get an all-revealing interview with the former athlete; definitely tells you that there is something very unique about Paan Singh Tomar.
Paan Singh Tomar was no ordinary ‘former athlete’, for he went on to become a notorious ‘rebel’ who wreaked havoc in the Chambal valley (Madhya Pradesh, India).
The first part of the movie is crisp with some quick witted dialogues, which sets the tone for the whole of the first half.
Paan Singh Tomar (played by Irrfan Khan) delivers some superb one-liners in his distinct Hindi dialect. In his own sweet way, he lets the reporter know the subtle difference between a ‘dacoit’ and a ‘rebel’.
In flashbacks, you witness how an ordinary young man from a small, almost impoverished village goes from being a regular soldier to a celebrated steeplechase champion.
Paan Singh’s logic may be elementary, but it is definitely effective; for he runs, not because he loves to… but he will run for he what loves…
Simplicity is captured splendidly and there are several moments not to be missed in the movie, one such moment is when Paan Singh’s kids are amusingly ‘torn’ between following orders from himself and his wife (played by Mahi Gill).
Whilst a few moments are simple, some of the others that you witness are classic; don’t miss the ‘remarkable’ reason why Paan Singh Tomar changes his speciality from the 5000 meters to the steeplechase.
You tend to forget that that the character you are watching on screen is actually portrayed by the expert Irrfan Khan.
The direction, photography and screenplay bring to life ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ as though you were watching long archived footage from the 50’s and 60’s.
Paan Singh’s transformation into a rebel is unhurried yet defining.
The second part of the movie is filled with drama, action in the form of long-barrel gun fights and even a few exploits.
Exploits, because Paan Singh Tomar and his men had the fearlessness to cut across three state borders and carry out a seemingly effortless kidnapping.
Irrfan Khan’s performance is a must watch!
A satire in its own way and dedicated in memory of forgotten Indian sportsman, Paan Singh Tomar, the movie is a classic example of how serious cinema can be delightfully informative and compelling!
Definitely watch this movie that leaves a significant mark with its serious yet tragic-action-exploits!
Paan Singh Tomar starring Irrfan Khan and Mahie Gill is directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Read the movie review of Paan Singh Tomar (hindi movie), a thriller directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia.
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