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A great movie!

A great movie!

By K N Gupta

Eye TV India Bureau

Cast: : Irrfan Khan, Mahie Gill, Vipin Sharma
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia

Critic's I-view

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Director Tigmanshu Dhulia might just have blasted the myth that cinema has to be either drama or comedy. Dhulia has turned serious cinema equally entertaining in the March 2nd, 2012, release of 'Paan Singh Tomar'. This is the best movie of the week in all respects - story, screenplay, direction, performance, dialogues, cinematography and music. Bollywood needs to give the status due to Dhulia. After all, he has proved his worth in 'Haasil', 'Shagird'and 'Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster'. His latest is simply superb!

'Paan Singh Tomar' is based on a real life incident. Circa 1950, Paan Singh Tomar comes from the dacoit-affected region of Chambal. He joins the Army though his relatives are dacoits. Paan Singh claims they aren't dacoits but rebels (Baghees), also proudly boasting the police wasn't ever able to catch them! A young and energetic fella, Paan Singh has a good appetite and complains that his ration falls short of satisfying his hunger. They suggest he join sports to get extra ratio to eat. He switches to sports and wins a race. Paan's boss asks him to run the steeplechase race so the boss can get his relative to win the race. But, the obedient Paan instead obliges by winning a gold medal there too. Somewhere inside, Paan Singh also misses the chance to fight the enemy in war.

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Paan Singh loves his wife and children. He is hurt to discover that his relatives have ruined his crop and dispossessed him of his in land in his hometown. His cousins brutally beat his old mother, and his wife and son had to flee to the in-laws. The police fail to help him and rather shabbily treat his gold medal and Army service. And, that's where the story turns. In the moment of anger, he takes up arms and takes revenge. This is narrated in an interview with a journalist played by Brijendra Kala who meets the terrorist Paan at his hideout at a great risk.

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Irrfan Khan plays Paan Singh Tomar with a convincing performance that would make anyone realize that Irrfan alone shoulders the film with an outstanding performance. Irfaan must have undergone a rigorous physical training to play this coveted role. Mahie Gill playing Paan Singh's wife is indeed incredible though scarcely seen. Other actors also lend good support. Vipin Sharma and Rajendra Gupta play their respective characters just as well. Nawazuddin Siddiqui sparkles in a brief role. Imran Hasnee is first-rate. The movie's dialogues are sweetly precise and downright convincing. Paan Singh's hint to his boss that he cannot absorb abuses is noteworthy. His other statement 'Bihad mein baaghi hote hain... Dacait milte hain Parliament mein' is most typical, and mirrors today's scenario. Aseem Mishra's cinematography is fantastic. Sandeep Chowta's background music lends support to the movie. One does wish though that the movie was cut short especially the latter half. And, Paan Singh's transition to a kidnapper from a brilliant sportsman should not have been as abrupt as it is.

Overall, Dhulia deserves a salute for making a movie as a tribute to the memory of all those sportspersons who brought glory to the nation but died unsung and in misery. Enjoy watching this movie!!

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