Paan Singh Tomar, the movie – A few things other than the obvious…
There is difference between a dialogue and a dialogue delivered by Irrfan! No one in this industry can match or even come close to that cadre. And the cherry on the top is when he delivers this dialogue without uttering a single word. Yes! The eyes, the expression, the body language… you’ll realize later that he didn’t opened his mouth, yet conveys you the dialogue! In a scene in the movie Paan Singh Tomar, Irrfan’s coach tells him that he will be training him for the steeple chase. Irrfan says that he don’t have any idea about steeple chase… but he will run and so says yes! Out of this, the only word he said was ‘Ji‘. For the rest, he didn’t have to say a word. Thus, no wonder, he was the apt choice to play the protagonist in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s biopic about the athlete turned dacoit baaghi Paan Singh Tomar.
There are several things to be appreciated in the movie apart from just the story. Its not always easy to make a biopic and keep the interest level same throughout the movie. But Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chauhan (the writers) has done a fantastic job in this case. Thanks to some dialogues and one liners by Tigmanshu Dhulia himself which kept the audience glued and entertained in case they might have felt the movie monotonous. Some examples:
- The most popular: Beehad mein ‘Baaghi’ hote hain, ‘Dacait’ milte hain parliament mein!
- baap chhalkaaye jaam aur beta baandhe ghungroo!
- beta daro mat… ye police ki vardi mein police hi hai!
- baap na maare mendaki, beta teerandaaz!
Its a very well researched biopic which leaves very little to point a finger at. The location, the dresses and most importantly the language and dialect! All these things show the extensive research done by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Sanjay Chauhan. Having a connection from that area, I was at ease in the movie, as against others who are not able to understand the dialogues. Anyways for such guys there were sub-titles provided in some theaters. (I watched the movie in two different theaters. Cinemax had subtitles while the subtitles were missing in the show at BIG Cinemas.) The usage of words like hamaayi for hamaari (ours/mine), haigi and haigo for hai (it is), mauda-maudi for ladka-ladki (a boy and a girl) and bhajat for bhaagna (to run). The last time I saw such seriousness in dialogues, according to the language and dialect of the place, was in Vishal Bhardwaj Ji’s Omkara.
The story also showed that a person can leave the Army but the things that he learns from there remains with him. The fondness and special liking for a particular ice cream even 30 years after retiring from army clearly says this. At one place he says to his nephew, “Gusse ko aakhiri round ke liye bacha kar rakho”. The same was taught by his coach during his training. Asking his son to go and join his duty, against his will, in irrespective of what happened with his family. Calling the Collector for the land issue and going to the police (after his son was beaten up mercilessly), instead of instantly drawing out the gun and go for the kill actually depicts that the Army has made him disciplined and increased his faith in the system that to go by the process is the right thing. Incidents like these showed that ‘Once a Fauji always a Fauji.’
Though being a dacoit baaghi, PST also has another side of his character. Hailing from Chambal, he has got the rawness, roughness and impudence stuck to him. But at the same time he has got a considerable emotional quotient too. The time he is with his family, specially sending his children to buy lemonchuse to spend some ‘quality’ time with his wife, shows another side of the coin named PST. His agreement to withdraw his name from the 5000 meter race on the grounds of a personal problem of his coach sends the message that sometimes things for him don’t get categorized on the plane logic of good and bad. Also his justification for not surrendering to the police (Surrender means he is guilty of his acts which, he thinks, is not) is another facet of this part of his character.
Some other high points (according to me). Flies humming over petha (sweets) at a sweet vendor, the naai (barber) acting as messenger, the fidgeting of the father of the pakad (kidnapped) and his shaving by the naai, though he is clean shaved, but to deny any clue to anybody nearby that his kin is kidnapped by PST. These kind of minute details are brilliantly embedded and actually added to the credibility and the authenticity of the time and place in which the movie is set.
Of course there are a few shortcomings in the movie. In the end, PST got shot on his back by the police force. But in the next scene, there were no bullet holes on his back. Also at this time while some incidents of his life flash against his eyes, there was a scene which was not shown earlier in the movie (must have got edited out during final editing but it was not removed from the last scene). However these things are like needles in a haystack of awesomeness which should not be given too much of weightage.
In the end, TD dedicates the movie to those sportsperson who made India shine but later they were forgotten and not taken care by government. Their demise didn’t bother anybody. In some way, TD is also signaling towards the condition of those film makers who have got potential and whose movies are remembered but no one knows about them. A perfect case is the movie Haasil. Many people have watched and loved Haasil and Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster but only few know Tigmanshu Dhulia. Yes! the name is still not known to the much of the jantaa! But I hope Paan Singh Tomar will make his name common in the households. Kaho Haan!