Paan Singh Tomar
Let stories be told, I told missus sometime back. Stories of men and women, of their tenacity, struggle, misery and above all their triumph. Especially, heroes among common men and women in post-independence India. Stories in public knowledge are so shallow when it comes to number of such people that have been brought into public light, although all of us have had an opportunity to know a distant relative, an accomplice, a common friend who we may have idolize or atleast be envious in terms of grit and ability to swim against the tide of life’s tragedies.
This is perhaps the reason why I have chosen to write a post on my scantly updated blog on Paan Singh Tomar. This film was chosen despite the fact that I have seen “The Artist” and “Dirty Picture” prior to my visit to Fun Cinemas yesterday, and had not bothered write an ode to either. Despite the cinematic brilliance of “The Artist” and singularly exquisite piece of performance (note, not acting) on part of Sridevi incarnate - Vidya Balan in whose form a female superstar has thus reborn. Coming back to PST, it is neither the performance not the technical excellence that is forcing me to write my less than qualified post. There are three main reasons as to why one should watch this movie:
Firstly it is a bold subject. It’s a story that filmmakers avoid talking or making movies about. It is difficult in execution and it takes lot of research and very calculated imagination to fill the gaps. Stories of sportsmen who fell on bad times are aplenty but rather than talk about an Olympic medallist who died penniless (KD Jadhav), the filmmakers of PST chose to talk about a “rebel” who took up arms instead. This is not to say that justification of such an act is in order, but an action to reverse the flow of circumstances which seem to suck the life out of any middle aged, over the hill sportsman with no means is very much a natural phenomenon. Focus is thus less on his misery, but more on vectors that align and conspire together to force the transformation of an athlete into a dacoit.
Secondly the topography of the terrain. I simply love the fact the ravines of Chambal and thereabouts are still intact to tell a tale of their own. They remain true to their mysterious and violent past. It is vastly superior to Omkara (Western UP) and almost upstages Bandit Queen. Watch out of navigable rivulets and rickety boats taking men, women and children across.
Thirdly is the language. That dialect which cuts through urban hinglish that we use today like a knife through the butter. Earthiness of the words spoken, often by very talented actors like Irfan, Zakir Hussain, Mahi Gill and Bijendra Kala stands out in the movie.
Enough said, watch it before they snuff the picture out of theatres. Strain your ears though, dialect may be a little too caustic for some of us.