Yesterday I had the good luck of watching a great movie on an Indian sportsman in a long long time. I watched Paan Singh Tomar, the film made on the real-life story of Paan Singh Tomar, who went from a national steeple-chase champion to a dacoit in the ravines of the Chambal.
A beautiful, tragic tale of fighting for your dream, living it for a while and losing it all, Paan Singh Tomar is a must watch feature film showing the struggles of this great Indian athlete who made it to the big stage despite all odds. The story begins with a young Paan Singh Tomar, who is a new recruit in the army, who amazes all with his immense stamina and amazing speed. Things don’t go exactly as planned but Paan Singh Tomar makes it big on the national chase as the steeple-chase champion.
The story then continues with his journey through the national meets, the 3rd Asia Games at Tokyo and the International Defense Meet. It traces the trials and tribulations Paan Singh Tomar faced in order to make his dream come true, doing something great for his country. The story is a tragic one, but it is real. The thing that saddened me the most as the movie went on was how little I knew about this sportsman who was one of the finest runners India ever had. I felt ashamed that I did not know a single thing about him, nor did the people in the theater.
As the movie ended, and the director made this very thoughtful gesture of mentioning other sportsmen of India who never got the attention and fame they deserved, I felt sad. I felt heartbroken that the other people in the theater walked out without as much as a glance towards the names, the names that were so much like Paan Singh Tomar. The names, who craved for attention and respect all their lives.
I had tears in my eyes, as I am sure you will have to, if you watch this film.
Well done Tigmanshu Dhulia for making this wonderful wonderful film and to Irfan Khan, for such a phenomenal performance as Paan Singh Tomar, so effortless! Go watch Paan Singh Tomar, it’s worth every bit of your time.