‘Beehad me baagi hote hain, daaku milte hain parliament me’
– Paan Singh Tomar
It is said that our movies reflect our society. How true!
Paan Singh Tomar, seven-times steeplechase National Games winner, who brought laurels for this country, who brought medals for the Indian army, was forced to become a dreaded dacoit due to the apathy and negligence of the government. He takes up arms to protect himself and his family and honor. He finally died fighting bullets of Indian police on 1st Oct, 1981. A soldier who took up gun and bullets to fight enemies of this nation, to save this motherland, succumbed to the bullets of his own country’s police. In an unjust society, some crimes become a necessity. And that’s how Paan Singh Tomar’s real life story is: it makes a statement to all the youngsters of this country who love this country, who love the sports. What an irony that the nation winner remains anonymous throughout this sports career but kidnapping and murder brought him to the limelight.
If you love sports, you should know the reality of true state of sports in this country.
Indian cricketers are paid bountiful even if they lose the match. One big performance by a cricketer and we lap him like a hero and worship him like a god. And then there were those Olympians and gold medalists of this country who made us proud. But do we know that few of those sportspersons died penniless, with hardly any medical facility accessible to them, few sold even their medals to get some money, and some still live in abject poverty. And those several unsung heroes who never got their dues, who toiled hard in sun and soil. They never got any endorsements, or any media coverage or any page3 attention even at the peak of their careers. And once they retire from the sports or die, they are forgotten by the nation.
Like Paan Singh Tomar, these sportspersons wonder, Desh ke liye faaltu bhagey kya?
What more shame could happen to Indian sports. Man who looted the money of Indian sports, who filled his own pockets, who brought so much of embarrassment to this country, is again at the helm of affairs in Indian Olympic association (IOA). Did I say Suresh Kalmadi? Huh. All such Paan Singh Tomars of Indian sports reminds us never to forget such shames of India.
Watch this movie, not for the strong and gritty performance of Irfan Khan or for the tight script or for its hard-hitting dialogues or for its brilliant metaphor or for gripping tale but for the sheer love for Indian sports. It makes you move, it makes you think, it compels you. Tigmanshu Dhulia, the director, has made a very brave movie, very seldom seen in Indian cinemas. He has hit the bull’s eyes.
This is the passionate and true story of not one sportsperson of this country. This movie is the story of all those unsung Indian sportspersons.
After the end of the movie, I could not help myself questioning: Are we truly a sports-loving nation then?