Entertainment Magazine

Review: Paan Singh Tomar

Posted on the 07 March 2012 by Eynjuls @criticleo

Paan Singh Tomar

Director/writer Tigmanshu Dhulia and actor Irfan Khan came together to depict the real life tale of a runner and his transition from a Gold Medal winning champion to a much feared rebellion. Paan Singh Tomar, which was premiered in 2010 British Film Institute London Film Festival, is another small budget surprise from the house of UTV Spotboy.


Paan Singh Tomar (Irrfan Khan) is an army guy who shifts from service department to the sports and fitness section, so that he could binge on without any restrictions which exist in the much disciplined life of a serviceman. He is not educated, but claims to have extensively studied people all through, and boasts of his family of baghis (rebellions) who could never be caught by police.

Life takes a turn when his athletic potential and the innate talent of running gets noticed by prominent people. After relevant training, Paan Singh is now a National champion and a Gold medal winning sprinter. But his post-retirement circumstances compel him to run after people and away from the law, and he gradually transforms into a much feared baghi.


Irrfan Khan is indeed an underrated actor. He lived in the character of Paan Singh and proved his versatility. Be it as an aggressive runner, a tender husband or a frustrated rebellion, he was simply impeccable.

Mahie gill as a demure village belle was appreciable and her act was a matured one. Brijendra Kala as a nervous journalist trying to explore Paan Singh’s life was brilliant.


The director has to be applauded, primarily for choosing this subject and then for bringing it into life with utmost sincerity. The movie significantly focuses on aspects like – lack of relevant support and recognition for Indian sportsmen, ruthlessness of zamindars in rural India, and the eternal unpredictability in the life of a baghi.

Paan Singh Tomar is an untold story of unsung heroes in the Indian sports arena. It is unfortunate that many players who made our country proud are forced into oblivion. The movie succeeds in leaving us pondering over the distressing fate of Indian athletes.

Genuine, intense yet humorous dialogues strike an instant chord. Cinematography and locations are undeniable assets of this movie. In my knowledge, this is one of those rare movies to magnificently capture the rarely explored picturesque locations of rural India. Screenplay was effective. Background score was steadily intriguing and matches with the rustic atmosphere.

On the flip side, the movie is a bit lengthy and you need to be patient to sit through and enjoy.

Final word:

A heartfelt attempt deserving a watch! I’ll go with 3.5 out of 5.

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