The best thing about sports dramas that are made in Bollywood is that they strike an emotional connect with the audience. They are gritty, filled with gravitas, and offer galvanising performances. There have been some truly memorable ones like Lagaan, Chak De! India, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, and even the unforgettable Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar.
Check out the trailer here:
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, who made the immensely heartwarming Bareilly Ki Barfi, a small-town romance that thrived on mistaken identities, now attempts to tell a drastically different tale set in the same milieu. She titles her film Panga, which prepares us in advance what we can expect from the film. It’s a drama about a Kabbadi player and her triumphs and struggles, glory and successes.
The tag line of the film says, Jo Sapne Dekhte Hain Woh Panga Lete Hain. There couldn’t have been a better protagonist for a story as rustic as this than Kangana Ranaut. She’s one actor who can be both fierce and fragile, herculean and humane. And Panga seems to rightly blend the two drastic emotions seamlessly. Here’s a look at the trailer:
The film also stars two other fine performers, Neena Gupta, and Richa Chadha. This is Neena Gupta 2.0, post the cult of Badhaai Ho, there has been a reinvention of sorts. And she’s leaving no opportunity to sink her teeth into such meaty roles. Chadha, on the other hand, knows this world and has been a part of it before. The texture of the heartland and its fragrance in Gangs Of Wasseypur can be felt today as well.
Tiwari has assembled a bunch of fine actors to tell a story that has all the capacity to pack a punch. We have seen glimpses of Kabbadi in Hindi Cinema with films like Pardes, Tevar, and this year’s Student of The Year 2, but they were merely a small part of the larger narrative. We haven’t seen or made a film that delves into the nuances of the game, the psyche of the players, and the emotional and financial trauma and struggles they meet every day.
The best thing about Panga is that this is a promising sports drama that’s headlined by a female star and helmed by a female director. Ranaut and Tiwari, come Republic Day 2020, will consolidate what Nitesh Tiwari declared in his wrestling drama Dangal, girls are never less than the boys.
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