More than worth taking Panga
Director: Ashwini Iyer
Writers: Nikhil Mehrotra/ story, Nitish Tiwari/ screenplay, dialogues
The film opens to a guard taking rounds around a building striking the stick loudly on the ground. Inside a middle class home; anenergetic wife kicks her husband every time she turns sides on the double bed. In the morning we are introduced to the Shrivastavfamily, husband Prashant Shrivastav/Jassi Gill is an engineer, his wife Jaya Nigam/Kangana Ranaut, a former sports star now employed with the railways.
Their eight year-old son Aditya/ Yagya Bhasin is accustomed to surviving a few hours on his own and Adi relishes his me time in the company of telephone/ television always lovingly watched over by a maternal neighbor until the parents get back from work. Their home comprises all the facilities essential for quality living likewashing machine, music system, mobile phone and hearts filled with love.
The Shrivastavs are happy, well almost except for a broken dream here and there! Panga is the story of that incomplete dream whenJaya Nigam was Kabaddi National Champion and decided to give it all up for the sake of her family. Now a decade later, at the age of 32Jaya dreams of a comeback because her son wants her to.
Rooted in the subculture of societal traditions Panga includes you into the world of Shrivastavas, their highs and lows, when they are together and separated. What makes the film special is the first ratewriting specially the dialogues and adding to the narrative are JavedAkhtar’s lyrics and Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music.
The first half travels between Delhi and Bhopal and focuses on the family, their insights and attitudes, their daily routine all minutely captured by the filmmaker. The second half when the story shifts from Bhopal to Kolkatta unfortunately is not as engaging. Jaya’s preparation for the match is not as excruciating and therefore the excitement associated with the game does not rise to a crescendo.
We are expecting the family to encounter a crisis but that does not happen and post interval the pace slows down. Some details are not underlined for instance we are unable gage the separation timebetween Jaya and her family and the frenzy during the final match is sorely missed but one is ready to bypass these shortcomings because the film has its heart in place.
Panga raises its voice for kabaddi, for dormant dreams, for womenseeking identity and most important salutes the mother who pouts endless hours to keep a family together. It is never too late to follow a dream, to express and be heard and to support a family.
Before the interval in a deeply moving scene, Jaya tells her husband that every time she looks at him and their son she feels good, but does not feel the same when she looks at herself. The confession is an alarm bell for us, our society that has oppressed women for too long in the guise of moral and social responsibilities.
Not a single character is out of place or over stated. Curly haired Neena Gupta makes an appropriate mother to Kangana Ranaut and Richa Chadda as Jaya’s friend Meenu is as candid as it gets, she is the scene stealer. Jassi Gill and little Yagya Bhasin are the surprise packets and Kangana Ranaut once again delivers a fabulous performance. The last time we encountered Ranaut she played aqueen, this time she wins our hearts as an endearing homemaker.
Director Ashwini Iyer and writer Nitish Tiwari take a bow for this delightful film and make sure you watch it with your entire family. I rate the simple, sensitive and effective Panga with 3.5 stars.