Kangana Ranaut starrer Panga has been on my list of films to watch for some time now. Recently, I watched the trailer again at the theatre and it got me thinking about a few things.
So, some of the obvious things first, the trailer gives us a sense that the film is about a female Kabaddi player, Jaya Nigam, and will tell us the story of her struggle to make a comeback to the Indian team after becoming a mother. Jaya has captained India and was one of the best raiders the team ever had. Now she is 32 years old, happily married. Her husband and son are supportive of her. Today, she works for the Indian Railways, which is well-known for recruiting outstanding sportspersons to Railway services on Sports Quota. She is now well-settled into her middle-class Indian wife’s role. So, what piqued my interest you ask?
First, unlike romance Bollywood doesn’t sell sports stories every Friday. A story about a female sportsperson is even rare. Agreed, there have been movies like, Chak De! India, Dangal, Mary Kom and Saala Khadoos and we have loved watching them. I still remember how Bend It Like Beckham was a rage when it released, and how I watched it by borrowing a DVD, locking the room with a small group of friends. Well, because it was talking about issues that no one else was, not at that time. Can Panga be in the same league? I hope it does.
First, unlike romance Bollywood doesn’t sell sports stories every Friday. A story about a female sportsperson is even rare.
We get a sense of the hurdles Jaya faces to get back in the game at an age when most players think of hanging the boots up for good. But it will also be interesting to see how a traditionally masculine game such as kabaddi becomes the passion of a young girl, the challenges she faced in first place in picking that sport up as a career. Will the story touch upon that? Well, we will have to wait and watch for that.
It will also be interesting to see how a traditionally masculine game such as kabaddi becomes the passion of a young girl, the challenges she faced in first place in picking that sport up as a career.
What interested me the most is how Jaya keeps trying to find her past in her present, like when she goes to the young kabaddi players sitting at the railway station and is about to introduce herself as a player and the young boy almost tells her off. That ignominy of being forgotten how do you deal with it? How do you come to terms with the fact that your past, for which you worked so hard, is lost to the people in your present? Can it give you the power to outdo yourself all over again? How when you become a mother everything about yourself takes a backseat and you live only as a mother. How whenever you want to break the stereotypes the society lives by you are seen as an outcast and reminded about your place? The trailer says, “Every mother deserves a second chance to live her dream.” She surely should.
How do you come to terms with the fact that your past, for which you worked so hard, is lost to the people in your present?
I am looking forward to the film to find my answers. Are you?
Panga directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is all set to release on January 24, 2020. The film also stars Jassi Gill, Neena Gupta and Richa Chadha among others.
PC: YouTube screenshot
The views expressed are the author’s own.