Monday, March 12, 2012

Pan Singh Tomar – He deserves a watch!

“Kya Saboot hai?”  Asked the rusty cop.

“Sir, look at the paper clippings, pictures and the medals. Look at them. They are all mine. I have won gold medals for my country,” responded the tall, well built yet gentle athlete with pride in his voice.

After a round of provocative questioning and quite unprovocative answering session, the once proud athlete left the police station angrily and shattered at the shameless and humiliating behavior meted out to him.

All he wanted was for the police to register his complaint and provide his family protection against his evil cousin brother. As an ex Army Subedaar , who was well trained in the art of warfare and self protection…he could have easily taken things in his own hands, after his son was brutally beaten up by the cousin and his men. 

But he did not, instead he showed faith in the system. The very system, however, let him down, hurt his dignity and caused harm to his family. Worse, the protectors also  conspired and plotted against an innocent man, a man of honour (a so called “national treasure” who was considered so precious that he was not sent to the war front during the 1965 war), just to serve their own selfish ends.

Finally, cornered from all sides, he turned into a dacoit. Though, he liked to call himself a Baghi - 'A rebel.' A right man turned wrong. Of course, he avenged himself. And after that went on to commit one wrong after the other. Each time justifying his stance. But what surprised me that I  had never heard his name. And am sure that like me, many would have remained oblivious to his story had it not come out in the form of a brilliantly made movie. 

The quite engrossing film based on the true story of Pan Singh Tomar, an Indian steeplechase runner, employed with the Indian Army who won 7 consecutive Gold medals in the Indian National games but later turned dacoit, raised several pertinent questions through the power packed performance of Irfan Khan and its interesting plot. (However, in my opinion, it was Irfan’s performance that gave the movie its wider appeal).

The first question it raised was about  the state of our sportspersons (of course, barring cricketers), in the country. It depicts clearly that  most of them suffer (many even leading a life of oblivion and penury), after they retire from active sports. (Though their situation now might be slightly better than earlier times).

The other aspect and an even more relevant fact that was very well brought out was how a good, law abiding man turned into a law breaker; just to claim what was rightfully his. He could have stayed a simple, honest man…had the police co operated. Or even had his own village people backed him up. But until he did not take matters in his own hands, nobody came forward to fight alongside him and his family against injustice.

 Somewhere, as a Society we are unjust and unfair. Power corrupts the powerful. So even while some of them have the power to bring about a positive change, they sit silently or turn a blind eye to a wrong being committed either to please few people or just because they think it’s not their job. In such a scenario, it is us, the common man who must stand united. And all we need to do is stand up and raise our voices. Smartly. Collectively. As we have seen in recent times. Collective dissent for a wrong rule/ judgment is powerful. It is in our hands to save ‘Pan Singh Tomar’s’ of this land from becoming rebels or law breakers. Only if we wish. Only if we want. We can create the' Will.' And as they say ‘where there is a will, there ‘sure’ is a way!’ 

For the movie, however...I would say - Go watch it once!

No comments:

Post a Comment