Watched this movie Panga. Spoilers ahead. Being an Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari movie, it had been on my to-watch list for quite some time now. Her dialogues, direction, and screen play all have left me super refreshed – be it ‘Bareilly ki barfi’ or ‘nil batte sannata’.
I am not a very big sports movie fan. I watch them cautiously but I took a chance with this one given its lineage. The movie starts off as a simple one – set in a middle class house in Bhopal. Jaya Nigam (Kangna) is a simple mother and a railway ticket counter employee. Her husband Prashant is a lesser known actor (singer Jassi Gill) with chocolate boy looks and plays the perfect subdued accompaniment to the fiery sport star and now hyper mother Jaya Nigam. That she was ex captain of india team is slowly revealed to us as the movie progresses. Advance tip – do forgive the predictability of the movie. This is a movie to be seen for the sheer endearment of the characters – vulnerable mother Jaya, her supportive yet doubtful husband Prashant and their cheeky son Adi. Jaya’s foot-in-the-mouth mother is played by botany teacher Neena Gupta. This is like any other Ashwiny movie – few but beautifully well etched out characters breathing life into the story.
Women are often judged for their choices and this movie re-emphasises that we need to respect the choices women make, however irrational they may seem to our myopic eyes. As india kabaddi captain, jaya has a glorious career etched out in front of her but decides to take a call to focus on her child. Often we are too harsh on women boxing them and their choices whenever we can and this movie is a great way to bring back the thought that women can choose what to stop, when to stop and when to start it back – and that they be complete masters in programming their lives.
Some of the scenes that stayed in my mind –
1. When Adi tries all ways to convince dad that mom should make a comeback in kabaddi
2. Jaya’s fiery sports co-player friend Meenu ( Richa Chadha) who is her soulmate yet a honest critic while she rebukes Jayas notion of coming back and gives her a honest and critical opinion on her fitness levels and what it takes to actually make a comeback. She provides a fine balance between giving jaya the encouragement she needs to dream but making sure she slogs for what she dreams about.
3. When jaya sets off to practice for Eastern Railways team in Kolkata- her first abrasive encounter with her room mate Nisha Das and then the journey of how they bond as sisters.
4. Adi’s play which he botches up due to a makeup gone wrong by his dad – but yet when his mom calls him to tell him she’s been selected in the Eastern Railways team – he gloats and lies about his wonderful performance to her. Similarly he plucking out the tulsi leaves and eating them himself – as against opposing them when his mother used to lovingly try to feed him this everyday.
5. The various matches which, when Meenu is watching – her brash yet lovable one liner commentaries which she doles out to a friend, a trainee, or the Maushi who is giving her a massage.
The second half of the movie is filled with Jaya’s games and a bit of technical detailing around the game but very enjoyable for the viewers. The frustration of Jayas family who accompany her to watch the match waiting for her to play (she is a substitute player) leaves us eager to watch her moves and in the end she does make a great comeback. The teams captain’s acerbic behaviour towards jaya is also well chiseled.
All in all – this movie ends on a positive feel-good note and heals a bit of something that might be irking you. Watch it with your family 🙂