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PANGA - A simple, sweet and inspiring film, that not only has the Queen, but an equally adorable Jassie Gill and the kid too. (Review by Bobby Sing)

26 Jan, 2020 | Movie Reviews / 2020 Releases

Sports movies always face one major hurdle of being predictable and repetitive due to their monotonous nature of content and story progression. But here, though PANGA has its own share of clichés, particularly in its second half, the film still turns out to be a winner due to its key performances and the subject that more focuses on the challenges of motherhood and a sportswoman deciding to make a comeback in her early 30s.
The sweet, slice of life simplicity in its first half straight away pulls you in introducing to the small, loving family and it works despite no stress on the sport (Kabaddi) till the intermission. No doubt the writing falls short of maintaining the same novelty in the second half reminding you of similar instances in a few other sports based films like DANGAL. But both the writing and direction don’t let you take off your eyes from the screen focusing more on the characters and their lovable interaction. 
Having said that, what actually rescues PANGA from just being an above average film are the talented performers, who seem to be just perfect and well-chosen playing their given characters. Yes, the queen aka Kangna Ranaut is right there leading from the front with another natural and praiseworthy performance as a mother passionately chasing her dream. But this time she is not the solo winner in the acting department, accompanied by an equally impressive surprise act coming from Jassie Gill, a famous singer-turned-actor from Punjab. Gill is just adorable in a delightfully restrained performance as the understanding and supportive husband, followed by a joyful Richa Chadha as the friend as well as coach and Neena Gupta as the so natural and lively mother. Above all we have the young Yagya Bhasin as the kid-son who gets many well-written lines and delivers a delightfully mature performance becoming the main reason for her mother’s tough and brave comeback.
Written & directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari with co-writers Nikhil Mehrohtra and Nitesh Tiwari, PANGA progresses calmly with grace and sensitivity bringing forward an issue of hidden wishes and ambitions willfully suppressed by talented mothers in a family. The subject of a struggling mother was earlier witnessed in MARY KOM as a sub-plot of a bio-pic based on our Indian sports icon, continuing with her international career even after marriage and having kids. But PANGA presents it in a much elaborate manner with all well-defined supporting characters and heartfelt emotions. And that’s the reason, it can be truly called an inspiring film for the women, who have given up their individual dreams for their young kids and family.
In the technical department, cinematography, editing, art-direction, locations and costumes give an authentic, realistic feel to the onscreen proceedings and both the background score and lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar enhance the story developments as one of the project’s key merits. However, there still isn’t any take-home song which stays in mind for long and one keeps humming it after watching the film. At the same time, an exceptional worth mentioning quality of its soundtrack remains the absence of any forcibly added Punjabi based song, which can now be found in almost every new film following the blind trend. 
In fact, the makers didn’t fall in this routine marketing trap even when they had the famous Punjabi singer Jassie Gill in the team, who could have easily provided them some potential Punjabi songs to choose from. Interestingly, where PANGA having Gill in the cast hasn't got any Punjabi song in its soundtrack, STREET DANCER released on the same Friday, has 3-4 Punjabi based songs in it, even when it happens to be a dedicated dance genre film revolving around all Western dance forms and troupes.
So, PANGA is unarguably a worth-watching film with an important subject of women proving themselves even years after their marriages and becoming mothers of one or more kids. But it does fall short of becoming an extraordinary film, most probably following the instructions given by the production house instead of the director or writer’s own compromised vision.
Stating the details, PANGA successfully overcomes its inevitable shortcoming of being predictable in its impressive and fresh first half. But the moment it starts focusing on the comeback, the sport, the training, the officials and the protocol, it all becomes too convenient and smooth without any major personal, professional or procedural hurdles that looks like highly superficial and unreal. 
In other words, the film suffers as it seems to be deliberately made as per the new strict instructions of the production houses to keep it light and entertaining remaining far away from something deep and introspective. That is the reason one finds humour brought in regularly in the sequences, even when it is not required, missing the emotional depth and 'stay' demanded by the subject. If you give it a thought, then certainly it would have been much more difficult and extremely harder for a mother in her early 30s to make a comeback in Indian sports team of Kabaddi considering the family issue, the society, the competition and the politics involved in the sports administration. 
The film actually shows a little bit of all with a touch and go approach that eventually doesn't allow it to become any outstanding or exceptional take on the rare theme reportedly inspired from the real life events of a National level Indian player.

Nevertheless PANGA is indeed a brilliantly performed and well-written/directed film that inspires and motivates the viewers, especially the women, to at least try going for their suppressed dreams, sharing it with their caring family members, mainly the husband and the kids. Plus it has a lesson for the husbands too, who need to give the much required space, support and motivation to their better halves helping them rediscover themselves as they always wished to.
And that reason alone makes it a worth recommending watch taking the family along.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 

Tags : PANGA Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, Hindi films based on Sports, Sports biopics in Hindi
26 Jan 2020 / Comment ( 0 )
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