PANGA : Of a sports drama & a feel good family ‘raid’

PANGA movie review is here. Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, the movie stars Kangana Ranaut, Jassi Gill, Richa Chadda, Neena Gupta and Yagya Bhasin. The family sports drama releases today – January 21, 2020. Does it motivates and overcomes all the hurdles?, let’s find out n the movie review of PANGA.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
What happens when DANGAL meets NIL BATTEY SANNATA and they get carried away and eat some extra BARFI with MARY KOM?, answer a PANGA is born. Got it?. No? you will come to know?. If you read further.

The Story of PANGA
Jaya Nigam (Kangana Ranaut) is a 32-year-old ex Indian Kabaddi champion – captain of the Indian Kabaddi team, leading a happily married life in the city of lakes – Bhopal. Her husband Prashant (Jassie Gill) is an engineer and Jaya works in railways (the job she probably got due to her credits as her achievements as a Kabaddi player).  Her 7-year-old son Adi (Yagya Bhasin) suffers from weak immune system. Jaya has given up on her passion for Kabbadi for the sake of her family. However, one day an incident triggers the passion inside Jaya for Kabaddi and how Jaya’s family supports her in making a comeback at the age of 32 forms the crux of this saga.

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PANGA movie review
The screenplay of PANGA by Nikhil Mehrotra, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, and Nitesh Tiwari coming in with his additional inputs, seems to be coming from the hangover of DANGAL that comes with a couple of occasional hiccups reminding of NIL BATTEY SANNATA and MARY KOM, yes of course with a smart twist. But still?.

As far as the family melodrama and feel-good factor is concerned, director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and her team of writers are bang on target. There is compatibility, simplicity, the milieu, the understanding of a happily married couple from the Hindi heartland. The characterization is identifiable and the major surprise comes in the form of Adi (Yagya Bhasin) – a bundle of ‘apar’ (tremendous) talent. In fact, at a certain point, PANGA appears to be the story of a child who motivates his mother to take up her passion. This theme of a great comeback of a mother (an ex-champion in the game of Kabbadi) powered by her son’s motivation could have been one of the greatest inspiring sports drama in India. Though fictional it could have countered the ‘reality’ of women in an Indian household and the way Indian sports like Kabbadi is treated by the system and the public in general. PANGA was in the capable hands of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (NIL BATTEY SANNATA, BAREILLY KI BARFI previous) but somehow it fails as a sports flick though it achieves triumph as a feel-good family drama with sports as a backdrop.

Agreed, its not a biopic or a documentary on Kabaddi, PANGA is a mainstream entertainer and it does entertains the target audience, I am a bit disappointed caused I felt it could have been much better and movies like PANGA are a cakewalk for the talented Tiwari’s – Ashwini and Nitesh.

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The first half is a cracker but the second half is a spoiler when Kabbadi takes over, PANGA turns into bad sport.

There is no establishment of Jaya as a great Kabbadi player and what is her strength in the game. How she attains nuances in her comeback is also not explained properly.

The character of Jaya’s husband Prashant is baffling, at one point he is proud of the fact that his wife is an ex Kabbadi champion and she gave up her passion to support the family. Why he is not keen on Jaya going back to Kabbadi? When his son expresses the desire of seeing his mom making a comeback, he asks Jaya to indulge in a fake comeback session??.

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Anyhow, the strong emotionally charged strong family bonding and memorable moments with superb dialogues tackle the defects and make PANGA a motivationally feel-good family watch.

Kangana Ranaut delivers a memorable performance. She is undoubtedly a rare and the most polish talent available today as an actor and she delivers a flawless performance. An absolute delight.

Jassie Gill as the husband is amazingly natural.

Yagya Bhasin is class apart. Getting the best of lines and the best role in the movie after Kangana. Yagya steals your heart and it is impossible to imagine PANGA without Yagya, such is the impact.

Richa Chadha is awesome and bang on with the accent and her comic timing. Other valuable contribution comes from Megha Burman, Neena Gupta, Rajesh Tailang and Smita Dwivedi.

Technically sound with Sandeep Meher’s production design playing a major role. Sunita Vishwas Rao – Kabaddi co-ordinator, Gauri Wadekar – Kabaddi Coach and choreographer do a fine job.

Unfortunately, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music has nothing to offer. The editing could have been better.

Final words
PANGA had the potential to be turned into a masterpiece looking at the potential of the plot, the caliber of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari as story tellers and the awesome power of Kangana Ranaut as an actress who hardly goes wrong. It has glaring flaws as a sports flick but it triumph as an motivationally emotional family drama is undeniable.

So just like a thinking member of a lovable good family, we let go the flaws and appreciate the ‘goodness’ of something done by our near and dear ones, PANGA is mast, must for every mother, son and father for its sheer positivity and feeling of togetherness in the end that inspires us to follow our passion and never forget our dreams.

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Critic Rating

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