Kangana Ranaut, Jassie Gill, Neena Gupta, Yagya Bhasin
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
It might be my bias, but seeing a mother achieve her dreams while her family applauds is a winner already. Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Panga speaks to the audience without having a single screaming, screeching sequence with a woman beating her chest and recounting her sacrifices. Yet, there are some tears but there is also determination. After all to take a Panga even the meek needs to be a little aggressive, right?
Jaya Nigam (Kangana Ranaut) is you, she is me, she is every woman who has had to give up something she loves for her family. Once a top National level player in Kabaddi, today she is a housewife worried about her son’s welfare and whether her husband has everything he needs. It is not as if she doesn’t love being a mother, it is in fact her greatest joy. She loves being a doting wife to her husband (Jassie Gill) too. She doesn’t mind her monotonous job at the railways either. She is happy but she is missing a part of her. Missing who she used to be once, missing the glory success brought to her. And she is human enough to admit it, that while everything is good, she knows she has left a precious dream behind.
One day when her son, Adi (Yagya Bhasin) asks if 32 is too old to follow one’s dream, she pauses and wonders. Can she still achieve what was once hers for grabbing? When her husband Vishal encourages her to give it a shot. Because quite frankly, the only thing worse than not achieving one’s dreams is never attempting to achieve them in the first place. Bhopal kabaddi team gets a new though old player.
But that’s just the beginning of the battle, to start again at an age where most of the girls quit the sport is a challenge in itself. How does Jaya find her footing back, how do Vishal and Adi take up for Jaya’s absence in their life and more, makes Panga.
Besides Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s heartwarming direction Panga’s most beautiful aspect are its actors. Kangana Ranaut as a girl from Bhopal is so convincing and sweet that you cannot imagine her as the same girl you saw in Manikarnika or even Queen. She does small-town-girl-with-big-dreams like no one else can, and that’s a fact. Kangana’s role has a sweet protective mumma-hen vibe and also a fierce competitor grit, and the girl nails both beautifully. She is ably supported by her cute family of actors too. Jassie Gill will make you sigh and hope your husband was as supporting. Something about their relationship will remind you of Vidya Balan and Manav Gill from Tumhari Sullu. Even little Yagya is lovely. Neena Gupta and the way she fits into the film is really perfect. The dynamics between the family members is so real and so relatable that the film wins your heart even without doing much or saying much. Actors like Richa Chaddha too have a small but memorable role.
The music of the film but music trio Shanker, Ehsaan and Loy is really nice, and keeps with the pace of the film. This Tiwari couple’s films are bound to be a must-see if they keep churning out such wonders from time to time.