Paan Singh, A rebel turned dacoit

Beehad mein ‘Baaghi’ hote hain, ‘Dacait’ milte hain parliament mein!” –  from Paan Singh Tomar’s, the biopic. 

Paan Singh Tomar, a very patriotic man who won’t entertain any abuse against the motherland, an obedient army subedar who doesn’t hesitate to take the bullet for the country on the border, a top class athlete who represented the country in the Asian Games, a man with very high moral values.

Tomar could have easily become a role model, a real hero, someone whose stories the kid should have read in the school, instead he went on to become the most dreaded and the most wanted dacoit of the Chambal Valley. It takes a life time to even attempt to achieve what Tomar had achieved while we was in the army, but it only took a couple of years to destroy everything. And this destruction of Paan Singh was ably supported by an irresponsible and a rather disengaged system.

Paan Singh sums it up nicely, no one bothered to mention when he won the medals at the national level, but he became the talk of the town as soon as he became a rebel. 

Honestly speaking, even after 6 decades of independence, I don’t really think it has changed much. I can relate to every incident that happened with Paan Singh even today.

  • Athletes still getting neglected, no dignity in their profession – Hockey is a prime example
  • The widows of army soliders who are killed in the line of duty know how hard it is to make ends meet. Ask them about respect, ask them about dignity or the complete lack of it
  • Patriotic, a word that was born during the struggle for independence and seemed to have buried right after independence.

Paan Singh was important when he was alive, unfortunately for the wrong lines, but he is still very important even after his death. His life is a case study that everyone must read, his personal triumph is an inspiration to anyone, his downfall is a reflection of the failed society , a failed system. Paan Singh was conveniently buried right after his death, quite literally.

Thanks to a gutsy director Tigmanshu Dhulia , who chose to make a biopic , with no drama baazi and thanks to Irfan Khan, the undisputed king of Khan’s, who played Paan Singh. No one could have done this better.

By no means, i’m patronizing what Paan Singh had done after he became the Dacoit from a rebel. After watching the whole movie, I understand why Paan Sing said what he said in the beginning of the movie “Beehad mein ‘Baaghi’ hote hain, ‘Dacait’ milte hain parliament mein!”.

Hope we see no more Paan Singh’s turning rebel’s and continue as the hero’es they are and they were.


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