Director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari and Kangana Ranaut whip some lighthearted but deep story around the life of kabaddi player-turned-full-time-mother who struggles with societal pressure as she decides to pursue her dreams.
Jaya Nigam (played by Kangana Ranaut) was the captain of the National Kabaddi Team until she delivered her premature baby boy Adi (played by Yagya Bhasin). Seven years of juggling between the duties of motherhood, domesticity and draining job at the railways, Kangana puts aside her dreams of pursuing a career in the sport.
When Adi learns that his mom once used to be an ace Kabaddi player, he along with dad Prashant (played by Jassi Gill) persuade Kangana to start all over again. Being the doting mother that Jaya is, she decided to train for a month and quit later, so she could bring a smile on Adi’s face.
Too much surprise, Kangana finds it impossible to let go off her dream once again in life as she continues training hard to rejoin the national team. At this point, her world comes crumbling as her domestic duties, motherly responsibilities and societal norms take her into a guilt trip. Will she be able to gain all her lost glory and fame amongst a much younger and enthusiastic team? Will society let her be?
Director Ashwini Iyer has films like ‘Nil Batte Sannatta’ and Bareilly Ki Barfi’ where domestic women break the shackles of the societal stereotypes to re-establish themselves as the strong, independent and willful ladies. Similarly, ‘Panga‘ is a seamless journey of how football Jay rises from the death of her four-walled house to become a star Kabaddi player once again in life.
The women characters especially those of Richa Chaddha, Jaya’s friend and mother’s Kabaddi coach and Neena Gupta who plays Jaya’s mother are real and very-much relatable. The dialogues by Nitesh Tiwari are soaking in the local Bhopal dialect and come close to perfection as the film unfolds. They add a hint of sparkle and humour along the way as Jaya’s stress reaches a palpable pitch.
The refreshing screenplay, energetic star performances and a gripping narrative seal the deal for Kangana’s ‘Panga’. Unlike her usual feisty self, she is seen here in a de-glam avatar of a real woman who is at a constant battle with herself. The sports-drama doesn’t sacrifice the rhytm of the narrative for the sake of injecting some masala in the story. We are fully sold on this one!