Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari knows how to capture the texture of a middle-class Indian family. Panga, her new outing with Kangana Ranaut is a movie that works for us mostly due to this relatable backdrop element. The idea is to motivate women to strive for that second innings in life which most of them hesitate due to the responsibilities the society assigned to them.  While Panga does focus on that issue fully, the impact isn’t completely there due to the template nature of the movie.

Jaya Nigam was once the captain of the Indian Kabaddi Team. At the peak of her career, she got married to Prashant and her pregnancy post-marriage came in the way of her wish to play for the country post marriage. When her son Adi, who is now 7, found about this sacrifice of his mother he forced her to make a comeback at the age of 32. Jaya’s decision to take up that challenge and how that influences her personally and also the family is the story of Panga.

What will happen at the end of the movie is very clear for us from the beginning itself. Visualizing this seemingly tough task of a woman making her comeback to the Indian National team at the age of 32, that too from the bottom level is the challenge in a movie like Panga. And if you ask me whether the screenplay succeeded in that, I would say I was happy only to a certain extent. In the movie, when you see the main characters interact with each other inside the house, there is very real minimalism in the communication which makes the energy between the characters so relatable and affable. Ashwiny’s last movie Bareilly Ki Barfi also had that same quality of capturing the subtle quirks of middle-class families. But when it comes to the main story where Jaya decides to go for it, the events in the screenplay has that broad strokes feel. There wasn’t enough juice in the screenplay to make us understand the physical and mental strain through which Jaya was undergoing.

Kangana Ranaut once again shows how effortlessly she transforms for a role. There is a charm to Jaya and I loved the minimalism she shown in portraying those motherly concerns. In the vulnerable moments also she is aware of the strength of this character. Jassi Gill has this extremely innocent face and set of expressions that easily makes him that likable supportive husband with pretty much zero insecurity. Yagya Bhasin as Adi was earnest and fun to watch. The scene I really laughed in this movie was the one where Richa Chadda’s character Meenu explains why she decided to get married. Richa got the pitch of the character and was extremely hilarious. Neena Gupta sadly has no major impact here as the mother of Jaya.

When it comes to those family moments and capturing its emotional elements Ashwiny has a grip over the content. But when the cinematic twist in the tale happens she is struggling to keep things real. The serious part of the journey to make a comeback to the Indian Team is happening in the second half and the struggle in them was so less that it almost felt like the challenge here was only about Jaya saying yes to the idea of a comeback. The second half is your usual sports movie drill and just like any other sports movie, here also you will see a trick getting explained in the earlier portion of the movie which will get used in the climax. The visuals were fine and the music was also quite in sync with the tone of the movie.

Panga is a passable motivational drama. The light-hearted tone and the earnest performances are the highlights of this Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari movie that follows a very typical template we see in sports-based dramas. The backdrop of the story was unique and interesting, but the trajectory wasn’t that exciting or surprising.

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Final Thoughts

The light-hearted tone and the earnest performances are the highlights of this Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari movie that follows a very typical template we see in sports-based dramas.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.