Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tigmanshu Dhulia and enacted by a whole cast of fresh and very talented players

Jalsa , Mumbai             March 3 , 2012                       Sat  11 : 08 PM


A fulfilling day !

Saw an inspiring film, " Paan Singh Tomar " directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and enacted by a whole cast of fresh and very talented players, led by that incredible performer Irrfan. Such restraint in direction and performance, but such an impression on the nature of the subject. A biopic true to life and detail. A wonderful tribute to the many unsung sports heroes of the nation, who contribute so much for the Motherland both within and and on International platforms, yet are left in penury to pass away, unnoticed, uncared for. But this is a true story, of a man from Madhya Pradesh, from most humble environs, who finds it his duty to serve his country by fighting for it, by joining the armed forces, who excels in sports, in athletics. But ungainly circumstances force him to become an outlaw, a word he detests .. a 'baghi'  he says, one that revolts not an outlaw, because the system dishonors his pride and abuses his domesticity.

The tribute to the unsung hero, lists various prominent sportsmen who brought glory on International platforms for the country, but died penniless. Some even having to sell off their gold medal to survive. Such a moving tale.

And the first thought that comes to mind is to lend support to those that find themselves in such condition. To plead with the system to show some compassion and respect for the glory they brought for us, so we could stick our chests out in pride and look after them in their hour of need instead of leaving them in dire straits to perish without any honor.

And I wonder, often in dismay, when I read and hear criticism leveled at our cricket heroes, for partaking in events that remunerate them through individual commerce. I cringe when I read that our hockey international teams are made to accomodate themselves at International fora, in conditions that are so degrading and wretched. The IPL has brought our cricketers, some amount of wealth through their commercial deals, a hope for the rainy day, something to fall back on when age and lack of performance, a common phenomena, shall prevent their participation. Sportsmen have a limited active life, much like film artists, and is it really such a wrong to allow them to secure themselves while they thrive in their best moments. Hockey is being designed on similar grounds now, albeit in limitation, through the initiation of the WSH, and I wish the endeavor all success, not just in the revival of the sport, but in giving a opportunity for the discovery of fresh talent, and for the others to secure a future. One of our young national team players, who has shown remarkable talent and capability, comes from a slum in Dharavi. And what a story he is scripting for himself. May there be many more such as him and may he be given the opportunity to excel and live in better conditions. Let us not deflate their endeavors and their inherent talent by denying them what they deserve in abundance. One wins and loses in sport. It is a reality which no one can keep away from, even when you are the best. But to put blame on them for their poor performance because of their commercial gains, is not entirely fair. They could well lose their commerce too if they under performed. Film artists lose their value when the film fails and gain when it succeeds. The brand endorsements dry up if you do not sell well at the turnstiles. The very element that is chosen as the cause and reason for failure for sportsmen, could also be the reason for the much needed incentive. Let them earn their position, but bringing the earning to be the cause for their failure I would imagine to be somewhat harsh.

The ranking of a journalist or an anchor or a Tv station, similarly would depend on the credibility it creates in the minds of its audience. An audience that brings in the eye balls for its TRP's, that bring in the commercial breaks, that bring in the funds and the commerce for a programme to be successful, for the business to exist and run to profit. Credibility then relates to the commerce. Would one then relate commerce and credibility in media, to the credibility and commerce of a sportsmen, or not ?? Its a question, not a statement !! If commerce is being sought to be an incentive for performance, is there grave error being committed ?? Darn, they changed the rules of the game of tennis to accomodate commercial breaks for television. The court change overs when players took rest was never there earlier. But the commerce of television and its subsequent value for the tournament in terms of funding the event, of payments to winners in cash, drove them to it. Its the same in Football and in the NBA and Ice Hockey and Baseball and American Football. Players get bought and change teams. Coaches get sacked and go elsewhere when they fail to perform. Yet when the national team is chosen, they all come together for the country and when they fail do we blame the commerce that they ride on in private leagues ?? Its a question. Not a statement !!

The film " Paan Singh Tomar " throws many such thoughts amidst us. At least to me. And I do not know whether the makers had this in mind as well. I am certain that they must have given it a thought. But let us assume that they did not. If it has aroused one single individual, it is enough of a beginning.


Good night and god bless ..

Amitabh Bachchan

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