New Delhi: Director Tigmanshu Dhulia, whose forthcoming `Paan Singh Tomar` is based on the real life of the sportsman-turned-dacoit from Chambal, says he has portrayed Tomar as a rebel in the film.
Tomar, a national steeplechase champion for seven straight years, quit the sport and the army to become a `Bandit King` of the Chambal Valley.
"As a director, for me Tomar was not a dacoit but a rebel. He is someone who had struggled a lot in his life," Dhulia said.
The director also said that he first learned about Tomar while working on the sets of Shekhar Kapur`s `Bandit Queen` in Chambal.
Intrigued that Tomar was largely forgotten despite holding several records, he resolved to make a film about his life.
Dhulia researched the film`s background for two years, interviewing Tomar`s surviving family members and visiting his native village in Bhind.
Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan, who is essaying the role of the titular character, said it was a challenge to play the character of a dacoit.
"It was a challenge for me to play Tomar. His life was full of uncertainty and confusion. I tried to portray him as he actually was in order to do justice to the role," Irrfan said.
The film, releasing on March 2, also features Mahie Gill.