OSIAN’s Cinefan Film Fest: Irrfan and Tigmanshu Dhulia speak on ‘Paan Singh Tomar’

Ananya Bhattacharya

Delhi: The third day of the ten day long 12th OSIAN’s-Cinefan Film Festival, opened to a cloudy sky and pleasant breeze on Sunday. As people flocked from one auditorium to the other in the Siri Fort Complex, the ambience resembled that of a festival – in the true sense of the term. Film screenings and a galaxy of stars apart, what actually was the main attraction of the day was the NewStream Panel Discussion on the sleeper hit ‘Paan Singh Tomar’.

Eminent director Tigmanshu Dhulia, actor Irrfan Khan and scriptwriter Sanjay Chauhan spoke to a packed-to-its-brim theatre in two sessions, one moderated by film critic Ravi Kant Jha, and the other which consisted of a freewheeling chat with the audience.

The trio behind the masterpiece called ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ tackled a tremendously wide spectrum of questions on the film, ranging from the kind of language used in the film to the way Irrfan imbibed the persona of the athlete-turned-baaghi Paan Singh Tomar to the difficulties that the team faced all through its entire process, made for an interesting session.

The discussion began with the topic that is the crux of the film – steeplechase – and traversed through many terrains. Irrfan’s dedication as an actor, Tigmanshu Dhulia’s act of sticking to the cause, and Sanjay Chauhan’s writing rose to the fore time and again in the nearly two hour long interaction.

Some interesting questions were raised and found befitting answers from the ones at the other end of the microphone. One question, for example, asked about the complexities involved in chalking out the lemonchoos scene from the film. The director spoke about the many nuances of the way people interacted in such homes where sexuality is still considered a taboo and family values are upheld at the cost of everything else.

Irrfan Khan also spoke, at length, about the way of life in the places where ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ was extensively shot. Irrfan threw a considerable amount of light on the mannerisms of the places where if there are four sons in a family, one enters the army and one becomes a baaghi. Tigmanshu Dhulia enlightened the ones present about the way baaghis are respected and spoken of in the parts of the country where the film had been shot.

The session also bore witness to the numerous obstacles that the research team for ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ had to thwart. Beginning from utter scratch was what director Tigmanshu Dhulia had to do. After lying in cold storage for several days when the director had to knock on the doors of producers, ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ finally saw the light of the day. The brains behind the film described numerous problems that they dodged at every step leading to the phenomenon called ‘Paan Singh Tomar’.

The third day of OSIAN saw screenings of many films. The famous film by Arvind Iyer, ‘Drapchi’, had its World Premiere. Films such as ‘Death for Sale’, ‘Cosmic Sex’, ‘Sentimental Animal’, ‘The Water Landscape’ and several others were shown on day three of the film festival.

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