Verdict: A gentle yet powerful ode to motherhood and second chances.
Kangana Ranaut has relentlessly stepped into the shoes of bold female characters with films like Queen, Tanu Weds Manu, Simran, Thalaivi, and Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi under her belt. With this new release directed by powerhouse Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, she is set to take Panga in Bollywood once again.
What’s Panga About:
Railway employee Jaya Nigam (Kangana Ranaut) is the wife of loving husband Prashant Srivastava (Jassie Gill) and the mother of their seven-year-old son Adi (Yagya Bhasin). However, she is much more than that. A former captain of the Indian kabaddi team, she was known as the best raider and has trophies and international tournaments to her credit. Although she is settled in her current job as a railway ticket seller and doting mom-cum-wife in Bhopal, she continues to dream of her glory days. Those dreams eventually rekindle her fiery passion for the sports as she reconnects with her old friend and kabaddi mate Meenu (Richa Chadha). Jaya soon begins training for the sport once again with the encouragement of her persuasive son Adi. As she gets back on track, she must encounter all the emotions a mother may experience when she decides to chase her dreams. As her husband takes on his share of parenting duties, Jaya works hard to turn her hopes of representing India once again into reality.
Panga is a fitting representation of why director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari and actress Kangana Ranaut are brilliant at their craft. Ashwini paints us an intricate picture of a woman returning to the dreams that she abandoned for motherhood. The film presents Jaya’s domesticated life in Bhopal with such authenticity that it is something every mother will relate to and everyone else will recognize. We get to peek inside the daily life of Jaya’s tight-knit family and then witness how her husband Prashant and their son Adi supportively adapt to change once Jaya decides to claim her second chance. Jaya is a layered and extremely heartfelt character and Kangana’s performance in the role only gets more confident as the film progresses. It’s difficult to outshine that but Jassie Gill as Prashant is tender and genuine. Prashant is the kind of man any woman would want to marry as he remains a supportive husband and father despite his insecurities and doubts. The young Yagya Bhasin as Adi is an outright treat. The witty and wise son gets all the best dialogues and Yagna delivers them with absolute conviction. Jaya’s mother played by Neena Gupta is also sincere as she remains protective and defensive but swells with pride once she sees her daughter living her best life. Richa Chadha rounds out Jaya’s support system with tough love as the pragmatic Meenu.
Panga ends with Jaya as a winner but it’s not just in her sport. It is heartwarming to see the mother of a seven-year-old accomplish her career dreams with Meenu’s tough love, Prashant’s enviable support, Adi’s undying encouragement, and her own mother’s care.
What Could’ve Been Better:
If you’re expecting thrills and action considering this is a sports film, it does not deliver in that aspect. You’ll be cheering with excitement nonetheless. Panga is not about kabaddi itself but about a mother finding the right moves and surpassing obstacles to win for her passion and her family.
Why You Should Watch:
Featuring Kangana Ranaut doing what she does best, Panga puts the strength of motherhood and the sportswoman spirit on full display. As you watch this mother accomplish her lifelong passion backed by her loved ones, you’ll find yourself appreciating your own support system.
Watch what audiences had to say about Panga below.