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Paan Singh Tomar – A Soldier, An Athlete, A Bandit

I had not heard of PST ever, until the day Tigmanshu Dhulia announced that he would be making a movie on him.

Initially I thought it was some fictitious character coz the name sounded quite strange. but i was in for a big surprise when i did a bit of reserach on PST and realised that Tigmanshu was getting ready to shoot a biopic on a real life character.

PST is quite an enigma, his story is definitely worth telling. a man who served the army in the ‘Rajputana Rifles’, took to the tracks and created national records in steeplechase, picked up arms and became a bandit and finally was shot dead by police in an encounter. What a fascinating tale to tell!

In 1958 National Games held in Cuttack, he timed 9mins & 12.4 sec in the steeplechase event and created a national record. Later, in 1964 Open Meet he broke his own record at the Karnail Singh stadium, Delhi with a timing of 9mins & 4 sec.

In between the two records, in 1962 during the India-Germany meet he won the gold medal.

So, what made hin take up the gun? 1960’s was a difficult phase for india. there was the impact of 2 wars and of course the widespread poverty and slow-rate of development. maybe such social issues and class barrier, impoverished demography, and a non-paying sports field and army-life may have pushed him into desperation. He became a bandit!

And he was finally put to rest in a police encounter. a sad end to a life which had seen more glories and deserved much more than he got.

It will be difficult for Tigmanshu to translate this complex story on screen because very less is known abt PST. There is not much info available, no photographs or videos of his athletic skills etc. I believe his coaches and close friends are still there to recount the tale.

What I have stated above as a disadvantage can turn into advantage because it gives Tigmanshu the freedom to mould the character any-which-way since little is known about him. And with Irfan Khan playing the lead, I am sure he will do justice to the character. All the best to the team of PST. Hope to see this character come alive on screen, pretty soon.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2009 in bollywood, general

 

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