Kangana Ranaut’s kohl-rimmed sincerity is always welcome.
Her character in Panga, bereft of politics, both personal and otherwise, is at the cusp of the vulnerable and the inspired. It is a throwback to her Queen (2014) performance; Europe here is Kabaddi, a failed marriage proposal here is a dreary railway job. Self-affirmed joy lies at the end of this odyssey.
The premise, of a yesteryear sportswoman making her comeback, is formulaic. What makes it distinctive are the conflicts and the quirks. Here, the conflict seems internal as opposed to familial (though Neena Gupta, playing her mother disapproves, but it is mostly for shits-and-giggles). The quirks are plenty, but folded into her support system- a husband (Jassi Gill) whose ass needs a hot-water bag after a sleepless night of pounding (not the kind you are thinking), a supportive and mature child (Hindi cinema’s Rasakutty, perhaps), and a mentor/friend figure (Richa Chaddha who understands when she says Phir se panga lena hai).
Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, written by Nitesh Tiwari, and produced by Fox Star Studios, Panga releases on January 24, 2020.