“What could I’ve done and what am I doing?” This is thought which encourages Jaya Nigam (Kangana Ranaut) to make a comeback at the age of 34. She had been a captain for India National Women Kabaddi Team but life holds her back with the burden of being a mother.
She’s living a routine life in Bhopal, working with Railways until one day her ahead-of-his-age son Aditya (Yagya Bhasin) asks her, “Isn’t a comeback possible at the age of 34?” She works hard to come back on the track and make a comeback in the National Team once again. Where does this path take her and her family is what the story is all about.
Nikhil Mehrohtra and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s story is smartly blended with slice-of-life moments and real-life drama. Ashwiny manages to take the sports angle of the film and amalgamates it with the dramatic portions to increase the relatable factor of the film. The writing keeps you intrigued and the portions of the sport keep you on the edge of your seat. The second half drags the pace and that’s where lies the weak points of the film.
Kangana Ranaut is at her natural best. We’ve seen some of these shades in Queen but here she just goes all out and be like every other mother we’ve known. Jassie Gill delivers a charming performance not only because of his smile but also because of the alluring character he gets. Yagya Bhasin leads the show with his comic timing and he’s brilliant for someone at his age. Neena Gupta steals the frames she’s in and we just wished to see more of her.
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari levels up her game from Bareilly Ki Barfi and infuses the drama with more reality. She keeps you interested in the script which helps to stay connected with the characters in it. There are some dull moments but they’re very few to avoid.
Music is another weak link of the film as not a single song clicks. Jugnu has a different ring to it but it fades too fast too soon. Mohan Kanan’s Wahi Hai Raste suffers from weak lyrics and should’ve been a game-changer for the film. Background score is smartly orchestrated and that delves well the narrative.
Jay I. Patel’s camera captures the rawness of Bhopal very well. It takes you in and out of the row-houses and also succeeds in capturing the essence of Kabaddi matches. Ballu Saluja’s editing is lazy as the movie should’ve been crispier.
Overall, Panga manages to narrate an important message packaged with wholesome entertainment. Kangana Ranaut retains her natural charm making this film memorable.