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Film Review: “Tiger” (2018) ★★★


Which is the biggest win of all time? What can be considered as a big achievement? Some might say it’s receiving any type of award, becoming a parent, becoming a successful career person, earning tons of money or simply being someone who the rest of the world can only pray for becoming? All these are nothing in comparison when you face systematic corruption, racism, and stand against it, fight it, and even better, win over it.

“Tiger” is based on a truly fascinating and inspiring story of Pardeep Nagra, a man with temper, uncompromising religious belief, and someone who had enough courage to get himself into two absolutely different levels of fights – one in the boxing ring, another one in court with the American Boxing Commission to argue his right, same as every other boxer, to be in the ring whether he sports a beard or not. This legal battle will last lost enough, but not enough to break his passion for becoming the best version of himself he could be, and prove the point that no matter what the long standing tradition says, if that tradition denounces human rights and simple will, the same tradition can be overwritten.

When the film opens, we find Pardeep playing soccer when he loses his temper and gets a red card. With that, he loses his chance to get into Olympics. Shortly after, angry and desperate, he walks on the street when his attention was caught by a woman who just left the Wakefield Boxing Club. The name of that woman was Charlotte, whose role we are yet to find out in his legal fight with the American Boxing Commission. But that night was about finding himself, after entering that boxing club, meeting Brian Doyle, and getting into a fight. Then, the most important moment of his life, meeting Frank Donovan (Mickey Rourke), a former boxer and now coach who discovers in the Indian man the required skills to become the Punjab Tiger, a professional boxer by turning his uncontrollable temperament into a tool to be used in the boxing ring and in the court.

Co-written by Michael Pugliese (as Brian Doyle in “Tiger”) and Prem Singh, who also portrayed the title character, and impressive direction from Alister Grierson, “Tiger” turns into an excellent sport drama that tackles important issues such us the lack of understanding of different cultures in the Western World, how one man can change the system, and that nobody is powerless or above the law. It is true that Pardeep Nagra had to find himself in such a harsh situation where his beard or religion was questioned. But questions are always good when you have the right answer. Through this film, the viewer gets that sense of strength owned by Pardeep, to realize the importance of not giving up. And more importantly, any dream can come true, as long as the dream turns into action to realize that wishful thing.

In conclusion, “Tiger” is a solid sport drama about the necessity of fighting back, fight for the right and never capitulating when a challenge becomes impossible to overcome. Due to the solid performances delivered by Prem Singh as Pardeep Nagra, Janet Parrish as Charlotte, Pardeep’s lawyer and soon to become love interest, Mickey Rourke as Pardeep’s coach, and Frank Donovan. One final notable mention is Michael Pugliese as Brian Doyle, Pardeep’s boxing opponent, who in the end will deliver a Rocky style fight that will earn any viewer’s respect and admiration.

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