No matter how long you have resided in a country, as a non-native, you will always be looked upon as an outsider, an immigrant. The movie “Tiger” is inspired by the true story of Pardeep Singh Nagra, a practicing Sikh man who was banned from the sport of boxing due to his religious beliefs. Being an immigrant comes with its own set of discriminations, but belonging to a religion like Sikhism is linked with a new level of hate. Sikhism’s mandate to follow certain physical attributes like maintaining a beard and wearing a turban often leads to gross misinterpretations of the peaceful religion.
Pardeep Nagra, played by Prem Singh, is a soccer player who lost his place in the Olympic team due to his anger issues. Under constant scrutiny and attack because of his faith, Nagra is a Sikh who keeps to the traditions with a turban and beard. A chance encounter with Charlotte, played by Janel Parrish, leads Nagra to the Wakefield Boxing Club. Here he meets Frank Donovan (Mickey Rourke) who instantly zeros in on his anger to develop him as a fighter. But Nagra’s presence agitates Brian Boyle (Michael Pugliese) the popular middleweight champion, finally leaving the gym as competition escalates between the two.
But the road to success for Nagra goes way beyond the boxing ring. The American Boxing Commission’s (ABC) regulations stipulated that all amateur boxers must be cleanly shaven for health reasons. But Nagra refuses as it is fundamental to his faith. Charlotte, as a lawyer, represents his case in the court.
As the fight to claim his space in the boxing ring begins, he is nicknamed the Punjab Tiger, but making a religious statement is not his aim. The conflict of either giving up his religious beliefs to fight and the fights to keep his religious beliefs intact and lose his spot in the ring will resonate with many.
In the face of discriminations that immigrants face on a daily basis—this story may be too real for many. “Tiger” goes on to reflect that with support and belief each battle can be won. The movie shows how Nagra’s battle is no longer about him alone. The story goes beyond human rights and religious persecution. While many may believe that talent always prevails, the adversity that a person may have to go through, not to prove his talent but his right to pursue it, is the crux of this movie.
Each actor’s performance is genuine and relatable. The cast and crew of this movie agree that this is a story that needed to be told. The heartfelt story with such a powerful message in this divisive time is a movie that everyone definitely needs to watch.
Check out the trailer here: