Director Tigmanshu Dhulia says that he has portrayed Tomar as a rebel in the film Paan Singh Tomar, which is based on the real life of the sportsman-turned-dacoit from Chambal. Tomar was a national steeplechase champion for seven years, but he quit the sport and the army to become a 'Bandit King' of the Chambal Valley.
Tigmanshu Dhulia says that he first learned about Tomar while working on the sets of Shekhar Kapur's Bandit Queen in Chambal. Intrigued that Tomar was largely forgotten despite holding several records, he resolved to make a film about his life. Dhulia researched the film's background for two years.
The director visited Tomar's native village in Bhind and interviewed his surviving family members. Talking to the PTI, Tigmanshu Dhulia said, "As a director, for me Tomar was not a dacoit but a rebel. He is someone who had struggled a lot in his life."
However, Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan, who is essaying the role of the titular character, said it was a challenge to play the character of a dacoit. "It was a challenge for me to play Tomar. His life was full of uncertainty and confusion. I tried to portray him as he actually was in order to do justice to the role," Irrfan said. The film, releasing on March 2, also features Mahie Gill.