Pailwaan (Eng: Wrestler) is a 2019 Indian Kannada-language sports action film written and directed by S. Krishna. The film is produced by Swapna Krishna under the banner RRR Motion Pictures and bankrolled by Zee Studios. It stars Sudeep, Sunil Shetty and Aakanksha Singh in the lead roles, while Kabir Duhan Singh, Sushant Singh, Avinash, and Sharath Lohitashwa play supporting roles. Pailwan marks Sunil Shetty’s debut in Kannada cinema. The score and soundtrack of the film was composed by Arjun Janya. The film follows the journey of an orphan who goes on to become a wrestler and a boxer while getting into brawls with those who disrupt his personal life.
Tony Sebastian (Kabir Duhan Singh) is a renowned boxer who often resorts to dirty tactics for winning the matches. He kills his opponent towards the end of one such match, following which his coach, Vijayendra (Sharath Lohitashwa), tries to make him understand but sets out to find another student as his replacement when Tony does not listen.
Vijayendra arrives at the house of a former wrestler named Sarkar (Suniel Shetty) living in Gajendragarh and learns the story of a young orphan named Krishna whom Sarkar witnessed fighting off a group of boys in exchange for helping other kids get food. This impressed Sarkar, who then adopted Krishna and turned him into a wrestler, Kichcha (Sudeep), who emerged victorious in every wrestling competition that he participated in. However, a goon mocked Sarkar during the match, causing Kichcha to fight him and his goons in a temple where Rukmini (Aakanksha Singh) noticed him. They met and fell in love, despite Kichcha’s vow not to fall in love until he became a national champion.
The goon whom Kichcha had beaten up turned out to be a henchman of Raja Rana Pratap Singh (Sushant Singh), an oppressive ruler of Ranasthalipura who had to be defeated in a wrestling match if Kichcha wanted to fulfill his father’s dream. In the meanwhile, Rukmini’s father (Avinash) opposed their marriage upon thinking Kichcha was after her wealth. Rukmini’s father reported Kichcha to Sarkar, who indirectly instructed him to focus only on wrestling. With Rukmini’s marriage and his wrestling match with Rana happening on the same day, Kichcha first fought off and defeated Rana. He then proceeded to marry Rukmini against her father’s wishes. Kiccha also insults Sarkar, who ordered Kichcha to leave the house along with his wife, along with the wrestling tactics that he has been taught.
Years pass by, and Kichcha is living with his wife and daughter (Sharvari) peacefully, often doing small jobs to make a living. On the other hand, Rana is still traumatized by the defeat and pays visits at Kichcha’s house, inviting him for another match. However, despite the threats, Kichcha peacefully declines. On the other hand, Vijayendra ends up locating Kichcha and decides to meet him. Rukmini’s ailing father meets Sarkar and tells him that Kichcha was not after his daughter’s wealth, and that he brought her and their daughter at the hospital to meet him, thus clearing all the trouble in their relationship. However, Rana kidnaps Kichcha’s daughter, and his goons beat up Kichcha when he refuses to wrestle. Seeing that he has kept his promise of not wrestling, Sarkar arrives and fights some of the goons, leaving the rest and Rana himself to be beaten up by an injured Kichcha. Rana is arrested by the police, and Kichcha reunites with Sarkar.
Having seen Kichcha’s fighting skills, Vijayendra asks him to train for a boxing match. Kichcha tells Sarkar that with the prize money, he wants to help the poor but talented children who are unable to fulfill their dreams due to poverty. Sarkar and Vijayendra start training Kichcha, and on the day of the match, Kichcha is initially unable to fight properly and at times ends up using wrestling techniques that are not permitted as per the rules. However, he soon starts defeating his opponents one by one, resulting in a match with Tony where the latter fights dirty and injures Kichcha using illegal moves, bringing him in a situation where low eyesight could result in disqualification. However, the doctor helps Kichcha with the vision test, and the fight resumes. Despite being injured badly, Kichcha manages to defeat Tony. After the match, Tony receives a cookie from Vijayendra’s bakery as the response to a joke he had cracked earlier, and Kichcha now sets out to fulfill Sarkar’s dream by entering a wrestling match.
Directed by S. Krishna
Produced by Swapna Krishna
Screenplay by Krishna, D.S. Kannan & Madhoo
Starring Sudeep, Suniel Shetty, Aakanksha Singh, Kabir Duhan Singh, Sushant Singh, Avinash, Sharath Lohitashwa
Music by Arjun Janya
Cinematography Karunakara A.
Edited by Ruben
Production Zee Studios & RRR Motion Pictures Production
Distributed by KRG Studios
Release date 12 September 2019
Running time 166 minutes
Language Kannada / Tamil