Dangal (means a Wrestling Competition), a biopic on Phogat Sisters Geeta and Babita and their father Mahavir Singh Phogat, by Nitesh Tiwari is a triumph over odds. Geeta made history by being the first Indian female wrestler to win the Gold medal (55kg) and Babita won Silver medal (51 Kg) in 2010 Commonwealth games. Offlate, Bollywood has certainly made a few very good sports biopics viz. Chak de, Bhag Milkha Bhag, Mary Kom, M.S. Dhoni etc. Most of them have done justice to the players and their lives. It is true that films about real heroes can become predictable. The story-telling needs to be authentic too without misconstruing the essence. And that is where Dangal scores like anything. It is unadulterated and remains true to the core.
Dangal focuses on a father and his perseverance, persistence and eccentricities to fulfill his dream of fetching gold for the country through daughters. Under the umbrella of this main plot, the film tries to create awareness about so many pertinent issues. The film not only talks about the fight which one has to do in the real Dangal but also about the fight which one has to do against the mindset of people viz. certain games and sports defined as a taboo for girls by the society, the thought that girls are born just to get married, raise children and do household chores etc. The fight is also against the scarcity of resources, the lack of infrastructure support for the sports people especially in sports like wrestling. One can instantly connect with the father who has deleted ‘impossible’ from his dictionary. One can also very well connect with the girls who just want to enjoy the bliss of being children and dressing up like girls, who find their father to be overbearing, and their transformation to achieve what their father dreamt for them. The end is indeed predictable since we all know about Phogat sisters and their achievements but Dangal brings to us their journey which is simply incredible, inspiring and awesome. The best part of the film is its tone which is kept very much real, authentic and light. There are moments of humour too.
Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) is a National Level Wrestling Champion who had to make a choice in his life and leave wrestling. But his passion and love for the sport never died. He used to enjoy all the fights in the local Dangal and always felt nostalgic of his wrestling days looking at the medals and certificates he had won. He is hopeful of living his dream through his yet-to-be-born son. He gets disappointed every time when his wife Daya Shobha Kaur (Sakshi Tanwar) delivers a baby girl instead of a boy. He is definitely unlike those fathers who disown their girl children. Mahavir loved his girls but was just disillusioned about how to fulfill his dream of fetching gold for the country without having a son. But the day he realizes that his girls Geeta (Zaira Wasim -young Geeta), and Babita (Suhani Bhatnagar -Young Babita), have the potential to be wrestlers, he decides to go against the societal norms, fights all odds to train his girls. This is where the incredible journey of Phogat sisters begins.
Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat is terrific. It is one of his best performances, which would be remembered forever, be it in terms of his physical transformation, his dictatorial approach with girls, his determination, never-to-quit attitude, being a possibilist as a path-finder; he excels in every frame.
Sakshi as Mahavir’s wife Daya Shobha Kaur has given such a powerful and natural performance. She has fewer dialogues, but she speaks through her eyes and facial expressions. She plays the perfect bridge between her unyielding husband and daughters.
Phogat sisters are real discoveries be it the younger versions of Geeta and Babita (Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar) or their grown-up versions (Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra). They are so much convincing. Zaira and Suhani are adorable. Fatima and Sanya are also very good. They have played their roles with so much of conviction.
Another character which needs special mention is that of Omkar, nephew of Mahavir Singh Phogat. Ritwik Sahore (Ferrari Ki Sawari fame) has played his role very well. Aparshakti Khurrana (brother of Ayushman Khurana) plays the role of grown-up nephew, he has less screen time, but he has made his presence felt. He narrates the story in typical Haryanvi accent. His scenes generate humour. Aparshakti is a promising actor.
Girish Kulkarni as coach Pramod in National Sports Academy has done justice to his role.
The songs go with the flow of the film. Pritam’s music clubbed with lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya is great. The lyrics are in absolute sync with the story.
Dangal would certainly touch your hearts. I failed miserably in letting the tears come out of my eyes at many occasions, be it father-daughter relationship, their triumph over all odds, attitude to remain positive even amidst challenges. Felt like jumping out of chair and cheer their every victory on and off Dangal. Got goosebumps when the National Anthem was played along with the tricolor in the air. Many scenes have stayed with me.
Dangal, a sports biopic, is a powerful, inspirational and incredible story of women empowerment. It not only talks about the fight Mahavir Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita had to do in the real Dangal but also about the fight which they had to do against the mindset of the people, patriarchic society, scarcity of resources etc. A must watch film.
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent)
Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page
Cast: Aamir Khan (Mahavir Singh Phogat), Sakshi Tanwar (Daya Shobha Kaur, wife of Mahavir Singh Phogat), Fatima Sana Shaikh (Geeta Phogat, daughter of Mahavir Singh Phogat), Zaira Wasim (young Geeta), Sanya Malhotra (Babita Kumari, daughter of Mahavir Singh Phogat), Suhani Bhatnagar (Young Babita), Ritwik Sahore (Omkar, young nephew of Mahavir Singh Phogat), Aparshakti Khurrana (Older Omkar), Girish Kulkarni (Coach Pramod), Vivan Bhatena (Guest Appearance)
Direction: Nitesh Tiwari
Produced by: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Written by: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Meharotra
Cinematography: Sethu Sriram
Edited by: Ballu Saluja
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, Aamir Khan Productions, UTV Motion Pictures
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures
Release Date: 23rd December, 2016
Duration: 161 minutes