In Life’s ‘Dangal’ Everyone Writes Their Own Destiny!
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Reviewer’s Thumb Mark
Dangal like many other sports movies that were made in the recent past talks about a particular sport and through it tells us about its protagonist’s journey from an ordinary to an extraordinary being. Here in the case of Dangal, it’s a sport biopic made on the well-known National Wrestling Champion Mahavir Singh Phogat and his two successful daughters Geeta and Babita who are known for their many successful feats in the arena of wrestling. The Phogat sisters have their story of triumphs – Geeta grabbed attention worldwide because she became the first Indian wrestler to win the Gold Medal in the category of 55 Kg and her younger sister Babita came into the limelight when she won the Silver Medal in 51 Kg category at 2010 Commonwealth Games.
What makes Dangal worth watching is not the achievements of the Phogat sisters mentored by their father but their journey to reach where they are today and how they became a reason for a huge paradigm shift for not only the family and village Balali, Bhiwani district, Haryana they belong but also to many in our country who belittled girls and their ability to be equally good like boys in any field they are in.
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Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat is not a misogynist as such but he has his own rigid and traditional patriarchal mindset that makes him long for a son who every time gets disappointed hearing the birth of a daughter. And in his pursuit of having a son he ends up fathering four daughters. What is noteworthy here is that he confides to his wife why he wants a son and not bearing him a son is not her mistake. He also conveys how much he loves all his daughters. The Haryanvi Tavu goes through a perceptional transformation when he comes to know that his daughters thrashed mercilessly two boys in the village for teasing them. That one incident rewrites the destiny of the two girls. Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat in Dangal makes us see the character and not the star in him. He is truly a perfectionist and it’s difficult to find words to mention his nose in detailing the character on screen through his acting.
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Dangal speaks volumes about the power of hard work, discipline, focus and practice to achieve what one desire in life. It is a beautiful inspirational story that portrays how people react to change and why it is important to stay determined on the road towards our goal even if it upsets and challenges the so-called status quo, traditions and rituals of our family and society. It also highlights the country’s not so surprising apathy towards sports and women. It is quite disheartening to find how our country and its governing bodies do so little for the betterment of sports and the players who represent our country at various sports events across the globe. We are repeatedly reminded about the apathy through films like Iqbal, Chak De, Mary Kom, M. S. Dhoni, Sultan and its likes.
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The youngsters in the movie are commendable be it Zaira Wasim as young Geeta, Suhani Bhatnagar as young Babita, Fatima Sana Shaikh as Geeta Phogat and Sanya Malhotra as Babita Kumari. Zaira and Suhani rules the first half of the movie by their awesome performances as the young Phogat sisters who curse the day when they thrashed the boys in the village that led them to the wrestling bout and rigorous training session conducted by their disciplinarian father. They both keep the first half humourous by their reluctance and half-heartedness to become what they don’t want to be. There are moments when we empathize with them for not having the choice of keeping long tresses, wear a bindi, dance in wedding celebrations and relish the street foods of their choice.
Fatima Sana Shaikh has come a long way from a child actor who won millions of heart as Bharti daughter of Kamal Hassan in Chachi 420 in 1997 to Dangal’s Gold Medalist Geeta Phogat. We have also seen her in ‘One 2 Ka 4’, ‘Bittu Boss’, ‘Akaash Vani’, and as Suman in the TV series ‘Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo’. She is so convincing in her wrestling bout that it becomes hard to believe that she is not a wrestler and just an actor. She has been chiseled out so well for the role, kudos to all who prepared her for this role and hats off to her commitment to do justice to the character on screen.
Sanya Malhotra as Babita is a promising actress. She stands out in her role. Her role as an understanding daughter and a lovable sister has been executed very well. Girish Kulkarni as Pramod Kadam the national coach who is at loggerheads with Mahavir plays his part nicely. Ritwik Sahore had made many sixes in his movie Ferrari Ki Saaari onscreen and now in Dangal as young Omkar the nephew of Mahavir Singh he completly bolds you by his superb acting. He is cute, smart and funny as the cousin of the Phogat sisters. The camaraderie of the brother and sisters are very refreshing and a pleasure to watch.
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Sakshi Tanwar as Daya Shobha Kaur needs special mention because of the way the home maker has been portrayed. She speaks in her silence. She is considerate but accepts change with certain riders. She understands the trauma of her husband and supports his desire to achieve what he wants to achieve through his daughters. She also respects and appreciate her daughters’ rights. She is a wife, mother and also a silent partisan in the whole process of transforming two girls into icons of national pride.
Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal will definitely be remembered as another well-made movie in the category of sport biopics and will also be noted for its subtle but impressive way of storytelling without much melodrama. Music and the lyrics of Dangal is definitely the cherry on the cake. Pritam is on high with his string of success for almost all the songs he has composed in recent past. He stays true to the theme of the film. Songs like Haanikarak Bapu, Dhakad, Gilehiriyaan are too good and lingers in your mind. Pritam this time has brought the year to an end with some awesome music raising the bar of audience’s expectations higher for him.
In short, Dangal is a must watch. Go with your family to celebrate Christmas and the onset of the New Year watching the rise of women power in the Dangal of a patriarchal society.
Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 4.5 /5
Cast: Aamir Khan (Mahavir Singh Phogat), Sakshi Tanwar (Daya Shobha Kaur), Fatima Sana Shaikh (Geeta Phogat), Zaira Wasim ( Young Geeta), Sanya Malhotra (Babita Kumari), Suhani Bhatnagar (Young Babita), Rohit Shankarwar, Vivan Bhatena (Guest Appearance), Aparshakhti Khurrana (Grown up nephew of Mahavir Singh (Phogat), Girish Kulkarni (National Coach Pramod Kadam), Ritwik Sahore (Young Omkar Nephew of Mahavir Singh Phogat)
Genre: Sports Drama
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Producers: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Written by: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehharotra
Story idea: Divya Rao
Based on: Mahavir Singh Phogat
Music by: Pritam
Cinematography: Setu Sriram
Edited by: Ballu Saluja
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures, Aamir Khan Productions, UTV Motion Pictures
Distributors: Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures
Release Date: 23rd December, 2016
Duration: 161 Minutes