Aamir Khan creates magic once again with his X-mas release ‘Dangal’. Director Nitesh Tiwary whips up a near-flawless film with a racy narrative, many spectacularly choreographed wrestling matches especially with the young girls, superbly written natural dialogues, excellent music merging with the script and above all magnificent performances from the entire cast- all of which make the viewing experience unbelievably enjoyable!
Dangal is a truly fascinating and inspiring account of the real-life journey of a father from a small village in Haryana who fulfilled his passionate dream of making his daughters win a Gold medal for India in wrestling. The story is based on the real-life story of Mahavir Phogat, a wrestler in Haryana and his unwavering focus to train his daughters Gita Kumari Phogat and Babita Kumari Phogat. While Geeta became the first ever Indian woman to clinch the Gold medal for India in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the first-ever Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games, Babita went on to win the Gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The fact that the audience knows the end result of the film does not take away even for a minute the thrill of being part of their unbelievable journey. At 2 hours and 41 minutes, the engaging ride is full of superbly written and intelligently directed sequences and includes interesting twists and nail-biting wrestling sequences.
The film also carries several important messages as it touches upon other issues as well. Our country’s meaningless obsession for wanting a male child is brought out poignantly. According to 2011 census, Haryana is said to have the worst male to female ratio (1000:879) which is really pathetic and even today a girl-child is considered a burden and fit for doing only housework. She is not allowed to have dreams of her own. For Mahavir Phogat to have trained his daughters amidst this backdrop and mind-set and that too in the male-dominated sport of wrestling is indeed commendable and nothing short of a miracle.
It is a known fact that opting for a career in sports in our country means embarking on a path full of obstacles as the country’s attitude towards sportspersons and the facilities, training and encouragement provided are not really inspiring and the financial struggle can really kill many a talent. This aspect is also woven beautifully into the script to emphasize the remarkable achievement of Mahavir and his daughters.
Finally the importance of determination, passion, relentless pursuit and unwavering focus towards our goal for the things we want in life is the motivational message entwined beautifully in the story of the film. After all, this is applicable for everything in life and not just restricted to sports…
Aamir Khan has given a brilliant performance and looks and lives the role of Mahavir Phogat. He is the life of the film and induces the necessary gravitas required to get us hooked on to his life from the first scene. To get into the skin of the role and to look the ‘old father figure’, Aamir Khan took on the challenge of adding around 25 kilos of weight and managed to lose it as well for the scenes which show him as a young wrestler. It was a welcome change seeing him in such a mature role.
It was great to see a role befitting the dignity and status of our very talented TV star Sakshi Tanwar in the role of Mahavir Phogat’s wife. She enacts the role with effortless ease and imparts the right emotions to her role. Though under-stated, the mother’s support in shaping the career of her daughters is incredible.
But the surprise elements of the film are the two young girls (Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar) as well as the older girls (Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra) who play the role of the ‘Phogat sisters’. It is said that thousands of girls were auditioned before the final choice was made and what a find they have been! The casting director as well as the film’s director should get full marks for the perfect choice for without these fantastic performers, the film would have lost much of its sheen. The rest of the cast also does a superb job.
Music by Pritam and lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya are very apt for the situations in the film. The adrenaline-pumping title track by Daler Mehndi is brilliant and induces the perfect emotions of a fighting spirit and patriotism. The song where the girls think their father is a villain to be training them like this is hilarious. In fact, in the entire film, the relationship between the father and the daughters is brought out very nicely. Scenes are very natural giving a lot of scope to bring out the acting prowess of the actors.
Coming at the fag-end of the year Aamir Khan has come up with the best film of 2016! A film which can be seen with the family…a film with lots of messages…a film which is both entertaining and inspiring…a film on girls just at a time when the whole nation is talking about saving the girl child-‘Beti Bachao’…a film not to be missed…