The sports biopic ‘Dangal,’ starring Aamir Khan, follows the life of amateur wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat from the northern Indian state of Haryana, who gave up wrestling due to financial difficulties but went on to train his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari to become world-class wrestlers. Nitesh Tiwari directs the film, which stars Khan as Mahavir.
Anyone who hasn’t seen many Bollywood films may have preconceived notions about Indian films, with their usual song and dance routines. However, new-age filmmakers have begun to recognize the power of cinema and, as a result, are exploring new subjects that not only appeal to domestic audiences but also to the international market. Dangal is one of the few films that has everything that has universal appeal, despite the fact that some elements are more rooted in Indian culture and tradition.
Watch ‘Dangal’ Movie Trailer
Every other filmmaker finds it difficult to choose such a difficult subject line. Even though many of us in India are well aware of Geeta’s gold medal (55kg) at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where Babita won silver (in 51kg), we are unaware of their struggle. This is a story that only an actor/producer like Aamir Khan can rely on.
‘Dangal’ (English: Wrestling competition) depicts the struggle of the Phogat family, particularly the father, who had to battle the status quo of a typical north Indian society in which girls are not allowed to wrestle. The film depicts Mahavir Phogat’s tenacity, sincerity, and dream of turning his daughters into medal-winning wrestlers. The characters are real, grounded, and focused, as are the actors, who have done their roles justice with artistry and compelling performances.
Aamir Khan is rightfully described as a perfectionist who is willing to go the extra mile in terms of research and physical transformations to play his role. The 51-year-old actor has once again proven his mettle by believing in the power of stories and deviating from Bollywood’s tried and tested masala film formulae.
While the story and Aamir’s performance are important, we should also applaud the screenplay and the performances of his co-stars, including Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar as young Geeta and Babita, and Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra as adult Geeta and Babita, as well as TV actress Sakshi Tanwar as Mahavir’s wife.
After discussing the performance and the story, the film made its point with its feminist statement, which pushed both boys and girls into an equal sphere. Consider the Khap-ridden state of Haryana, where the boy-girl ratio is still a source of concern, as well as the cases of female infanticide and honor killings. In the film ‘Dangal,’ Phogat shows his girls how to wrestle under adverse conditions, while also inspiring others to come out of such darkness.
‘Dangal’ was released in the United States on December 21, 2016, two days before it was released worldwide.