If you think that it was a rather ..pffft year for Bollywood, here comes Mr. Perfectionist a.k.a Aamir Khan with his Christmas release: DANGAL.
Dangal means to wrestle or refers to a wrestling competition in the literal sense. It refers to a fierce fight, in general. And well, the movie is quite the same! It’s a journey, a fight in itself ; a journey of how it takes blood and sweat to emerge as a champion!
A journey through the world of wrestling, a journey of the unique father-daughter relationship, a journey of a father’s undying determination to make his daughters achieve greater heights, a journey of a hapless mother, trying to strike a balance between an unyielding father and daughters who just want to live like ordinary girls a little longer.
And finally, a journey of two little girls growing and coming out victorious in the end.
Aamir Khan is playing the role of a real life hero : Mahavir Singh Phogat. The movie is more like a biopic on the entire Phogat family. The roles of young Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat are played by Zaira Wasim and Suahni Bhatanagar respectively.
Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra take over in the second half y playing the Phogat sisters. Sakshi Tanwar, lives up to her daily soap acting skills and emotes really well as a mother of the girls, despite less screen time and dialogues.
The girls playing young Geeta and Babita are phenomenal! In fact, they’re better than the older girls when it comes to the wrestling sequences. They maintain that innocent charm and yet come out all guns blazing in the scenes with wrestling!
The first half of the movie is rather brilliant. Right from scene 1, Dangal romances with wrestling! The wrestling sequences are well-shot and the practice sessions seem very realistic! Unlike other movies made in this genré, Dangal has given importance to proper training and research.
Kripa Shankar Bishnoi, a coach with the Indian women’s wrestling team trained Aamir Khan and the entire crew for the wrestling sequences. And this is why the wrestling scenes look raw and real!
And well, Aparshakti Khurrana as well as Vivan Bhatena deserve special mentions for playing Omkar and having that perfect comic timing! Omkar, the “close cousin” of Phogat sisters, is also the one who narrates the entire story!
Lastly, Girish Kulkarni, the so called “villain” of the movie has acted well but I don’t understand the sole point of his role in the movie. Or maybe I do? Bollywood masala, you know?
Nitish Kumar, the director has lived up to his name of getting amazing work done by child actors and introducing a unique style of story telling!
There are definitely a lot of WUHUU points in the movie. Right from scene 1 to the end, the wrestling sequences. The way Dangal makes the audience aware about the rules and the sport of wrestling is thoroughly engaging. Stellar performances by Aamir Khan himself, all the girls playing Phogat sisters, Sakshi Tanwar, Aparshakti Khurrana and Girish Kulkarni.
Hilarious narrative in that typical Haryanvi accent and amazing comic timing, the emotional turmoil which has been well brought out by some great acting on a simple script and that phone call between Mahavir Singh Phogat aka Aamir and Geeta Phogat aka Fatima depicts the father-daughter relationship really well. It is arguably the best scene from the movie.
The music enhances the narrative and has this really earthy feel to it. The lyrics by Amitabh and music by Pritam is beautiful. “Dhakkad”, “Gilheriyaan”, “Dangal”, all the tracks are here to stay!
Dangal is winning hearts because of it’s simple story telling and the way it has made a sport like wrestling look so glorious!
The only meh for me is the character of the coach! I mean a film so evocatively muddy, it’s sad to see Dangal create a cardboard villain caricature at the end and to throw in an absurd climactic scene involving a locked door!
A kind of melodrama jarringly out of place in such a grounded narrative. But then again, no Bollywood flick is complete without a villain or melodrama for that matter.
I definitely recommend everyone to watch Dangal. It’s a complete family entertainer!
For the absolute balance of amazing performances by Khan and the new actors in lead, good storytelling and hilarious narration, it gets super 4.5 stars from me. It misses the bull’s eye by a whisker and falls a little short of my “Chak De” expectations, though.
But then again, as pointed by Raja Sen of rediff.com, “Dangal teaches us where rainbows lie in wrestling. Watch this film for the way it puts the ‘her’ in ‘hero.”
Picture Courtesy: Google Images