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Dangal 

FILM INFO

Dangal is an extraordinary true story based on the life of Mahavir Singh and his two daughters, Geeta and Babita Phogat. The film traces the inspirational journey of a father who trains his daughters to become world class wrestlers. 

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FILM INFO: 

CAST: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar

Directed By: Nitesh Tiwari

Written By: Nitesh Tiwari, Shreyas Jain, Piyush Gupta, Nikhil Mehrotra

Produced By: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao & Siddharth Roy Kapur

Music: Pritam

Costume Designer: Maxima Basu

Wrestling Choreography and Coach: Kripashankar Patel Bishnoi


Release Date: Dec 23rd 2016

MOVIE REVIEW ... ( always a no-spoiler zone!)

Since Dangal tells a true tale of a father who dreams big for his daughters, Dangal was declared tax-free in four Indian states — Uttar PradeshUttarakhandHaryana and Delhi — to promote Beti Bachao (stop female infanticide/ foeticide), and Beti Padhao (educate the girl child), campaigns by the Government of India.

THE GOOD

1. The plot: A father who dreams of having a son who would go on to win a gold medal in the Olympics..... except he goes on to father three daughters.... before realizing that his daughters are capable of full-filling his dreams .... and it is their goal to achieve! What an interesting plot! To top that, it is actually a real story that not many had heard of prior to watching the film. Wonder how is that even possible? Where was the Indian media when India's first female wrestler won the 2010 Common Wealth Games. We know how much coverage a story like this would have gotten in the U.S. media.

2. THE CAST: For how many films have we said that Aamir Khan has done his best film to date (okay we didn't say that post Dhoom 3)? Well, we have to say it yet again. And please don't make it about him being a Muslim actor. Lets openly acknowledge and shower accolade not just for his acting but for the form he built for the role- his very wide frame (with or without the belly bulge) was a perfect fit for the forgotten champion that he portrayed. It is by now, a well known fact that Khan gained some 30 kgs to play the older Phogat and then lost the extra kilos to play his younger version (youtube videos telling the story have gone wild).

Rohit Shankarwar, who plays their cousin in the first half, especially catches your eyes! The kid has got talent and a natural flair for humor too!

Sakshi Tanwar, hitherto known for TV serials, has done well for herself and for the film as Phogat's wife.

Coming to the stars of the show- Zaira Wasim and Fatima Sana Shaikh as the younger and the older versions of Geeta Phogat has impressed beyond words! Their command of the Haryanavi dialect, their body stances, wrestling skill set- all leave you open mouthed. Real-life Babita's two avatars have matched the high bar effortlessly as well. Suhani Bhatnagar leaves a mark despite the strong cast presence all around.

Even Vivan Bhatena, in few short scenes, has done his part.


3. THE CLOTHES, THE LOCATIONS AND THE ACTION: Perfect, simply perfect and absolutely perfect - enough said on that. Full marks to Costume Designer, Maxima Basu and Wrestling Choreography and Coach, Kripashankar Patel Bishnoi. The wrestling match shown in a small office space in the beginning of the film totally blows your mind. The same holds true throughout the length of the film- the nifty techniques, the awe-inspiring talent- all  brimming with consummate elegance!

4. THE MUSIC: Easily helped in making lighter of some of the intense scenes ...and sounded excellent.


THE BAD ..

I will repeat what I said for Lion before this- When a real life story unfolds right before your eyes in a manner that holds you both captivated and motivated at the same time, there is hardly ever anything that you find lacking- this one comes through for you- in more ways than you can imagine. All that said, guess would have been even nicer to see some toned biceps on the young athletic women...


OVERALL ...

THIS IS NOT JUST ANOTHER WRESTLING MOVIE. In case you have kept away from the theaters because you saw Mary Kom (2014) and because you saw Saala Khadoos (2016), don't spend another day away harboring that notion. For this is just not just another wrestling movie (granted Mary Kom was a boxer, agree Saala Khadoos is a fictional story). We allowed our kids to convince us that they have watched enough of such success-in-sports-kind-of-inspirational-stories. Big mistake! We would have regretted it throughout the film, except that the movie holds an extremely tight grip on you, not permitting your mind to wonder anywhere except through the lanes and by-lanes of Haryana on the screen. The movie offers so much more than another sporty saga- quite a lot of food-for-thought as you reaffirm the role of guru, his guidance, your skill but even more importantly your focus, strategies of success and above all- an undying faith and a willingness to go over and beyond for your goals. So yes, watch it, and don't leave your kids behind- no matter what they say! 

In fact the movie was so good that we recorded a zero on the yamn-o-meter (my husband records at least 3 in most movies). Plus, we forgot all about the little cashew packet that we snuck in to the theater in our pocket (and believe me when I say we love snacking while watching)- that's how gripping the movie was!


HOW DID THE FILM FARE ...

As per Trade analyst Taran Adarsh- “#Dangal is heading towards ₹ 375 cr mark… [Week 4] Fri 1.94 cr, Sat 4.06 cr, Sun 4.24 cr. Weekend 4: ₹ 10.24 cr. Total: ₹ 370.11 cr.”. The film has also bagged big titles in the Filmfare Awards- that of "Best Film of 2016", "Best Director" (Nitesh Tiwari), "Best Actor-Male" (Aamir Khan)


HOW TRUE IS THE TRUE STORY? 

( ...here lies the spoiler zone ... enter at your own risk ...).

As per an article carried in TOI, Mahavir Singh Phogat, a Hindu Jat from Haryana has 4 daughters, GeetaBabitaRitu and Sangita, and two nieces- Vinesh and Priyanka, children of his brother who was killed in a dispute of land. All the 6 Phogats are trained in wrestling by Mahavir. While Geeta, Babita and Vinesh are international players, having won Gold, Bronze and Gold medals respectively in Common Wealth Games (in 2010, 2014 and 2016 respectively), Ritu has won a gold medal at the national championship and Priyanka and Sangita have won medals in age-level international championships. Apparently, the real Phogat did want daughters- in a State were males are the desired gender of off springs. The couple have 4 daughters and one son- the last one. The article also mentions that ironically, it is the girls of the family who have done well, not the boys. Three boys from Mahavir's extended family- his wife's nephew, Vinesh's brother, and his younger brother's son had joined his training sessions, but they couldn't take the strict regimen and rebelled, or had to drop out because of injuries.

Also, as per an article on HT, the real Phogat was 10 times more strict than the father portrayed by Aamir Khan. According to the same source, Sakshi Malik became India’s first woman Olympic medallist at the Rio Games, but Vinesh Phogat’s Rio medal hopes ended in tears and agony after she suffered a freak knee injury during the quarterfinal bout against China’s Sun Yanan in the 48kg category.

 As for the nail-biting finishes, the straying of focus and the final miss - all drama for effect, we hear. 

  

Mahavir Singh Phogat with daughters Geeta Phogat (right) and Babita Phogat (left) and his neices (top) (Photo Credit: Mahavir Singh Phogat Club page)

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By Sonal Kulshrestha

(Sonal is a computer programmer by profession and a writer by passion. She is an avid movie goer. She lives in Texas, USA) 

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