Aamir Khan, Sanya Malhotra, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sakshi Tanwar, Suhani Bhatnagar, Zaira Wasim, Girish Kulkarni, Aparshakti Khurrana, Ritvik Sahore
Siddharth Roy Kapur, Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao
Nikhil Mehrotra, Shreyas Jain, Piyush Gupta, Nitesh Tiwari
A good biographical sports drama is the one that adheres to the fact, captures the human spirit of triumphing over all adversities, and build such strong emotions that you want to stand up and cheer in the cinema hall. Aamir Khan’s Dangal gives you all this and more.
Like, most sports dramas — Dangal is pretty formulaic in nature. However, what really marks out this moving powerful work that traces the life of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters – Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat (India’s two celebrated women wrestlers), is the strong comment on women empowerment that it makes and the rock-solid performances.
In a small village in Haryana, where girls are still murdered at birth or are perceived as a burden, which should be gotten rid of as soon one can by means of marriage, a former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) is craving for a son to fulfil his dream of wrestling and winning a gold for the nation.
But destiny has its own plan, as Mahavir is only blessed with one girl after another. Nevertheless, a dejected Mahavir, now a father of 4 daughters soon realizes that his chhoriyan are not less than the chhoras. Determined, he defies all the societal dogmas and starts training his two daughters Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and Babita (Suhani Bhatnagar) for wrestling. How these two go against the tide and finally become wrestling champions form the crux of the story.
Director Nitesh Tiwari beautifully captures the faith of the real Phogat in his daughters through various dialogues and heart-warming moments and evokes an immense amount of respect for the man, who fought against all odds in a conservative society to give wings to his daughters.
Technically, the film is pretty sound with some brilliantly choreographed wrestling sequences, dialogues are hard-hitting, however, there are a few portions where the film falls flat and becomes tad repetitive, demanding a tighter grip. But as it moves towards the climax it once again grabs your attention right back.
As mentioned earlier, Dangal boasts of some mind-blowing performances. Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat simply aces the role. While he is known to get into the skin of his characters, this time around this perfectionist has gone into a territory where no star-actor has ventured before and his transformation is nothing less than astounding. It’s not only the physical challenges but the role is also demanding psychologically and Aamir nails it all.
However, it is not only Aamir Khan who shines through the film. The young girls – Zaira and Suhani are brilliant, perfectly complementing the acting chops of their ‘Haanikaarak Bapu’. In fact, in some scenes Zaira actually outshines Aamir. Ritwik Sahore as the young cousin Omkar is impressive. Sakshi is good, and newcomers Fatima and Sanya who play grown up Geeta and Babita respectively, leave an impact. Ayushmann Khurrana’s brother, Aparshakti Khurrana too is good in his role as older Omkar.
While the biopic concentrates on the making of the two world champions, all in all it’s an emotional ride that celebrates the bond of father-daughter relationships, gives us a glimpse of a strong-headed and loving mother, shows us the dangers of egos, pride and arrogance, makes our heart swell with patriotism and inspires us to chase our dreams.
On a closing note, while 2016 can easily be passed off as the year of biopics, Dangal is undeniably the best in that lot.