Dangal Movie Review, Aamirkhan Dangal
Story : Dangal is a biopic based on star wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat’s inspirational life and his daughters’ journey towards International Gold Medal. Hailing from a remote village in Haryana state, Mahavir is natural-born talented wrestler who gives up his career dream due to lack of financial support. He dreams to make his future son an international gold medalist, but he and his wife are blessed with all four girls. Mahavir who is extremely disappointed , gives up his dream until one day when he happen to witness the strength of his two elder daughters when they thrash couple of boys in a street brawl.
Mahavir then reinstates his goal, turns into a ruthless father cum coach to train his daughters Geeta , Babita in wrestling sport. Rest of the story highlights how the two girls overcome the physical hardship and the social struggle in the rural India where it is a taboo pursuing a career in sports, especially in wresting. Finally, they turn their’s father’s dream into a reality winning an International Gold Medal and make everyone proud.
Dangal is a typical sports theme movie, interlaced with an emotional family drama which makes two powerful cinematic emotions work on audience mind in tandem. As you cheer for the two young ladies Geeta Kumari and Babita to overcome every hurdle, you’ll also simultaneously experience subtly woven women equality or women empowerment message. Another best part is Nitesh Tiwari’s authentic setup of rural Haryana – the artwork, the houses, shops and people are so natural. Casting is another major asset of this Dangal movie. An extensive research can be seen in explaining wrestling game, techniques and final episodes.
Performances: Aamir Khan did it again, for the Nth time in his career. What an actor he is…despite him enjoying superstardom, super star in him disappears on screen and we’ll see only real Mahavir Singh in him. His physical transformation, getup as young, middle aged and aged Mahavir deserve endless praise.
Fatima sana shaikh as Geeta is simply adorable. Finding a girl who can portray the innocence of a rural Haryana girl, who can fits a wrestler physique, who can act and last but not least who looks good on screen is a tough task – but Fatima is quite a revelation. Another girl, Sanya Malhotra who played younger of the two girls, Babita, is also adequate. As focus is mainly on Geeta singh phogat, Babita role becomes secondary. Sakshi Tanwar role as Aamir’s wife is limited. The guy who played the role of cousin to these two girls has been used for comedy role. Entire Dangal movie runs on his voice over narration about his uncle Mahavir. The girl who played young Geeta is very impressive with her performance
Background score and cinematography takes Dangal to next level. Especially early mornings and night times’ scenes are captured so naturally by the cinematographer Sethu Sriram. It is very tough job with lighting to recreate such natural ambiance, which he did effectively. Watchout for those frames.
Negatives / Concerns:
Underdog Sports movies follow a typical, predictable structure – for which Dangal is no exception, A typical life-cycle of sports movie is to Introduce the underdog, show the struggle, set the goal,show the training session hardships, show some local victories, If possible add some romance, Finally get audience ready for big game day – add some patriotism to it. In recent years , Hindi movie is banking more and more on this genre, we get a Deja vu feeling – where just characters and the game backdrop changes as screen writing remains same scene to scene. (sports biopic genre is better than “love/action” template movies – that is different debate) In addition, Dangal second half is over dramatized in parts and flat at some other parts. Cinematic liberties too visible to generate emotion – but acceptable.
First half runs entertainingly with subtle satire on Rural India and with thick family emotions. Second half is more focus on girls’ journey to international competitions – where some over dramatization and a lot drag is there. The final wrestling matches are authentic and real.
If you like ‘drama’ more, Dangal movie is a must watch. If you expect a Lagaan (or) Chak dE India kind of sports fervor, you may be bit disappointed. Set your expectations right ! Dangal is neither as mass appealing (or playing to the galleries ) as ‘Sultan’ nor as universal engaging entertainer as ‘Lagaan’.. but is a critically acclaimed good watch with whole family.