Aamir Khan’s Dangal has certainly been the most awaited film of this year. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, while the film is based on the life of former Indian wrestler Mahavir Phogat. It’s the struggle with which Mahavir brought up his daughters (played by Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra) and made them India’s wrestling champions that’s extraordinarily pathbreaking. With so much expectations from the ‘Perfectionist’ aka Aamir, is Dangal worth the wait? Here, read on to find out…
What’s it about
Let’s get this straight. Dangal is no Sultan. And am saying this with a lot of love to all those who raved about Salman Khan’s wrestling drama. All those who expected drama with a Sultan versus Dangal fight will be disappointed. Also is Dangal better than Sultan ? No, simply because they are two different films, who have two different stories to tell. One is a struggle of an individual to battle his inner demons and come to terms with his own calling, the other is a story of a father – daughter relationship. They are totally different stories with two unique plots. Dangal is the story of Mahavir Phogat (Aamir Khan) and his daughters Geeta (Fatima Sana Sheikh) and Babita (Sanya Malhotra). Of course wrestling is the common thread that binds Sultan and Dangal and the promos might have seemed similar but the stories are totally different.
Dangal is about self belief, conviction, courage, a father encouraging his daughters to be as good if not as equal than their male counterparts. It is a true story that has fictional shades painted to weave a gripping narrative. How much of it is true and how much made up, doesn’t matter. Because Dangal is not about accuracy as much as it is about the human mind and the extend it can bend to achieve unbelievable goals. Dangal is a father-daughter story but it is also a tale that will resonate with anyone who has had self doubt and experienced fear in the darkest of places.
Dangal is an Aamir Khan film that doesn’t really belong to him. He’s a bystander who sort of narrates the story, a catalyst that projects this emotional journey with utmost honesty. The real hero of Dangal is director Nitesh Tiwari who has stayed true to the material right from the very first frame. There are multiple goosebump inducing moments. Be it Mahavir’s first fight in the room of an administrative officer or a young Geeta pining down her male opponent in a duel. Tiwari despite several over the top opportunities the script provides keeps the tempo uniform. The writing is stellar and the cast matches upto the cues on point. Aamir is the star of Dangal. There is ample humility and charm in his ability to take a backseat and let the girls shine.
But when he’s in a frame you can’t take your eyes off him. He becomes the father the girls despise and then begin to love. He is the husband who asks his wife to forget she is a mother to her daughters till they get trained for the job. Aamir is a genius. The girls who plays the young Geeta and Babita are remarkable simply because they make these characters identifiable. Sakshi Tanwar and other supporting characters are top notch. There is a scene that will have the audience stand up and salute the tricolour not realising it’s just part of a film.
Dangal has its fair share of flaws. After the initial battles, the tempo loses its pace. Not every fight lives upto the glory of the first. The fight scenes are long and some of them get tiring. Apart from the title track none of the tracks sound worth humming. There are portions that remind you of Sultan.
What to do
Dangal is the film of the year for me. It is brave, gritty, honest and has a performance of a lifetime by Aamir. Watch it because I can’t think of a better film that came out this year which got your attention with such intensity. And yes I Loved Sultan as well. But Dangal sort of won my heart over.