Banner: Disney, Aamir Khan Productions
Producer: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar, Aparshakti Khurrana, Ritwik Sahore, Girish Kulkarni, Vivan Bhatena
Writers: Vinitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra
It is very hard to chance upon a film that is flawless in every aspect, and Dangal is one of those rare gems. Even better, the film not only entertains but is also socially poignant.
Dangal follows Mahavir Singh Phoghat (Aamir Khan), a National-level wrestling champ who is forced to give up his sporting dream to earn a livelihood for his family. His only dream is to have a son who can fulfill his ambition of winning a gold medal for India at the international level.
But fate has something else in store for Mahavir, whose wife (Sakshi Tanwar) gives birth to four daughters. A heartbroken Mahavir gives up on his dream.
After picking a fight with local lads, Mahavir’s elder daughters, Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and Babita (Suhani Bhatnager) beat up the boys badly. After receiving complaints from their family, Mahavir realises that his daughters can hold their own and starts training them for a career in wrestling.
The young girls are unhappy with their new way of life and try to get out of it. But after realising that their father is actually trying to give them a future, unlike other fathers who would rather get their daughters married off at a young age, they embrace his vision for them.
Soon, they are trained enough to take on the boys at a local wrestling arena, where Geeta starts to win against the best wrestlers. After winning the Nationals, Geeta starts to represent India at international events but fails to win due to a changed coaching style and also due to her arrogance.
Soon, Babita too makes her way from the State to the National level, and finally to the Commonwealth Games. How Geeta fulfills her father’s dream of winning a gold medal and how Mahavir guides his daughter through this journey forms the crux of the story.
Khan’s character goes through many changes over the years and Khan adapts his body language to suit his role. He is undoubtedly a brilliant artiste. Written with simplicity and presented beautifully, there are many scenes that touch your heart. For instance, the one where a young Geeta and Babita try to get out of their training sessions; when Omkar (Ritwik Sahore) Geeta and Babita’s cousin joins them during a training session; and Geeta and Mahavir’s wrestling sequence. Also, the scene where Babita confronts Geeta, saying she has changed as a person; when Mahavir’s wife argues with him, warning him that she will not let him cook chicken in their home; Geeta’s wrestling matches against boys and the wrestling match sequences towards the pre-climax and climax.
Kudos to Nitesh Tiwari, both as a writer and director, who has emerged as a master of his craft. The film has a perfect mix of emotions… you laugh, you cry, you feel with the characters and their situations so deeply that despite having a run time of 161 minutes, the narrative not once drags. There are no gimmicks in the narrative, the story is well defined and that’s what works well for the film.
The film also impresses due to the acting calibre of each actor – brilliant casting by Mukesh Chhabra, indeed. As for music, all the songs go very well with the flow of the screenplay and the background score is brilliant.
Dangal connects with you from beginning to end and you relate to every character. In addition, the movie has a mix of elements, from funny incidents, to emotional and touching moments, to action and drama. That’s why, despite the length of the film, you are hooked throughout. Editing by Ballu Saluja is seamless and tight. The climax scene touches the right chords. Cinematography by Setu is spectacular. He captures the wrestling sequences exceptionally well. Costumes and locations are apt. The film is an immersive experience for cine-goers, from the word ‘go’.
Performance-wise, Aamir Khan, completely consumed by the character, does a brilliant job and adds another feather to his cap with this film. He impresses with his flawless performance, and plays his part with aplomb and conviction. This is yet another award winning performance from Aamir Khan!!! Sakshi Tanwar, with her poised manner, plays her part wonderfully.
Despite the fact that the debutante actresses (Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar) are sharing the screen with Aamir Khan, their performances are exceptionally good. Fatima Sana Shaikh is phenomenal and portrays her role with ease. Sanya Malhotra delivers a superlative performance. The poised manner of her character is boldly reflected on screen.
Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar are little firecrackers of performers, and even when they are not saying a word, they say plenty through their expressions – the mark of a true actor. Aparshakti Khurrana plays his part with conviction. Ritwik Sahore is brilliant. Girish Kulkarni is exceptional in his part. Vivan Bhatena, in a small role, is good. Each and every character actor has delivered an excellent performance. The rest of the cast provide adequate support.