Dangal : Aamir , Fatima shine in heart warming tale of triumph against odds & women emancipation

NEW DELHI : Earlier in the year, one saw Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan leave us emotionally charged in ‘Sultan’ with the inspiring story of Sultan Ali khan’s journey to win an Olympics medal. Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’, a biopic about wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat who went against traditions to train his two daughters to make it big and become world champions, is yet another story of triumph against odds as ‘Sultan’ and ‘M S Dhoni the inside story ‘. However, more than being a story of determination to overcome all odds to make it big, ‘Dangal’ also carries with it the message of women emancipation in a patriarchal set up. The movie tells the story of Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) , a former champion wrestler, and his two daughters who beat patriarchy to make it big. Married to Shobha Kaur(Sakshi Tanwar), Mahavir Phogat’s dream is to win a gold medal for India in wrestling. However, when he is unable to do this, he promises that his son will do what he couldn’t do. Phogat is disappointed when Shobha gives birth to four daughters. He does not believe girls can wrestle well. However, when two of his daughters, Geeta and Babita, come home after beating up two boys, Phogat realises how wrong he has been and begins to train his daughters in wrestling. The film is the story of how Phogat trained his daughters ( Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh) to become professional wrestlers. As one enters the theatre to watch the film, one expects to see another tale of hope and perseverance to conquer all obstacles. While ‘Dangal’ is a story of hope and determination of Mahavir Phogat to overcome all odds, it is also deals with how the wrestlers shakes off traditional norms of patriarchy to train his two daughters Geeta and Babita to make it big on the international sporting arena . The film leaves you emotionally charged with sequences of Mahavir Phogat battling the patriarchal set up and a chauvinistic society to train his daughters to become world champion wrestlers. The scenes of the conflict between Mahavir and his daughter Geeta who resents the strictness of her father during the training sessions leave you moved. However, the most emotionally charged scenes are the ones featuring the wrestling matches in the international championship. The sequences of the semi-final and the final match of Geeta as she moves towards realising her dream of the gold medal are nail biting and give you a heady feeling of joy at her victory. The director manages to evoke feelings of ecstasy and triumph through the sequences , leaving the audience teary eyed. It reminds one of the climactic sequence of ‘Chak De India’. Director Nitesh Tewari gives a realistic feel to the film. The wrestling sequences in the film come across as authentic. He also effectively portrays how the system and bureaucracy create hurdles for a player striving to represent India in the international arena. Aamir khan’s Mahavir Phogat is the soul of the film. A perfectionist that he is, Aamir truly lives the character of Mahavir Singh Phogat. He is totally believable both as a wrestling champion who is superfit as well as the ageing father with a paunch. Watching him mouth Haryanvi dialogues is a revelation. He deserves all the kudos for his realistic portrayal of Mahavir- his accent , mannerisms and body language are just perfect for the role. He brilliantly portrays the former wrestling champion doing all it takes to break shackles of patriarchy to make his daughters world champion wrestlers. He also effectively brings out the frustration of a man who has failed to win a medal for the country as well as that of a father who faces resistance from his daughters over his strict training . It is another virtuouso act by Aamir who seems to have made the habit of excelling himself with each of his films. Providing him brilliant support are newcomers Zayra waseem and Suhani bhatnagar and Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra who essay the childhood and adult characters of Geeta and Babita.
While Zayra Waseem and Suhani bhatnagar as child Geeta and Babita match Aamir at every step in the first half, Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh carry the films on their shoulders in the second behalf along with Aamir. Fatima, who is the female protagonist of the film, looks pretty while showing perfect mastery of the wrestling moves. Watching the effortless ease with which she performs it, seems difficult to believe it is her debut film. A brilliant debut by her. As Mahavir’s wife Shibha kaur, Sakshi Tanwar has delivered an outstanding performance despite her brief screen presence. Aparshakti khurana, who plays the narrator of the film, is adorable. The music by Pritam is excellent with the songs capturing the essence of the film and carrying it forward. Dialogue are also noteworthy and powerful with many of them staying with you much after you leave the theatre. The background music too is another highlight of the film. ‘Dangal’ wins your heart with virtuouso act by Aamir, brilliant acts by Zayra Waseem, Suhani bhatnagar, Sanya, Fatima and Sakshi Tanwar and with its inspiring tale of triumph against odds and women emancipation. Rating; 5/5: one for the inspiring story, one for Nitesh Tewari ‘s direction, one for performances by Aamir and rest of the cast, one for the music and one for dialogues. (AGENCIES)