Directed by: Nitesh Tiwari
Produced by: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: ★★★★1/2
Once, there was an ordinary man with an extraordinary dream. He fell in love with his own soil; the smell of soil, the feel of soil. This man from a small village swore to himself, he would bring his soil the utmost pride before the world. Alas, he could not. He would sit with a sad face; he had no sons to pass on his dream. But with time, his daughters became his sons. They became carriers of their father’s dream, carriers of a million hopes. With them, the tricoulour was held high and across the country, dreamers had someone to look up to. Writing ‘Dangal‘ movie review is difficult; because some stories are too glorious to be told.
Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur wrestler and a senior Olympics coach, belonged to Balali village in Haryana. In his social surroundings, he had done something unusual. While the other parents taught their daughters how to cook good food and manage household efficiently, this man made his daughters run for miles, sweat out for hours and wrestle. After years of hardwork, his eldest daughter Geeta Phogat brought India a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 2010 and in 2012, became the first Indian female wrestler to qualify for Olympics. In 2014, his second daughter Babita Kumari bagged a gold in Commonwealth Games 2014. Journey of the Phogats is so real that it doesn’t have the fake goosebumps of momentary motivation. It gets your jaws tight and yours hands knuckled. And Nitesh Tiwari’s ‘Dangal’ has done every bit of justice to the story. We didn’t watch this one. We lived it.
There was probably not a single film in 2016, as perfect as this one. The story that is being told is as important as the eficiency of the storyteller. From Aamir Khan (who plays Phogat) and Sakshi Tanwar (Aamir’s wife) to Fatima Sana Shaikh (playing Geeta Phogat) and Sanya Malhotra (playing Babita Phogat), everybody had the same conviction. Everyone knew what they were playing, and everyone knew, they had to be real; real enough to make us live their lives. Zaira Wasim (younger Geeta) and Suhani Bhatnagar (younger Babita) have played a very crucial phase. It isn’t easy to get into the shoes of two little girls who leave everything familiar and start living a life they never thought they would. These two little girls have done it with so much of liveliness! How much dedication does it take a man in his 50s to transform this drastically? Aamir Khan makes it look like a cakewalk. How much love for your own craft does it take one to make a debut at 41, with a non-glamorous, middle class housewife’s character, and nail it? Sakshi Tanwar has done it. For the ‘Chachi 420’ generation, Fatima comes back like a real treat. And Sanya is a horse of long races, we tell you!
Here’s everything you shouldn’t expect from ‘Dangal’. Do not expect unreal heroism. The story has got its share of failures, because no winner was ever a born winner. Do not expect loud expressions of struggle, crisis and conflict; because in life, most of us keep our hiccups to ourselves and none but a few loved ones are able to read them. Do not expect an usual last minute twist, because there is none. The film doesn’t talk about magic. It talks about one’s ability to make things possible; an ability that we all carry. You already know what happens at the end; but how you reach there is as fascinating as life itself.
How can we not thank Pritam for the wonderful music? He has done it so differently this time. The songs, with their wonderful energetic sparks, take you steps ahead. Sethu Sriram’s cinematography is clean and Ballu Saluja’s editing is particular, exacting.
Talk about sports biopic Bollywood has already had, and ‘Dangal’ will be at par with the best ones, if not above them. High in spirit, intense in emotions and perfect in narration, it is worthy enough of taking away the ‘Best Film of 2016’ title.
No flaws found, hands down. Give this one a watch, or regret later!