Can two girls fulfil their father’s dream of winning the gold medal for their country in a male dominated sport like wrestling? Moreover, can they do that in a stereotypical and judgemental country like India? Can their father convince the world that his daughters are equal, if not, better than a son? And last of all, can the daughters wrestle their way out of this stigma and achieve the near impossible? These are the central questions which surround Dangal and it manages to answer them with panache.
After numerous attempts to get a boy child, Mahavir Singh Phogat is about to give up on his dream of training a son to be an Olympic Gold medalist in wrestling. But after his daughters beat up two boys in a fight, he realises that his dream may still come true. With this crazy idea begins a beautiful journey called Dangal. The big screen adaptation of a real-life story manages to show the blood and sweat it takes to convert two village girls into Olympic medalists and it manages to do so without any glorification which has, of late, become a characteristic of Bollywood movies.
The dialogues by director Nitesh Tiwari along with Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Mehrotra have remarkably wrapped the entire story in words. The crisp dialogue writing not only appealed to the audience, but also successfully delivered convincing messages, such as, “Dangal ladne se pehle, apne dar se ladna padta hai”. These dialogues, in spite of their simplicity, manage to pack a punch.
When it comes to screenplay and direction, this movie is so rich in content that even with few songs, a pot-bellied lead actor and no item number; it has a long lasting impact. There is both – element & entertainment. The wrestling moves are captured beautifully and manage to keep the audience engaged. There is a good amount of humour in the movie, blended smoothly with the story telling so that it doesn’t look forced. One thing about the direction in this film which stands out is the realism. It manages to convey the message without a lot of background music/noise, unnecessary slow motion or other visual effects. Even the sentimental portion of the movie has been handled well and doesn’t over power the storytelling.
In the acting department, Amir Khan excels yet again. He masterfully plays a father who is both stubborn and strict, and can go to any extent to help his daughters progress. His work off the camera to get the authentic look is also commendable. Sakshi Tanwar, as a concerned mother and a dutiful wife, manages to impress. Fatima and Sanya have done justice to their roles, maintaining a strength of character throughout the movie. As the most unexpected things are the best, such is the case with Zaira Wasim (young Geeta) and Suhani Bhatnagar (young Babita) who bring life to their characters, showing innocence along with strength.
Pritam and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya have also done an excellent job with the songs. One can see the fighter in the young girls in ‘Dhaakad’, the father nurturing his daughters through tough training in ‘Hanikarak Bapu’ and the girls fantasizing for little girly joys in ‘Gilehriyaan’. The title song is the best of the lot as it manages to move and inspire with the powerful voice of Daler Mehendi.
Dangal has a lot to deliver to the audience than just ‘dangal’. This movie emphasizes on the blood, sweat and efforts needed for the making of a champion; the rudimentary obstacles for girls in the society; the condition of sports in training and trainers in India. A very direct message of nationalism, feminism and undeterred wrestle against all odds is given and the best part is that it manages to do justice to all these themes and tackles them with the sensitivity they require. At the same time, no theme overpowers the story telling and are synchronised beautifully in the narrative. In a nutshell, ‘Dangal’ is worth watching as it has something to deliver to everybody. Go grab a ticket if you are lucky enough to get one now!!!!