Dangal (2016)

It took precisely 2 minutes to be drawn in to the world of Mahavir Singh Phogat. And there we stayed, engaged, spellbound and with insights into playful and emotional times, witnessing the staggering growth of the family, especially the girls, Geeta and Babita.

It is such a delight to see Aamir playing his own age, not romancing someone half his age, showing tremendous dedication to his craft with the weight gain. It was especially satisfying to see that he wasn’t self indulgent, we didn’t see him in every frame and he has limited lines. His presence as the patriarch is enough to demand constant and uninterrupted attention. This has been his most mature performance.

The focus and pride of the film are the girls. To start with, the younger Geeta and Babita played by Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, who quickly show us how crippling the burden of carrying their fathers’ dream is. There is a larger picture, which even Sakshi Tanwar, who plays their mother, cannot see. The girls grow to become formidable wrestlers. Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra are a product of discipline, their father’s foresight and rigorous training.

The film is tight, crisp, relevant and interesting. Never once does our attention waver. We didn’t want to miss a word, and devoured the authenticity and challenge presented. The decision taken by the father to transform and train his daughters is phenomenal in the time, place and circumstances he was in.

We have seen many Aamir films, but not a film which has Aamir in the feel, vibe and pulse of its every fibre. As mentioned before, he isn’t there in every frame, but you can sense the loyalty to the story in his unique manner at all times.

There are many sequences that stand out, and once is definitely not enough to process the film. The audience is educated about wrestling so that we too root for them as spectators of the actual fight. Director Nitesh Tiwari has made the message loud and clear for girls and women, and their families, to empower their destinies and live to their fullest potential.

A 7-course gourmet meal, with every flavour imaginable. Rich, pure, real and deep, it will tap into an adrenaline you didn’t know you had.

4.5/5

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