Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four stars)
Star Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Suhani Bhatnagar, Zaira Wasim, Aparshakti Khurrana, Ritvik Sahore, Girish Kulkarni
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
What’s Good: Aamir Khan’s Dangal has its heart in the right place. An incredible script and powerhouse performances leave you impressed.
What’s Bad: A few portions where the film lets you down slightly is towards the end. A cinematic twist in the climax seemed unnecessary.
Loo Break: Don’t even think!
Watch or Not?: Must-watch! Dangal is a rightly done sports drama inspired from a real story. Also sends out a strong feminist message.
Mahavir Singh Phoghat (Aamir Khan) is a National level wrestling champ who is forced to give up his sporting dream to earn livelihood for his family. His only dream is to see his son fulfill his wish of winning a Gold medal for India.
While Mahavir is striving for a son, fate has something else planned for him as his wife (Sakshi Tanwar) gives birth to four daughters. A heartbroken Mahavir, gives up on his dream with no son in the picture.
After picking a fight with local lads, Mahavir’s elder daughters, Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and Babita (Suhani Bhatnager) hit the boys black and blue. After receiving complaints from their family, Mahavir realizes that his daughters are no less than men and starts to train them for wrestling.
The young girls are unhappy with their new way of life and even try to get out of it. Soon they are trained enough to take on the boys at a local Dangal where Geeta starts to win against the best of trained male wrestlers.
Thus begins Geeta and Babita’s journey from State to National to finally the Commonwealth Games.
Dangal Review: Script Analysis
Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal is highly gripping and transitions smoothly from being a sports drama to an emotional one. The inspiring tale of Mahavir and his daughters is narrated in such a way that you laugh, cry and at some point even make sure you root for these characters right till the end.
The first half is simply stunning and nearly flawless. It is incredible how Tiwari makes us so easily connect to young Geeta and Babita’s struggle of giving up on all the fun in their teenage years, to be trained as wrestlers.
The plot does not beat around the bush and hence significant elements of a sports drama, such as the government being a spoil sport are chopped off to a good limit. There’s absolutely nothing unnecessary in the first half which is a huge win win for writers, since it captivates the audience in full spirit for the second half.
The father-daughter relationships between Geeta and Mahavir and Babita and Mahavir are explored extremely well emotionally. Also, how situations change the ties between the two sisters has been tapped into well.
The second half gets into a more cinematic mode. The girls have grown up and have new issues to tackle. There is a lot of wrestling in the second half as Geeta’s playing tournaments but this time without her father being the coach. The sense of freedom she experiences staying away from family and how easily she is drawn to normalcy makes up for a good watch.
Dialogues are absolutely sharp, be it a stern ‘Kal Subeh 5 baje taiyaar rehna’ or ‘Mhaari Chhoriyaan chhoron se kam hai ke’. Some will leave you in splits too as the narration is being done from Mahavir’s nephew’s side, who has been through his share of wrestling training with the girls too.
Dangal Review: Star Performance
Aamir Khan’s physical transformation had been the most we had heard about his role in Dangal and practically, that’s the least one will focus on in the film. Why? He skillfully fits into the character of Mahavir and yes with all that physical change, we rarely see him to be Aamir Khan. This is easily his best performance in the recent years. Also, its commendable how gracefully the actor takes a side step here and let’s the story and the girls in the film take the center stage.
Sakshi Tanwar as Mahavir’s wife is a perfect choice for the role. She emotes extremely well and is a delight in the scene where she stubbornly tells her husband that no meat (chicken) will be cooked in her kitchen.
Coming to younger actors first, Zaira Wasim as Geeta is absolutely stunning. She is a revelation with all that confidence in her act. She pulls off the wrestling bits too with great effort and looks highly convincing.
Suhani Bhatnagar, the young Babita too does an equally good job.
Also, Ritwik Sahore as Mahavir’s young nephew is a delight.
Fatima Sana Sheikh as grown-up Geeta is marvelous. She clearly has undergone immense training for this role and hence pulls off the wrestling extremely well. In one of the scenes, she is shown to be wrestling with Mahavir and Fatima excels in that one.
Sanya Malhotra as Babita does not get a big chunk since the story focuses on Geeta’s journey more, yet she puts up a great performance. Malhotra looks confident and gives a matured debut.
Aparshakti Khurrana (Ayushmann Khurrana’s brother), does a great job as Mahavir’s grown-up nephew. His comic timing is spot on.
Girish Kulkarni is seen as the coach in the film. I felt that the actor has much more talent and Tiwari limits him to a cliched role in this film.
Dangal Review: Direction, Music
Nitesh Tiwari is better known for his works such as Bhoothnath and Chillar Party. The director’s first attempt at a sports biographical drama with Dangal turns out highly successful and a great script is what he can surely be thankful of.
Tiwari’s Dangal is easy on the eyes thanks to its on the face storyline. It is packed with powerful scenes and Tiwari makes sure his camera speaks more in certain scenes than the dialogues such as the one where Geeta and Babita are having their hair chopped while the mother silently weeps helpless towards her husband’s will.
Also, scenes such as Mahavir and Geeta getting into the Akhada over not just using the wrong technique disputes but interpersonal issues that plague them for months is simply stunning. Also, the tear-jerking moments such as Geeta’s breakdown over the phone with Mahavir after she loses badly at the international level is emotionally riveting.
DOP, Sethu Sriram captures the Haryanvi milieu quite perfectly.
The wrestling competition scenes have been shot so well that you are hooked to it, cheering Geeta as though it is the real Geeta Phoghat.
One has to credit Tiwari for getting the audience hooked to sport that’s not Cricket, considering the Indian mindset. The final matches are actual nail-biters and you thoroughly enjoy every dhobi-pachad move of Fatima.
Pritam’s music blends excellently in the film. Dangal title track is an energy booster and Haanikaarak Bapu is simply superb.
Dangal Review: The Last Word
Dangal is inspiring, emotional and spellbinding. It is a ‘Dhakad’ film and a perfect end for 2016! A 4/5 for this.
Dangal releases on 23rd Dec, 2016.
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