Dangal is a sports-drama based on the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan), a national level wrestling champion who had to give up his dream of getting an international gold for India due to poverty and how he trained his daughters Geeta (Fatima Sana Sheikh) and Babita (Sanya Malhotra) to wrestle, making Geeta the first Indian women wrestler to bring an international wrestling gold for the country in CWG 2010. (His daughter Babita and neice Vinesh won gold in CWG 2014 later).
Positive points: –
- The best part of the movie is its end (it isn’t a spoiler as we all know it, so chill!!) when the national anthem plays after Geeta receives the gold medal. It made the whole theatre audience stand up once again with pride (as we stand for the anthem before a movie starts). It’s a slap on the face of those pseudo-intellectuals who claimed that the use on national anthem in theatres is making us less proud for the country. Burnols please!!!
- We rarely see movies which have a long length (Dangal runs for 2 hours and 41 minutes) and yet we don’t feel bored for a second!! Here is Dangal for you folks!!!
- The performance of the whole cast is splendid. Everyone is natural and dramatic in their respective places as the script demands. You can’t point a single finger at their dedication and job execution.
- The script and direction is wonderful and nearly flawless.
- Pritam and Amitabh Bhattacharya have done a great job with the music and lyrics of the film. The choice of singers and the placement of the songs in the film has been impeccable.
- Another beautiful thing of Dangal is that it sends a strong message of women empowerment without denigrating men. Sorry feminazis!!!
Negative points: –
- There are a few sports-drama clichés in the movie and Babita’s achievement is CWG 2010 has been neglected (she won a Silver that time), but given the beauty of the film, I am ready to ignore them (TBH!!).
Direction, Script and Other Technicalities: –
Nitesh Tiwari, the man who gave us lovable movies like Chillar Party and Bhootnath Returns, does a fantabulous job in directing the movie. Along with his co-writers Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Meharotra, he creates a nearly waterproof script which not only engages you throughout its run, but also gives you goosebumps with every fight you see in the Akhada or the Wrestling Arena. The combination of seriousness and humour is so perfect that you can laugh at one moment and be serious at the next, and yet not feel odd.
The wrestling scenes have been well choreographed and like Sultan they have been extremely realistic. Aamir and Fatima have executed the fight scenes with such flair and flamboyance (especially Fatima as she has more wrestling scenes), that they seemed perfectly fit to represent India in the international level (or maybe I just got too much carried way!!).
Pritam shines again with the music of the film and the poetic genius Amitabh Bhattacharya impresses us again with his choice of words. All the songs match with the mood of the film, the true gems being Naina, Gilheriyan and Dangal Title Track. Everytime the title track (sung by the great Daler Mehndi) plays in the background, you get both thrill and goosebumps. Blame Pritam if you were jiving to it and singing it along even in the theatre as it played. It has the same effect on the audience as Chak De Indian title track in Chak De India and Zinda in Bhaag Milka Bhaag had. Simply marvellous!
Calling Aamir Khan a great actor or a genius or anything as such will be an understatement. He is one of the greatest actors in the world at present without a doubt and his performance in Dangal is a blinder. I don’t know what to write in order to praise him as words fail to appreciate his talent and his dedication. If this man would have been accepting awards ever, all awards for The Best Actor would and should have gone to him.
Sakshi Tanwar, who plays the wife of Mahavir, is as natural and brilliant as ever. Though she has a few scenes to showcase her talent, she manages to overshadow everyone in the frame quite easily with her performance.
Fatima Sana Sheikh is stellar as the older Geeta. She is not only impressive in her fight scenes, but brilliant off it too. I foresee a really bright future for Indian cinema with Fatima given that the cinematic magnates give her ample opportunity and strong roles as she deserves. The second half belongs to both her and Aamir. I guess she is going to get some awards next year for sure for her role as Geeta.
Sanya Malhotra is good as the older Babita. She gives a strong and subtle performance.
Aparshakti Khurrana is delectable as Geeta and Babita’s cousin as well as the narrator of the movie. His comic timing is bang on and we can’t stop loving him in it.
Girish Kulkarni gives a very good performance as the arrogant coach of Geeta at NSA.
The younger actors Zaira, Suhani and Ritwik give lovely performances each and all of them are lovable in their respective avatars.
Final Verdict: –
Dangal is the perfect movie for women empowerment and I pay all my respects to Mahavir Singh Phogat for setting an example of the power and capabilities of women in our society and being instrumental in bringing accolades for our country via his daughters in the field of sports. Dangal has everything that one wants to see in a good movie starting from performances to technicalities to its music, so there is no reason you shouldn’t watch it.
Dangal is the best Bollywood movie of 2016 and easily one of the best movies in not only Aamir’s career, but also of this century. It clearly deserves all top awards in the coming award session. I did think of giving this movie a small penalty for its minor flaws as a critic, but the proud moment the national anthem at the end gave me, I melted, and the result is this: –