Aamir Khan, Siddharth Roy Kapur and Nitesh Tiwari take a bow. DANGAL is an empowering, uplifting on screen phenomenon that echoes the power of women, an individual's right to fight and patriotisms with a chorus that is going to stay long for years.DANGAL MOVIE POSTERS
What a way to end the year with such a hallelujah of a sports flick that champions itself from the SULTAN's, MARRY KOM's and BAAHG MILKHA BHAAG's of Bollywood.
DANGAL is a terrific movie on wrestling, it's remarkably audacious in its ability to keep the key bases associated with a sports flick covered while tingling some twist enough to make it interesting for the entire 2hrs 41 minute duration, it's also a wonderful film about family which probably portrays the best father daughter relationship on screen seen in recent times and last but not the least, lead by Aamir Khan - DANGAL is one of the most powerful acting showcase seen in recent years that is likely to grab multiple award nominations.
Writers Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Meharotra pen this brilliance which can make the most stone hearted moved by the on screen adaptation of the historic achievements of Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari daughters of former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat who trained his daughters to become 'female' wrestlers and come triumph at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Geeta won the gold medal (55 kg) while Babita Kumari won the silver (51 kg).
The uplifting story that 'dhobi pachaad's (read beats convincingly) the prejudice against women who step into the 'man's' macho world of 'pehelwans' by throwing their 'belans', bangles, bindis and fear is certainly a story that needs to be told. The way the writers have arranged the sequences making it thoroughly absorbing right from the word go is commendable. Continuous dose of controlled drama, tongue n cheek humour and crowd pleasing moments are thrown in and occasional layers are added as and when required making it the most convincingly written script in recent times.
The only two similarities between Salman Khan's SULTAN and Aamir Khan's DANGAL is the state of Haryana and khusti (wrestling) within minutes as we see the first fight DANGAL starts moving on its own and never looks back. Highlighting the prejudice against the women, Mahavir ( Aamir Khan) former Indian national champion wrestler who missed his chance to bring the gold medal to India for a 'naukri' and assured life keeps on becoming father of four 'chokris' (girl) not for the fondness for children but in the obsession to have a boy. Mahavir believes that only men are fit to be wrestlers and fighters in life.
Having almost lost hope to see his 'male' child fulfill his dreams of bringing the gold medal in wrestling to India, one day an incident involving a brawl between his teenage daughters Geeta (Fatima Sana Shaikh) and Babita (Sanya Malhotra) with village boys introduces the other side of a girl child to Mahavir which is normally not associated or familiar with female folks and that changes the life of Mahavir and his daughters. 'Kyu mara who baad mein, pehle yeh bata kaise maara' ( why you beat those boys later, first tell me how you fought with them) he says to Geeta and Babita. The girls enact the scene and Mahavir sees a light and a hope is born, 'pehalwani inke khoon mein hai' he gleefully says and the journey of India's first common wealth female gold medalist in wrestling begins with some remarkable detailing like the training and the wrestling matches that are so real that's it's hard to believe that we are actually watching it on screen.
Nitish Tiwari (CHILLAR PARTY, BHOOTHNATH RETURNS) upgrades himself remarkably with DANGAL. The narration is so smooth and absorbing that there is hardly any dull moment in the film. Nitish Tiwari's achievement as a helmer is in his ability to convey the emotions without much manipulation. DANGAL is a solid adage on women empowerment but the director has never gone overboard and preachy.
An emotional scene between Fatima and Aamir without any dialogue in the second half is just an example.
As said earlier the known formula of sports flick is used with perfection over here and during the climax all those slow - motions and tensions are used, we all know the end result but here is something different.
A twist during the climax separates it from the others and while we are filled with the pride for our nation in the end a welcome deja vu of LAGAAN moments pass with a flash.
The director is bang on in characterizations and situations. The family bonding shown is straight from any Indian household and the bonding between Aamir Khan and his daughters played by Fatima and Sanya, especially Fatima is outstandingly heartfelt to the core.
Wrestling co -ordinator Kripa Shankar Patel Bishnoi does a marvelous job and it's tough to make an on screen wrestling look so real and the fights scenes are just brilliant. Shyam Kaushal's stunts also play a significant role in keeping us hooked.
Technically a polished product with near perfect detailing as said earlier, the movie is marvelously shot by Setu and Ballu Salija's editing is crisp. Production values are of top orders. Pritam comes out with numbers that pump up the momentum and surprisingly it's not just one song. 'Haanikaarak Bapu', 'Dhaakad', 'Gilehriyaan' all make the right impact and come at the right time. Thankfully there are no romantic numbers.
When has an actor fully sacrificed himself to the moving-picture cause the way Aamir has done over here?. From a lean machine to a middle aged man to a father of two teenage daughters, as the pot belly of Aamir increases and the decades get spanned further we see the actor Aamir scaling new heights giving an impeccable performance that we all won,t forget. This 'bapu' will be loved by all. And that pitched perfect Haryanvi accent is nothing but sheer brilliance.
The daughters Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra are gifted performers especially Fatima who comes out superbly strong and she amazingly looks like Aamir from certain angles. Sakshi Tanwar as Aamir's wife chips in with valuable support and has her moments. Jr.Geeta - Zaira Hasim and Jr Babita, - Suhani Bhatnagar are a bundle of talents.
Aparshakti Khurrana as Aamir's nephew is a surprise packet filled with wit. Ritwik Sahore who plays the character of the young Aparshakti is first rate. Girish Kulkarni as the national coach excels.
Hard to find a major flipside in this almost flawless mainstream movie but would have loved to see some more of the young Mahavir Singh Phogat.
All said and done, DANGAL is not just a film, the finest movie to come out in recent years is an exhilarating experience that sees a conventional sports-movie getting an uplifting arc of women empowerment that penetrates the desire to be a fighter in life irrespective of what gender we belong to, powered by prize winning acts lead by Aamir Khan that can appeal way beyond the lovers of this genre and or the fans of the game of wrestling.
Watch it. It doesn't matter whether you are a man or a woman. And it's a must if you are an Indian.