You are here

Dangal Movie Review 2016: Strikes Gold

Aamir Khan, Dangal

Aamir Khan and director Nitesh Tiwari make all the right moves to land the message that a chhori is no less than a chhora.

The slightly fictionalized version of national wrestling champ Mahavir Singh Phogat defies and delights in equal measure. The disappointment over the birth of a girl, followed by a string of daughters, and the accompanying pieces of advice on how to get a son, are all a part of the rural India we’re familiar with. Annoyingly and amusingly familiar.

The turning point when Mahavir realizes that a daughter is just as capable of bringing pride to him as a son makes him obsessive in his quest to turn Geeta and Babita into world champions. His reluctant daughters are denied golgappas or even an evening of fun. While sports films always use up footage on the training, here there’s also a parallel of a Haryanvi village watching with prejudice as the salwar-kameez gives way to shorts and long hair is cut short. 

Mahavir’s burning passion of wanting a gold medal for India makes him invest all his courage in his girls, standing up to his society and pitching Geeta in the arena with male wrestlers. The village prejudice gradually segues into national pride. 

There are turning points in Geeta’s life as well as she moves into the National Sports Academy under a new coach and gets distracted. There are some extremely poignant moments like the scene where father and daughter wrestle and Mahavir tastes humiliation. And there’s a silent making up over the phone. Younger sister Babita has a comparatively smaller role to play but it’s she who’s the natural bridge between Geeta and their father. There’s humor and warmth in the close ties between Mahavir and his nephew. The girls’  ‘cloj cujhin’ or close cousin is played well by Ritvik Sahore in their childhood and by Aparshakti Khurrana when they’re all slightly older. 

There are expected filmic touches like the arrogant coach who misguides Geeta versus her champion father. There’s the usual Chak De! the moment when, instead of the dressing room speech, the father delivers his go-for-gold dialogue on a bench.  

The film is also extremely lengthy and there are moments of restlessness as the game on the mat is stretched. But all is soon forgiven as Nitesh builds it up to a climax that brings a lump to the throat.

In the tradition of Chak De! India and Lagaan, patriotism and the Indian flag drive the climax and when the national anthem is played, the viewer can’t help but stand up with respect.           

Expectedly, Aamir Khan relives the glory of Mahavir Singh Phogat without compromise. He is the aging father of two girls, a champion who had to give up a dream but lived to realize it through his ‘Geetta’ and ‘Babbitta’.  Aamir is a Haryanvi champ for over two-and-a-half hours. Sakshi Tanwar as his wife and the mother of the girls makes her soft presence felt even as a bystander.  Zaira Wasim and Fatima Sana Shaikh playing Geeta, and Suhani Bhatnagar and Sanya Malhotra as Babita, are so superbly cast that you can almost feel their transition into world class champs.

For a welcome addition to any library of well-made biopics, Dangal gets a 4 Star rating.  

Also Read

OK Jaanu Movie Review
13 Jan,2017

OK Jaanu is a 2017 Indian romantic drama film directed by Shaad Ali, story and screenplay by Mani Ratnam. Produced by Mani Ratnam and Karan Johar under their banners Madras Talkies and Dharma Productions respectively

Haraamkhor Movie Review
13 Jan,2017

Haraamkhor marks the directorial debut of Shlok Sharma who previously worked in many Anurag Kashyap projects as a second unit director. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shweta Tripathi as lead

Gurmeet Chaudhary, Sharman Joshi, Sana Khan
16 Dec,2016

Wajah Tum Ho is a 2016 Indian Hindi crime thriller film directed by Vishal Pandya. It features Sana Khan, Sharman Joshi, and Gurmeet Choudhary in lead roles. The film revolves around a live murder committed on television.

Shor Se Shuruat Movie Review
15 Dec,2016

'Shor se Shuruaat' is an omnibus feature of mentored short films, around the central theme of Shor- noise. 7 films, from 7 different directors mentored by stalwarts like Mira Nair, Shyam Benegal, Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar, Nagesh Kukunoor, Sriram Raghavan and Homi Adajania.

Ranveer Singh
09 Dec,2016

Befikre (English: Carefree) is a 2016 upcoming Indian Hindi-language romantic drama film written, directed, and produced by Aditya Chopra under his Yash Raj Films banner.

Vidya Balan
02 Dec,2016

Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh is an upcoming 2016 Indian thriller film directed by Sujoy Ghosh and produced by Ghosh and Jayantilal Gada. It features Arjun Rampal and Vidya Balan in lead roles

Dear Zindagi
25 Nov,2016

Dear Zindagi is a 2016 Indian drama film directed by Gauri Shinde and produced by Gauri Khan, Karan Johar and Gauri Shinde under the banners of Red Chillies Entertainment, Dharma Productions and Hope Productions respectively. It stars an ensemble cast of Alia Bhatt, Ira Dubey, Kunal Kapoor, Ali Zafar, Angad Bedi, Aditya Roy Kapur and Shah Rukh Khan.

Neha Sharma, Aditya Seal
18 Nov,2016

Tum Bin 2 is 2016 Indian Hindi romantic drama film, written and directed by Anubhav Sinha. It is produced by Sinha and Bhushan Kumar, under the T-Series banner.

John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha, Tahir Raj Bhasin
18 Nov,2016

Force 2 is an upcoming 2016 Indian Hindi action thriller film directed by Abhinay Deo which features John Abraham and Sonakshi Sinha in the lead roles. It is a sequel to the 2011 film Force.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
28 Oct,2016

Saba falls in love with Ayan. Ayan is still in love with Alizeh. But Alizeh’s heart beats only for Ali. And Ali’s heart wanders.

Shivaay, Ajay Devgn
28 Oct,2016

Shivaay is a 2016 upcoming Indian action thriller film directed and produced by Ajay Devgan under his banner Ajay Devgn FFilms

Soha Ali Khan, Vir Das
22 Oct,2016

31st October is an Indian Hindi film written and produced by Harry Sachdeva and directed by Shivaji Lotan Patil. The film, based on a true story, focuses on the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Shashank Udapurkar, Tanishaa Mukerji
15 Oct,2016

Anna is a biopic based on Kisan Baburao Hazare popularly known as Anna (Or the big brother) in Maharashtra. He is a soldier turned into activist who fought against corruption.

Sharman Joshi, Sunny Leone
15 Oct,2016

Director Sunil Subramani  has assisted director Anurag Basu in his last few films.  He has his simplicity in his story narration This is debut directorial venture.

Prabhudeva, Sonu Sood, Raj Khanna, Tamannaah
07 Oct,2016

Tutak Tutak Tutiya is an Indian horror comedy film co-written and directed by A. L. Vijay. It features Prabhu Deva, Tamannaah and Sonu Sood in the lead roles.

Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher
07 Oct,2016

Mirzya is a 2016 Indian Hindi film epic fantasy romantic thriller film co produced and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. It stars Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher in lead roles.

Sushant Singh Rajput, Mahendra Singh Dhoni
30 Sep,2016

M.S. Dhoni The Untold Story is an Indian biographical film directed by Neeraj Pandey, based on the life of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni where the film features Sushant Singh Rajput as Dhoni

Ritiesh Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri
23 Sep,2016

Banjo is an upcoming 2016 Indian Hindi-language musical action drama film, directed by Ravi Jadhav and stars Ritiesh Deshmukh and Nargis Fakhri.

Radhika Apte
22 Sep,2016

Parched is an Indian drama film written and directed by Leena Yadav and produced by Ajay Devgan under his banner Ajay Devgn Films. It premiered at the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

Amitabh Bachchan
14 Sep,2016

Pink is an upcoming Indian courtroom drama–thriller film directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, written by Ritesh Shah, and produced by Rashmi Sharma and Shoojit Sircar.