2016 sure has been a year of Reel Sports. We’ve seen biopics in pairs, starting with concentration on our diehard sport of cricket transcribed from Azher to Dhoni and the latest surge of interest in wrestling from Sultan to Dangal.
While Sultan raked the moolahs, pleasing the masses with Salman’s langot clad fights; no one would have dared to recreate a Dangal in the same coliseum besides our Mr. Perfectionist. Two years after he starred in PK, Aamir Khan returns in wrestling drama Dangal.
- dangal means wrestling competition
- arena (esp for wrestling)
- an amphitheater
Story at large, no spoilers, I promise!
The story revolves around an over confidant young regional level wrestler, Mahavir Singh Phogat (played by Aamir Khan). His ultimate goal was to be the first to win a gold medal for India in the prestigious Commonwealth Games. However, without adequate financial support, Mahavir succumbed to finding a real job and gets married in hopes that one day his mini male version, Junior Phogat will accomplish his unfulfilled dream. Unfortunately for him and for the entire Balihari village, he was gifted with 4 daughters eluding him to attain his dream and leading him to carry a somewhat pregnant belly for the 90% of the movie. Probably, in hopes, if his wife can’t deliver his desires, Mr. Perfectionist will attain that himself. (Hey, he is after all Mr. Aamir Khan!)
Over the years, the moping father doesn’t hide his disappointment when the entire village distributes laddoos on the birth of several ‘sons’. It’s not till one day when Senior Phogat returns home to face the complaints of the neighbors’ sons been beaten by a Phogat child. Naturally, Senior Phogat misconstrues his nephew to be the culprit, which we know is not the case. The dormant athlete in Mahavir awakens when he discovers that his adolescent daughters Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and Babita (Suhani Bhatnagar) are dexterous brawlers. He is determined, that his daughters could succeed where he couldn’t. He exempts the girls from any housework to start training them, and flouting convention by pitting them against boys. The two daughters eventually compete in the Olympics, under the scrutiny of their obstinate trainer-father.
When the girls get older, the film switches actresses (the two younger ones, Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, with Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra). Though, Aamir Khan’s belly stayed intact with slightly more salt and peppered hairdo.
What are your odds when you defy not just biology?
This sports based film, feels authentic, and not just because it’s based on a true story. Rather, cause of its defiance of the clichés of the society that pre-slots the girls into domestic categories that they are nothing more than sex objects and homemakers. The athletic abilities of the two oldest daughters Geeta and Babita, are also their avenue of escaping the circumscribed future of early marriage and motherhood, an asphyxiating fate dramatized by their teenage friend whose only wish is that she wasn’t being consigned by her family.
The two Phogat Girls marveled their journey of Golgappa loving teenagers from their own pre-consumed girly nature to standing against the village that never failed any opportunity to point fingers with their ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, to marking their small village on the map of the world. All four actresses playing Geeta and Babita are conspicuously good! They depict the story of women empowerment and a father who believed in his daughters.
While the film has Aamir written all over it, director Nitesh Tiwari and his writers defined a fine line between the multi faceted Senior Phogat — as a harsh taskmaster whose ambitions for his daughters are rooted in his own disappointments and as a concerned father massaging his daughters’ feet in the quietness of the night.
Watch out, these Girls might just flip your mind away with their hard work #Phogat
It may very well be an Aamir Khan movie, but the girls owned the movie!
We’ve all seen the videos that went viral of Aamir Khan’s transformation. He left no leaf unturned to attain a pregnant belly to finally reaching his athletic young self for a 2 minute fight sequence in the movie and the internet went crazy with his fat to fit transformation. Given his status and years in the industry, it’s perhaps expected.
Seldom do we hear about the small time costars who undergo a similar experience from their realms of comfort to attain the physique needed for the desired roles. Here’s a video highlighting what the film’s team calls “the breathtaking journey of the Dhaakad girls.” “Dhaakad” is the name of a motivational song in the film.
Aamir Khan and the makers of Dangal walk us through their fascinating schedule and transformation of how Sanya, Fatima, Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, undergo six days a week Olympian level training for 8-9 months prior to filming.
Sanya confides that they did not speak a word of their pain for a long time, as they feared that they might lose the opportunity.
Fatima voiced that she was badly injured during the shoot that the entire schedule had to be pushed a bit forward because of her, and how she managed to look like a tigress on screen even though she was in extreme pain.
Survival against all odds!
Sport teaches us to survive against all odds, whether you win the trophy or not. Dangal, also sends out the social message of gender equality. Both reel and real-life father braved all societal odds to train his daughters as wrestlers in a male-dominated sport. This family radiates paternal devotion beneath a stern exterior, who grapple appreciably with wrestling tactics. Dangal, is about self-discipline, a person who believed in his vision, and women empowerment. It is an ideal film to end our 2016 with both inspiration and entertainment.