Any film on an Indian sportsperson winning a medal in an international sports event must be made in such a way that it must make audiences celebrate the sportsperson. For, while sportspersons the world over have to only compete with their counterparts from other countries, Indian sportspersons have had to not only compete with competitors but also combat societal beliefs, the big bad bureaucracy and the system here.
Dangal, which is about a father, who, through his two daughters, is hoping to make India proud in the world of wrestling, does just that. By the time it ends, it makes you want to meet , greet and congratulate Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters Geeta Singh Phogat and Babita Singh Phogat, the people on whom this story is based on. Not just that, it even makes you want to celebrate their achievements like they were your very own.
Aamir Khan, who plays Mahavir Singh Phogat, does a neat job as a strict coach with clarity and a determined dad who keeps his caring side carefully camouflaged from his girls, lest they lose focus on their objective of winning a gold for India in the International arena. Having seen the man in action in his earlier films, this performance comes as no surprise. It is at best, only a reiteration of a fact we only know too well about him – the fact that he is a perfectionist and that he leaves nothing to chance when it comes to portraying a character.
What really impresses one about the film is the performance of the girls –Fatima Sana Sheikh as Geeta and Sanya Malhotra as Babita, who have no problems convincing one that they are professional wrestlers. Fatima, in fact, is the more impressive of the two. Be it rest holds, the pin falls or the take downs that she effects, she is just spot on. The final take down in the climax deserves special mention in this regard. Full marks to both the stunt choreographer and to Fatima for having portrayed it to perfection.
When you watch a film that has a run-time of almost a 160 minutes and yet don’t glance at your watch even once, you know you are watching a film that is, at the very least, a really engaging one. And that sort of engagement is possible only when the entire cast is as good as its main protagonists. Sakshi Tanwar as Daya Kaur, the wife of Mahavir Singh Phogat, does a super job as she, despite not appearing in too many scenes (and even in the ones she appears, she maintains a low profile), manages to get your attention in her own sweet, unimposing manner.
On the technical side, Sethu Sriram’s cinematography is a big plus for the film. Some of Sethu’s shots, including the angles at which the take downs have been captured, are fantastic. One fight for which Sethu must take equal credit along with the actors and the stunt choreographers is the one in which Mahavir Singh Phogat loses to Geeta Phogat.
The way that sequence has been captured is simply phenomenal as there is a lot of non-verbal communication happening. Every expression, every move, every lock and every pin is captured from the best possible angle and as a viewer, you have no doubt as to what is going on in each of the character’s minds at each precise moment of that entire sequence. A difficult task to capture that but commendably executed by Sethu, who gets more than ample help from music director Pritam in conveying the message to the audiences.
Dangal is what it is because director Nitesh Tiwari saw it that way. He did not just see it in his mind but made his cast and crew see it too and made them will that idea of his into reality. Not an easy task by any standards and so deserves complete credit for the film, the positives of which outweigh its negatives by a big margin.