Thursday, January 12, 2017

MovieNotes: Dangal

Title: Dangal (IMDB)
*ing: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Aparshakti Khurana, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar, Ritwik Sahore
Language: Hindi (with a Haryanvi flavour)
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Genre: Sports, Biopic

The success of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag introduced the rich genre of sports biopics to Bollywood. And now we have a lot of them coming one after the other. Just wondering why it took so long for our producers to tap in?

Basic Premise
Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former national level wrestler, decides to live his dream of winning medals for the country through his daughters in a region where girls wrestling is something unheard of. The movie follows the journey of the girls from a village to winning laurels for the country.

The Highs
The movie's high is the impressive all-round acting of the star-cast comprising of Aamir Khan and a bunch of newcomers. Special mention to be made of the tale's narrator, who provides comic relief as well.

The opening credits sets the tone for the film, featuring scenes of traditional wrestling training with Daler Mehndi's voice booming in the background. Overall loved the use of the songs which carried the story forward. Both "hannikarak" and "gileheriyan" are quite memorable.

The story builds up and is quite fast-paced although the makers did take a few creative liberties here and there.

The Not-So-Highs
The climax is bizarrely twisted and stretched out. Too many creative liberties taken. e.g.

  • the wrestling events take place in a single day and not multiple days as shown in the movie. 
  • Geeta Phogat had won medals before the CWG Games also. 
  • The final was actually a walk in the park for her. 
  • There are two bronze medallists in wrestling events
  • And the bizarre depiction of the national coach is jarring. 
The movie climax has been made over-melodramatic in my opinion.

The Others
Being released within a few months of each other, there will be obvious comparisons with Sultan, another movie with the same backdrop. While Sultan is fictional, Dangal is slightly more based in fact. But when have facts ever come in the way of a good story! Though we can safely say, if Dangal had released first, Sultan's collections would have taken a hit.

The movie culminates with the national anthem being played to mark India getting a Gold medal. And the audience in the theatre also stands up. Some genuinely, Others to fit in the crowd and a few probably just for safety.

The much maligned Delhi Commonwealth Games have actually left a sporting legacy for the country, specially in bringing the other sports to the mainstream. Wrestling as a sport has given India lots of international success in recent years (relatively speaking). Thus it is good to see mainstream cinema featuring some of our other sports (i.e. anything not cricket).

Fun fact: Sakshi Malik, our first female wrestling Olypmic medallist competes in the same weight category as Geeta. 

Rating - 9/10. For being one "dhobi-paat" of an entertainer!

Previously on MovieNotes - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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