POPCORN ENTERTAINMENT RATING – 4/5
Straight up, Dangal is one of the finest sport films coming out of Bollywood stable in recent times. Based on the real life story of the wrestler Mahavir Phogat and his daughters, Dangal not only chronicles their ardous journey to reach the highest echelon in a male dominated sport of wrestling, it also strikingly depicts their gritty battle against a parochial society with a feudal mindset of gender prejudice.
When former wrestler Mahavir Phogat ( Aamir Khan) has to renounce his dreams to pursue his single minded purpose of winning Gold for India, he resolves to train his young daughters Geeta and Babita as professional wrestlers . The daughters go through the grind under an unrelenting father and against all odds, achieve historic milestones to bring glory to India.
A riveting tale of grit and gumption, Dangal is richly textured with an engaging screenplay and terrific writing. Director Nitesh Tiwari nicely blends a healthy mix of emotions and poise with the right doze of tongue in cheek humour, never resorting to any sort of artifice. In this process, he successfully creates the right atmospherics and several poignant moments between the father-daughter duo. Though there is no scope for surprise here in the story, since the Phogat daughters journey is a fact known to everyone, you are absolutely transfixed right from the opening scene till the rousing climax . The local dangal and wrestling championship matches are excellently crafted, and despite the usual contrivances expected from a Bollywood sports film, you end up rooting for the battered and courageous daughters .
The new girls are absolutely top notch. Both the younger and senior versions of Geeta and Babita ( Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar) are brilliant in their intense physical transformation and in the nail biting wrestling sequences. Their emotional delineation , especially with their father, is heart wrenching. Sakshi Tanwar as the supporting wife and caring mother is effective in a subdued role. Aparshakti Khurrana, as the nephew of Senior Phogat and a tortured brother of the girls, is a delight to watch. He enlivens the screen with his terrific comic timing .
But Dangal derives its core strength from Aamir khan, who unsurprisingly, delivers a sterling performance yet again. As an ageing, battered and bruised national time winner turned coach Mahavir Phogat, Aamir’s performance is devoid of any sort of vanity, hitting all the right notes in a thoroughly measured way. He brings a distinct sense of vulnerability in his characterization, with greying hair and pot bellied physique. Watch him in one of the agonizing scenes where he wrestles with his arrogant daughter and gets bogged down to ground , losing his breath – it will choak your throat and bring tears to your eyes. Dangal is one of the actors best performances, and proves yet again why he is considered the best amongst his peers.
Encompassing of towering performances from its entire cast and inspired by a spirited lead actor, Dangal is a winner all the way. Highly relevant in current times, Dangal is undoubtedly the perfect end to 2016.