Sports biopics are the flavor of the season in Bollywood right now and Nitish Tiwari’s latest one, Dangal starring Aamir Khan has arrived to set the benchmark in this genre. The one given drawback of biopics is the predictability as all these sports events are well documented and the audience already know how it’s going to end. EvenDangal offers little surprise in terms of plot but it does not let that fact become an impediment in its brilliant storytelling,
complete with humor and pathos, intensity and compassion. The Phogat sisters’ historic wins at the Commonwealth games and subsequent tournaments are well known but what the movie beautifully portrays are their father’s determination and their own arduous journey to that success amidst the deep rooted gender prejudices of an extremely conservative society.
Inspired by the real life story of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters, Dangal showcases some stellar performances by Aamir Khan and newcomers Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra. Phogat (Khan) was an illustrated wrestler himself, whose career was cut short before time with his dream of winning a gold medal for his country remaining unachieved. His resolve in realizing his dreams through his daughters and their grit and effort in defying all odds are portrayed remarkably. The Phogat sisters’ foray into a hitherto male dominated arena of wrestling and coming out winners is a story of inspiration.
Dangal is easily Aamir Khan’s best act till date. With the incredible change in his appearance, theHaryanvi accent, the grizzly stubble and grey hair, Khan is perfect as the stubborn yet sensitive father. But the film’s success lies in the fact that it has not tried to project the father with a halo; he is far from being flawless and Aamir Khan effortlessly brings out the complexities in the character. The performances by Shaikh and Malhotra are easily the best debut acts of the year. Sakshi Talwar as Mahavir’s wife is effective enough.
The highlights of the movie are the wrestling sequences which are choreographed so convincingly that they seem like the real deal and keep the viewers engaged despite the familiarity with the ending.
The setting of rural Haryana and the nuanced cinematography by DoP Setu give Dangalitslayered texture and authenticity. The earthy soundtracks by Pritam and Amitabh Bhattacharya are totally in keeping with the narrative and feel of the movie.