Movie Casting: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar, Ritwik Sahore, Aparshakti Khurana
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Our Rating: 4*/5*
If all things are done right, biopics can make you feel you know a popular or a lesser known individual really good, also as it helps its production, crews and actors win multiple awards. But if they are done wrong, they can make you lose your patience and scream at the screen. When the trailer of Aamir Khan’s Dangal was released, most of us were in a firm belief that the film’s director Nitesh Tiwari had perfectly signed in the star as Mahavir Singh Phogat, the head of the only family of female wrestlers from Haryana, including the medal-winning Geeta and Babita Phogat.
We are going to have to measure Aamir Khan’s future performances with this one: Mahavir Singh Phogat, failed wrestler, rough mentality, but caring husband and father of four girls, he scales it up to a point where you can see the star take on a character, try it for size, and make it his own, which actually is the work of a perfectionist.
That was very very important for us to believe in Dangal, which borrows several elements from the real-life Haryana wrestler who trained his older two daughters, Geeta (Fatima Sana Shaikh) and Babita (Sanya Malhotra), in the art of wrestling, and turned them into champions.
Dangal works on the twin motive it sets up for itself. One is a straightforward film about a popular sport and those who play it: we feel and smell the `mitti’ of the `akhara’, the `daanv-pench’ (moves) that truly skilled wrestlers use to face down in the ring. We see the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the making of champions.
Watch the public reaction here:
The film wouldn’t have been made if Aamir hadn’t agreed with it, and he brings to it the sincerity of purpose which makes it not just a starry vehicle, but a film which is about something, which has to mean, with a message which doesn’t hazard the telling.
The direction of Nitesh Tiwari is pretty cool with sensible logics and well picturised, which have made the movie in a one step higher stage. It could have easily turned into a showing project, which is a clear and present danger when it comes to anything involving big stars with names. It could have been made more glossy than required. In places, it is solid and could have done with some high, but it is hardcore all the way through. And, most crucially, it stays real, because the star ratchets it up when required, and lets it go in a particular flow in the rest.
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