Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar, Aparshakti Khurrana, Girish Kulkarni
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Producers: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Writers: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra
What's Yay: Superlative performances, brilliant direction, crisp writing, nail-biting wrestling sequences
What's Nay: We wished we could get to see some more shades to Sakshi Tanwar's role in the film.
Popcorn Refill: Strictly Interval
The Iconic Moment: SPOILER ALERT! When Aamir Khan's Mahavir and his daughter Geeta played by Fatima Sana Shaikh engage in a wrestling, which is one of the major turning points in the film.
Plot: Former Indian wrestler Mahavir Phogat (Aamir Khan) longs for a male child who he believes could win a gold medal for India in wrestling on an international level. But, fate has some other plans in store for him as his wife is blessed with a baby girl for the fourth time.
A dejected Mahavir gears up to bid good-bye to his long-harboured dream. However, the awareness of gender parity dawns on him when his daughters Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and Babita (Suhani Bhatnagar) during their growing years beat two neighbourhood boys black and blue after they pass snide comments at the two sisters.
'Maari chhoriyan chhoron se kam hai kya', boosts the father to his wife as he suddenly realizes that 'Gold toh gold hota hai ... chora laave ya chori'.
But 'Medal ped pe nahi ugtey...unhe banana padta hai...pyaar se, mehnat se, lagan se'. Thus, begins the journey of a man and his two daughters who refuse to bow down to the patriarchy society and give in to the prejudices associated with females taking up wrestling as a sport.
However, the path to glory isn't a bed of roses especially when your focus towards your goal takes a backseat and you also have an arrogant national coach to deal with.
Direction: Nitesh Tiwari's Dangal revolves around the theme of wrestling and tells the tale of triumph against all odds and so did Salman Khan's Sultan which released earlier this year. But that's the only common thing between the two. Treatment wise, both the films are different as chalk and cheese.
The director who gave us the lovable Chillar Party and the not-so-memorable Bhootnath Returns shoulders the great responsibility of depicting the story of real life courage and balances it quite efficiently.
Dangal is intense yet it never loses its touch of well-blended humor and you don't let your eyes blink even once when the choreographed-yet-so-real wrestling sequences unfold on the screen. Kudos to Tiwari's engrossing story-telling coupled with some witty and inspirational liners!
Performances: There's a reason why Aamir Khan is called Mr Perfectionist and for those who have a doubt about it, Dangal is your answer. At a time when most of our actors are quite fussy about how they look onscreen, here's a man who doesn't mind flaunting his heavy belly and snow-white grizzled beard for most part of the film. Let me tell you, he's the same one who long ago gave men a reason to hit the gym for 'eight pack abs'. This year we even saw one more Khan, (Shahrukh Khan) playing his age and not shying away from flaunting his grey streaks in Dear Zindagi. Indeed, Bollywood has 'grown' up to see changing times!
In Dangal, there are several instances where Aamir let the girls steal away the show from him but still manages to leave a thundering impact. That's when you realize that the film is made up of moments where when a character takes the lead, the other one isn't reduced to a mere shadow.
Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar who play young Geeta and Babita are sheer brilliance. Be it their struggle to deal with their 'Haanikaarak Bapu' who wants to keep his girls away from all sorts of distractions which include gol-gappas and long mane or be it their sibling bonding, the duo display a feisty performance.
Fatima Sana Shaikh who essays the role of older Babita sinks her teeth deep into her role and passes with flying colors as a girl who fights against all the odds to make her nation proud at the Commonwealth Games 2010.
Sanya Malhotra's role might not be as meaty as Fatima but that doesn't deter her from putting up an impressive act.
Sakshi Tanwar lends good support but we wished that we could have got to see some more layers to her character in the film.
Aparshakti Khurrana attracts your attention in his Bollywood debut as he never fails to make you laugh at his misadventures.
Girish Kulkarni shines as the arrogant national coach who suffers from pangs of jealousy and longs to be in the limelight.
Technical Aspects: Dangal manages to keep you hooked from the word go and Ballu Saluja's sharp editing makes it a taut watch despite of having a run-time of about 160 minutes.
Sethu Sriram's alternately light and low light cinematography lends an interesting touch to the flick.
Music: Haanikaarak Bapu with its funky lyrics strike a chord. Dhakkad and Dangal title song makes up for an edgy hear. The rest of the songs are passable.
Verdict: Aamir Khan's latest outing has its heart at the right place coupled with stellar performances and engrossing narrative. Book your tickets quickly before the Phogat sisters say 'Ab Dangal shuru' or else you will miss all the action and one of the best films of 2016!
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