If you haven’t seen Dangal, go buy your tickets now. I walked out of the theatre feeling refreshed and inspired. Dangal is a fantastic story about defying all odds and stereotypes, fearlessly. What’s so remarkable is that this is the true story of champion wrestlers Geeta and Babita Phogat, and the man who made their success possible: their father, Mahavir Singh Phogat.
Aamir Khan plays wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat in the film. Mahavir is adamant that his children will succeed where he never could — he wants his son to win gold for India. But to his dismay, his first child is a daughter. But no matter, his wife conceives again. And again and again, till the couple have four daughters to look after. Though they are much loved by Mahavir, he quietly casts his dream away, thinking it impossible that a girl can wrestle.
Until the day when he comes back from his government job to find that his two daughters, Geeta and Babita, have beaten up two boys. Instead of reprimanding them, he asks them how they did it. As they cutely enact their fight out, you can see their father’s face change. Realisation dawns and this funny and cute incident is the turning point. He realises that ‘a gold is a gold’ whether a girl brings it or a boy does.
Dangal is about how girls can do anything boys can. And in a Haryana small town, Mahavir Singh Phogat is surprisingly revolutionary. His daughters train in short shorts. They wrestle and fight with boys, and cut their hair short. Mahavir doesn’t care what any of the villagers will think, and assures them that these girls will bring pride to the community.
Before her last match, Mahavir Singh Phogat tells Geeta that she is fighting for all the girls who were told they couldn’t do anything. When she wins, they will all win, he says
It is also about the relationship between parents and children. The ways in which parents try and map out their children’s lives, the quiet rebellion of children trying to break free, the leaving of the house, and then the homecoming. And the faith that is built over the years between both sides.
The movie has everything: drama, comedy, conflict, failure and success. Mahavir Singh Phogat deserves a medal for being the ultimate feminist father. And Aamir Khan definitely deserves praise for bringing his character to life so well. The actresses who play the Phogat sisters, Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra, were also fantastic.
Even Salman Khan, who also released a wrestling movie this year, is raving about it:
— Salman Khan (@BeingSalmanKhan) December 22, 2016