Wrestlers Win Hearts
What is the film about?
Dangal, as everyone must be aware by now, is a biopic of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan). How he coaches his daughters to medal glory for India is basically what the film is all about.
How is Aamir Khan’s performance?
Aamir Khan is a big star and usually, in a big star’s movie, stars are the focus out and out. That’s true for most of the stars and there is nothing wrong with it as long as the purpose of making an engaging movie is served. But when it comes to Aamir Khan there are many examples to show where he lets others steal the show, when needed, if it makes for a better film.
Dangal is the latest example of the same quality. Aamir Khan is present almost right through but he doesn’t make the film all about him. Also, he doesn’t make his “highly promoted” body hog the limelight, it is present, it is visible but it never is the point. Even in terms of acting, he is superb in emotional scenes and as a strict father. The biggest highlight is that he a Superstar drawing our attention but he is also an actor who only shows a character as a character should be seen.
Direction By Nitesh Tiwari?
Nitesh Tiwari has made two films, Chillar Party and Bhoothnath Returns. If people are not aware both the movies were liked at some level with the former getting bigger praise. What’s more, it is a film dealing with children. That experience comes in handy for Dangal while dealing the initial phase of wrestling as kids.
Dangal in nutshell is a sports film even though it a biopic. There is only so much one can do with that genre, a formula is to be followed. If not done rightly it makes for a clichéd viewing. If the emotions aren’t right it feels very fake and unnatural. Nitesh Tiwari gets it right on all these scores. He makes the proceedings lively and engaging without boring. The biggest challenge for a sports movie is to get “sport” right. We saw what happens when they get that right in Aamir Khan’s Lagaan and Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak De India, it is an exhilarating experience. Dangal is right on par with them as it gets the wrestling sequence spot on. It is as if watching a real wrestling match on screen. The pre-climax match, for example, is sensational.
In the end, Dangal is a film that gets a rooted and realistic story adapted perfectly in a “cinematic” way on screen. It is dramatic without being too melodramatic. It is this perfect tightrope balance that makes it a winner and must watch movie.
Sakshi Tanwar and others?
Dangal is filled with small but memorable performances. Everyone is perfectly cast and that deserves a great applause. Sakshi Tanwar is perfect as a housewife. Her presence is felt throughout despite a less screen time. Zaira Wasim and Fatima Sana Shaikh playing the younger and older versions of Geeta Phogat are a revelation. They convey the emotions perfectly and also look every bit as a wrestler in the wrestler sequences. Sanya Malhotra and Suhani Bhatnagar as older and younger Babita too are mighty impressive. These four actors are the soul of the movie. Aparshakthi Khurrana too is easily likable albeit in a small and honest role.
Music and other departments?
Music by Pritam is terrific, especially the title track. By terrific one doesn’t mean the songs are chartbuster quality rather they elevate the mood perfectly and are full of melody at the same time. The background score is good too. Sethu has given wonderful feel with his cinematography especially visible in pre-climax and climax wrestling competitions. The wrestling scenes are stunningly shot. Editing is razor sharp.
Actor and casting
Wrestling scenes (Geeta – Naomi Semi final block & Finals)
Raw and rustic with cinematic quality
Feels bit lengthy
Slow pace at times
Not much to say when the film is near perfectly made.
Did I enjoy it?
Will you recommend it?
Dangal Review by Siddhartha Toleti