Dangal Movie Review: Aamir and his girls pack a thunderous punch to give a powerful message about girl power

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The magic of movies is all about the passion of living dreams. And there are only a handful of artistes as committed to the craft as Aamir Khan. There's something so sincere about his efforts that you forgo multiple flaws. His latest offering Dangal is no masterpiece. It is far from flawless, it has a well-known, oft-repeated story and its technique and template are both similar to Shah Rukh Khan starrer Chak De India, but where it fares phenomenally is the writing department. With a tight screenplay in tow, Dangal soars. It isn't jaw dropping but it lives up to the fervour of its theme and the promise of its trailer. By the rulebook, it is a classic sports film with an eye for detail and a good measure of technique thrown into the poignant emotional drama about a stubborn father who lives his lifelong dream, and his daughters . There are sermons about gender balance, a generous dose of patriotism but what really drives this film is wrestling. To all who were worried about how similar Dangal is to Sultan, Aamir knows his game far better than that. He wouldn't repeat himself, forget repeating another actor. Orchestrated in a real set up, Dangal is rustic and robust, unleashing the infallible energies of two unbeatable girls who train to pummel hard enough to earn dignity in another sport besidew the revered cricket. It is even more difficult for women, more so if they belong to a more patriarchal pocket of the country. Aamir chooses a worthy story of a father who makes a difference to the thinking of his small town.

After Mahavir's wife fails to deliver a son, he leaves aside his dream to create a home grown pehelwan. His daughters are far from the dainty pictures, they are meant to be. After they pummel a few boys to pulp, Mahavir begins training them for the sport. The child actors Suhani and Zaira are lovely. The latter specifically is more cued into the craft while the other charms with her innocence. Director Nitesh Tiwari dedicates the entire first half to the little girls, reeling under the pressure of their over ambitious father's expectations of them. They wobble, fall but never have the heart to give up. They eventually rise to the occasion and prove their mettle and merit. Fatima and Sanya lend their raw energies to glue together every element of the story. They are top notch and Tiwari brings out the right emotions from them. They compete, battle, bicker, squabble but their eye on winning gold never goes. 

You can't help but be impressed by Tiwari's astute choice of milieu, which genuinely feels authentic. But an equal amount of credit belongs to Aamir, who has the knack of breaking the shackles of mainstream Bollywood. This story like many of his previous ones, could probably only be made due to his vision. On one hand, he creates stars of novices, use familiar faces to fill parts worthy of their caliber (an effective Sakshi Tanwar) and on the other hand, he never lets it seem like a vanity project. The story is his but the  spotlight is never on him. As the impatient, impeccable Haryanvi speaking, middle aged Jatt wrestler, who lost his chance to live his dreams, he is fantastic. It won't be a stretch to say that he is Aamir Khan for a reason and his films are a class apart because he invests more than just time on his work. There is visibly enough discipline, vision and more than anything, a lot of heart spent on it.

But here, as we applaud a cinematic celebration of the Phogats, we must bow down to the spirit of Mahavir Phogat for daring to put himself through thr ridicule of his village folks when he announced that his girls will make men bite the dust. For someone who came from a largely patriarchal, may we say, even chauvinistic world, it was a risk that could've gone grossly wrong. But he had a dream to win big for his country and a vision for his girls, whom he never gave up on even when they lost faith on themselves. Yes, it is the best film all year. The best one we will see in a long time. That's a given from Khan, right? But this is his most noble work till date. Yes, he is ballsy to play his age, flaunt a potbelly proudly, lose a wrestling match to his on screen daughter and do things other superstars would never dare to risk but for this one, he wins love for subtly putting across the point that girls can win the world. Give them a chance. To him and the Phogats, Dangal is an apt homage to their spirit. All you must want for Christmas is to watch this movie. This one is to cherish and for the keeps.

We rate it an 85% on the Pinkvilla Movie Meter.

Comments

One of the best movie.
I love dangal movie

One the best movies EVER ...not just Amir but the two gals have done an excellent job....AMIR Khan ek taraaf aur pura crowd of heroes dusri taraf...no one has the consistency and acting ablility like he does....

I have a doubt about the climax scene.

*SPOILER ALERT*
Why did Mahavir Phogat have to miss out on seeing his daughter winning the gold? Was that based on true events or added to create more drama? I am assuming it was for heightened emotional response of hearing the national anthem and realizing that she won. But I wished he could have seen her winning. It was his dream after all and I felt he was cheated of his chance to realize it. Great movie though overall, watch it for the performances.

Yes that part was very obviously factionalized for the extra punch as I said. BW tends to do this with all its biopics and it's quite annoying because they aren't fooling anyone (it was done in Mary Kom too with her son being in surgery at exactly the same time as her fight). Neerja seemed a little more realistic because I didn't notice any glaring add one in it, it was very subtle if it was there. To me the wrestling match in itself had me on edge of my seat, I didn't need that extra bit to feel the emotions involved but I have kids who play sports and I can understand what it takes to get to that point. My son was siting right beside me and biting his nails before the wrestling match even began, he even said can they stop going back and forth with her father and just let us watch the wrestling? Thee was no need for it in this movie, if Aamir or anyone associated with the movie reads PV, a note for next time, it was unnecessary melodrama. The national anthem playing at the end would've brought the emotions in for anyone who wasn't into the wrestling.

It was the only place the story slipped for me. Which is why it made me wonder why the makers chose to go in that route? Did it actually happen? If not, if it was just for the story, then it was wholly unnecessary!

Exactly what I felt!! Everyone was raving about the climax and I was looking forward to watching it. But as it unfolded my initial response was "Ise itna filmy kyun bana diya??!" They could have just shown the match and the win and the anthem like you mentioned. But that being said, the rest of the movie was near perfection for me in terms of performances, story, dialogues and cinematography.

I bet most of the people praising here haven't watched it but are just praising it to sound classy. Not a good movie.

You go watch the movie 1st..i will buy u a tciket

one thing about aamir movies is that we get to see 100% character/role that he played and not AAMIR .
He lived the character and did complete justice . No one . NO other actor in his place can portray that body language/emotions.
chak de , sultan or any other movie, i had seen shahrukh and salman in those roles and not characters.
Other 2 khans never get into the character's body language/role .
Aamir does every role effortlessly . Be it college student in 3 idiots or now dangal.
One more thing is dangal never used background music just to bring that emotional connect like other sports films did (chak de) . Dangal is simple and brilliant .

wish Rani had done Dangal

I just came back from watching it with my family. We all enjoyed it. It was what I expected, predictable but very well done. Obviously if it's a biopic, it will be predictable for those that are complaining-really? What did you think you were going to watch? My only complaint is the climax, I don't like extra melodrama added for that extra punch BW likes to put into its biopics. But Iw as expecting that too, so I wasn't too disappointed. As a biopic, I still prefer Neerja as it was more subtle. But both these movies are great and I hope the trend for female empowerment continues like this. It has been a good year for female characterization in BW movies, the more you make them like this the more people like me will spend to watch them with their daughters, sisters and mothers. Thank you Aamir for keeping it about the girls, respect!

Nice movie, but why do i feel one of the daughter looks so much like Priyanka Gandhi. I was just visualizing her( in place of Katrina) with Ranbir kapoor in Raajneeti.

Sultan was fantastic
Can this be better than that

Yes:)

Buy it is very different and the girl who played Geeta deserves best actress or at least best debut
Aamir is best but we all know he wont get single award

She was exceptional in her physical transformation but I think she needs to still work on her emotional scenes. Like the one where she cries over the phone. She 100% deserves best debut awaed, but in a year where Radhika Apte (or even Sonam Kapoor) are missing out awards due to politics, it is unrealistic to hope that these girls will win best actress.

Dangal is simply fantastic.This year's National award is yours Amit!

idk i just... dont like sports movies. even decently made ones. man 2016 has been lackluster for bollywood. the only movies i enjoyed were kapoor & sons, udta punjab, neerja, aligarrh, fan (yes really), & befikre (lol ik, but seriously i thought it was a fun watch)

Dangal was excellent, everything was on point. It is definitely worth the price of the ticket and an inspirational family film, aamir khan is a jewel of the hindi film industry.

Personally I have always felt that Aamirs films are always overrated and his pr always spread rumours that his movies have done a lot better than what they actually have.

Please never change Aamir! I don't mind you making some bullshit movies like Dhoom 3 in the middle if you can deliver a movie like Dangal at the end. It's worth waiting 2 years for your movies.

Sorry but this one looks very Boring, im not watching

Please don't, this is way above your league anyways.

Damn it.....That was an awesome reply ! :D

Just saw it

Pure awesommeness

Aamir is not the hero

And that climax :):):)

hv seen the movie..its very good

Will download, watch and delete soon,

Lovely film. Must watch!

Good for Aamir, Fatima, Sanya and Sakshi Tanwar. Cannot wait for this. Aamir - like him or not - is a 100 leagues ahead of the other Khans. Pink and Dangal are easily the best movies of this year. What a shame that the girls from Dangal or PINK are not going to be the deserving winners of the best actor (female) awards.

Watched it last night. Audience was almost in full attendance and everyone clapped. Never seen this overseas for a bollywood film.

Just came out of the theatre.....and this movie is a bore to death repetitive predictable experience. Sorry, it wouldn't even make 200 crores. The bad word of mouth will destroy it on Sunday.

Kudos to Aamir Khan for continuing to stretch himself and the boundaries of mainstream bollywood.

Woah woah woah...Dangal actually got 4.9 rating on 5...Mindblowing stuff from Aamir once again..the maverick is back!

I don't want to compare sultan and Dangal..always knew sultan will be more commercial fun kind and dangal more realistic kind...I like watching both kind of movies...so will neve compare.

YES! Salman and Aamir both have their trademark styles and individual fan bases who know what to expect from them. Apart from the wrestling I didn't see any similarities between the two movies. I loved both the films equally.

I don't want to compare sultan and Dangal...always knew sultan will be more commercial fun kind and dangal more realistic kind...I like watching both kind of movies...so will neve compare.

i love aamir choice lately .. i really wish srk and salman learn something from aamir...

Salmans choice is getting better now.

why to bring salman name here??bith amir and salman are good friends and they both know what is good for their fans and they both do totally different movies.

gotta love aamir,never disappoints! looking forward to watching it today

Will watch it for Saakshi tanwar this weekend! :)

Bapu song is my fav " Re itani jaldi bhool gayi ke" Sakshi nailed that Hariyanwi accent...

Compared to Dangal, Sultan was the one of the worst movie this year.

Compared to Dangal, Sultan was the worst movie this year.

Salman is crying somewhere.

why?

I am watching this masterpiece in a few hours! I just can't wait already!!!! Thank you all the cast and crew for this Christmas present in the form of great INDIAN cinema!

Wows can't wait

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