“Aaj Dangalvar Hai”, this was the 15th time in the last 20 mins I had repeated this line to Supriya today morning enroute to work. As usual she had the “kis filmi keede ke saath phas gayi” expression on her face. But how can you not be excited when you have an Aamir Khan movie releasing in Christmas. Dont we know the legacy, Ghajini, 3 Idiots, TZP, D3 and PK. So here it is Aamir Khan’s 2017 release Dangal.
You would have pretty much guessed the outline of the story from its trailers. Set in Balila, Haryana it talks about the life and struggle of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his children, oops daughters to be specific; in quest of a gold medal for their country in the sport of wrestling. Such a simple one line story without any twists n turns, without any glamour and ofcourse without any romance. How does this one fare? Lets go deep!
Full marks to the story writers, Nitesh Tiwari and team for coming up with a story which stays very focused from start to end. It does not have any side tracks or distractions. And thank god for that. Moving to direction, I would again say splendid job by Nitesh Tiwari who very intelligently plays his cards aka impact moments in the movie between first and second half of the movie. There are no scenes which seem repetitive although movies like this can succumb to those kind of issues. The villages, the akhadas and dangals are beautifully shot. The entire struggle of what it takes to become a female wrestler in a patriarchal state like Harayana is heartening to see on the big screen. But I feel somewhere in the second half, as audience we start feeling slightly restless but again thanks to the well shot wrestling tournament, the movie gets back on track. The dialogues are straight out of daily life but the performances add to their impact.
Moving to the performances, it is an Aamir Khan show. He brilliantly transforms himself from a “haanikarak” bapu to “foot-massage denewale” bapu with ease and aplomb. Needless to say his mannerisms, his expressions and his screen presence is top notch. Another feather in his cap, I would say. Sakshi Tanwar as doting mother and Mahavir’s pillar of strength is first rate. Aparshakti Khurana as the goofy nephew Omkar is highly likeable. Wish to see more of him! Sanya Malhotra as Babita Kumari plays her part without any blemishes. Her eyes do most of the talking. Must say, she has got very very expressive eyes. Zaira Wasim needs to get a special mention who is absolutely superb as young Geeta. But for me the star of show was Fathima Sana Shaikh who plays Geeta Phogat. She gets into the skin of the character and delivers a knock out performance. Be it the scene where she is confronting her father or the climax; Fathima is the find of the year for Bollywood. Some of the scenes between father and his daughters definitely bring down a tear or two. The songs which have music by Pritam and lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya blend beautifully with proceedings and set up.
With a winner of a story and a master director along with riveting performances, the movie is definitely a winner all the way.But somewhere amidst all these perfect ingredients in the movie, I still did not feel the same impact as Lagaan or 3 Idiots. I was left wanting for me despite a running time of 2.5 hrs. May be my hyper-excitement did it to me or my “critique-al” perspective. That is why I would also disagree with Karan Johar too. It may not be the BEST movie of 2016 but certainly it is up there in the top 3. What are you waiting for? Book your tickets NOW!