Movie review: Aamir Khan shines in a cliche-ridden Dangal

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In recent times, many real-life stories were imitated in movies. While some inspired to a certain extent, others seemed to have lost the plot in one way or the other. What makes Dangal stand apart is the fact that it sticks to a view that seems grandiose even in 2016– women are no less than men.
Aamir Khan is his typically terrific best as the once-upon-a-time-good wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat of Haryana who is dejected after having four daughters and no son to take his legacy in the akhada ahead. The former player laments to his wife (the wonderful Sakshi Tanwar) that his desire of seeing his son win a gold medal for the country in wrestling will remain unfulfilled.

He, however, gets pleasantly surprised when his daughters — Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and Babita (Suhani Bhatnagar)— prove that wrestling is in their blood as they thrash the neighbour’s child who bullies them. The father then turns into a determined coach and trains the school-going girls to become wrestlers and win medals.

The disciplined ways of Phogat irks his young daughters so much so that they plead in front of their mother but to no avail.

Basically, the first half of Dangal has nothing that you have not seen in the trailer. There are instances when you thoroughly understand the dilemma of the girls yet laugh at their innocent strategies. The writers, Nitesh Tiwari (who is also the director), Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Meharotra, to their credit, keep the narrative straightforward. Yet, multiple scenes appear stretched.

It is an unalloyed joy to watch the young Geeta give tough fight to boys in akhadas as Phogat continues to teach the techniques and nuances of the game. The grown up versions of the girls, played by Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra, are equally brilliant.

As Geeta goes to train under a new coach at the academy in Patiala, the movie screams predictability in nearly each frame. The film proceeds with no unusual turn or surprise element until Geeta wins gold medal at Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Dangal doesn’t seem plausible without Aamir Khan as the paterfamilias of the Phogat family. His pitch-perfect Haryanvi accent and body transformation between his younger and older selves makes him a method actor’s method actor.

 

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