RELIANCE HOME VIDEO (2 discs), Rs 499
Cast: Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Sanya Malhotra, Sakshi Tanwar, Girish Kulkarni
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
In the last few years we have seen a stream of Hindi sports dramas from Aamir’s super-hit Lagaan, Iqbal, and Chak De, to recent favourites like Bhaag Mikha Bhaag, Mary Kom, Sultan, MSD The Untold Story and Sachin: A Billion Dreams.
After Lagaan, this is probably Aamir’s best work that too with a relatively new support cast, but under his guidance, newcomers Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra give outstanding performances. Aamir believes that you don’t need kickass music, item numbers and sleaze to pull over a film; what you do need is a tight plot and good screenplay to make an impact on the audience.
Dangal (‘wrestling’), is based on the real-life story of ex-wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat played by Aamir. Due to financial constraints, Phogat could never accomplish his dream of competing for his country and winning a gold medal in wrestling. He consoles himself with the belief that maybe his son will one day realize his dream. However, destiny has other plans. When he and his wife Daya (Sakshi Tanwar) are blessed with four children, all girls, Phogat loses hope of ever realizing that dream. When one day his daughters, 14-year-old Geeta (Fatima Sana Sheikh) and 12-year-old Babita (Sanya Malhotra), bash up the neighbourhood boys for teasing them, he doesn’t reprimand them; instead he asks them how they did it. When they recount their experience, he realizes that they have what it takes to be world-class wrestlers. From then on, Phogat takes all the criticism from the village elders, society, lack of money, apathy from officials and much more, to fulfil one goal, India winning gold internationally. For those who may not know, Geeta was India’s first female wrestler to win at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, winning a gold medal (55 kg), while her sister Babita won silver (51 kg).
The DVD comes in a two-disc edition; Disc One contains the main feature film, and holds an audio description for the hearing impaired. Disc Two has Special Features from the making of the film to some interesting tidbits on Khan’s transformative weight gain and loss journey in Fat to Fit. His journey to first add kilos to portray the older version of his character, forming a major part of the film, and then lose all that weight to play the younger version of the wrestler, is interesting and amusing. Making of the Phogat Girls follows the wrestling training of Fatima, Sanya and Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, while Aamir’s tryst with the sport is detailed in a separate featurette.
Also enclosed is a leaflet of Iconic Moments from the film in a picture format.
Verus Ferreira is a freelance music journalist for over three decades, contributing articles to various newspapers and magazines. He is the author of The Great Music Quiz Book and The Great Rock Music Quiz Book. Besides being a music aficionado, he is also a photo-journalist. He contributes to Musicunplugged.in. Reach him at E: email@example.com or verusferreira.com