An Opportunity Lost!
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Writter: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Meharotra
Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar
Released : 23rd December 2016 (India)
Review: In a simple sentence Dangal is an opportunity lost! Dangal is a sports movie roughly based on the life of Mahavir Phogat, an Indian wrestler. Mahavir Phogat played by Amir Khan, against all odds decided to make his daughters Geeta and Babita, wrestlers. I thought this would have been the main focus of the movie. Even though the promos and trailers show that, unfortunately the story doesn’t stick to it all the way. The story begins with a sepia tinge taking viewers into 80’s showing small village sights of Haryana (a northern state in India, which is known for lowest gender ratio and serious girl child problems). In a government looking building Mahavir (Amir) is watching a wrestling match and the scene ends with wrestling in the building. Then, stones gets rolling and with voice over of his nephew, movie shows Mahavir’s problems because daughters are born. I think director wanted to show what Mahavir went through, because daughters were born. But, this is shown in a bit comic or satirical way, which I personally think took away the seriousness of the subject. Mahavir is shown adamant with the notion that wrestling is not for the girls (which btw everyone thought in those days), so he wanted a son to fulfill his unfinished dreams in the field of international wrestling. One day an incidence happens (I won’t tell what purposefully) and Mahavir rethinks about his notion that girls can’t be wrestlers. That’s where interesting part of the movie starts. Movie takes viewers through what Mahavir does to make his daughters true wrestlers. Girls feel embarrassed and laughing stock for the village and at one point even think their father is a villain. Mahavir is shown tough. At a wedding bride (child bride) tells girls that Mahavir, their father is not totally wrong. And then comes another twist in the story. Girls start practicing hard, fight with boys (a taboo even today) and go on to become national players. I got a feeling that, nice cinematography cannot replace storytelling and screenplay. Unfortunately, it happens throughout the movie. But the small girls Fatima Sana Shaikh (Geeta), Sanya Malhotra (Babita) have performed very well and Amir as usual has played his role nicely. I am sure you must have watched his fat to fit videos.
The movie as well as Geeta starts losing the track a little bit due to songs, as Geeta, the older one played by Zaira Wasim goes to NSA (National Sports Academy) for further training but, Babita the younger one played by Suhani Bhatnagar stays back with Amir as she is young to join NSA and keeps learning the old way. The coach at NSA Pramod Kadam played by Girish Kulkarni. From the beginning this coach seems like a $$$$$ you know what I mean. So, now the plot is set, Geeta training in a modern institute with a new coach and Babita with Mahavir training in older ways. There are couple of songs here, about which I will talk later. The emotional peak comes in the movie when Mahavir competes with Geeta. To me this was the best part of the movie. After this point, movie takes the bollywood turns, like Geeta starts losing almost every match and distance between she and her father keeps increasing and then finally younger sister qualifies for NSA and tells older sister that father’s way was the right way. I will leave it for the viewers to see what happens in the climax of the movie and you will understand why I call this movie as an opportunity lost.
This movie could have been a fantastically inspiring yet realistic movie rather than a half hollywood half bollywood sports movie with predictable and unrealistic climax. But, despite all its merits and demerits everyone must watch this movie.
About songs, Dhakad and Hanikarak Bapu are nicely written and nicely placed songs in the movie, but rest of the songs have no impact on the movie. Honestly speaking wastage of time. You will get a feel that lots of time is spent on unnecessary and unrealistic things which add nothing to the undercurrent of the movie – woman empowerment.
Most of the people may not agree with me so you can comment, but, ask yourself honestly after watching the film does it belong to the category of Lagan, Rang De Basanti, Tare Zameen Par or 3 Idiots?
Goods: Cinematography, acting of girls (younger) and Amir Khan, theme, Sakshi Tanwar, depiction of reality, movie makes you think about girl child and women in general
Bads: Wastage of time on unnecessary things, dialogues, climax, older girls don’t look like wrestlers (Have you seen Sakshi Malik, she looks like a wrestler), predictability
Controversy: There is a controversy about NSA coach. But, when you watch the movie you will understand why the NSA coach in real life is mad at this movie
My Rating: 3.5/5