Posts Tagged ‘ Sanya Malhotra ’

Dangal

dangal-poster

Dangal
Release date: December 23, 2016
Directed by: Nitesh Tiwari
Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Rohit Shankarwar, Aparshakti Khurrana, Girish Kulkarni, Vivan Bhatena

Heroics of the Phogat Sisters, Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar over the years, and the recent surge of Sakshi Malik at this year’s Summer Olympics have resuscitated life into the long-forsaken sport of amateur wrestling. To top it off, the only victors of any medals, or, any memorable performances of any kind at the said event were all by young women. Dipa Karmakar, PV Sindhu, and Malik, thrust into the collective pop-culture with immense glory.

For the second time in a single year, wrestling is bestowed upon attention that the sport has not seen in years of cinema, where an akhaadaa would only be used for comic relief or as a den for the brawny henchmen for the bad guys, at the most. The desi training grounds are treated with reverence and for what they are, strongholds of men who deem women entering the field as a potential sin that could land them in hell.

Mahavir Phogat (Aamir Khan) is a national wrestling champion who rues on missing out on winning a medal for his country on the international scale. Like many other athletes from the country, he suffices with a safe job to cater for his family, instead of persisting on with his passion for the sport. A son or two to fulfill his personal aspirations, is all he needs. But as fate would have it, his wife would birth four daughters, in the film’s most satirical sequences, where every member of the village has their own method on how to conceive a male child. The suggestions fail, and Mahavir’s dreams come crashing.

Until the oldest of the quartet, Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and the plucky Babita (Suhani Bhatnagar) beat up boys for bullying them. Mahavir does not reprimand his daughters, as his eyes widen in disbelief, and the realization sets in. All he wanted was gold for his nation on the big stage, and women can very well do that. The girls, first surprised at their father’s reaction, soon turn into soldiers for his marching orders. Borrowing their cousin’s trousers to turn them into the traditional knickers, so they can run at ease. The socks with their loosened elastic grip around the little girls’ feet. Knockoffs of branded polo shirts. The authenticity is pleasing. Mahavir’s wife’s outright refusal at allowing meat to be cooked in her kitchen. The film solidifies its strains through the many things that it gets right: the girls collectively revolting against their father, the young bride with a mournful deadpan on her face while the overgrown adults gush at the wedding, the veritable Haryanvi dialects down to the hilt.

The young girls blossom into women. From here on, the struggle for the international gold intensifies. Dangal, the film’s crowning jewels are the four young women and their casting, direction and the finer details to their costumes, cosmetic appearances and wrestling technicalities, providing greater depth to the film, much like the corner pockets of a pool table. What would a plain cue-game table surface be without the drop pockets? Aamir Khan, as the coach, father, and overwhelming patriarch of a slowly-progressing Haryanvi hamlet  is compelling, cruel and achingly wonderful. Be it the rotund paunch, the dusted kurtaa paijaamaa and somewhat glued gamchaa around his shoulders. A natural progression in the behavioural pattern of Mahavir Phogat, as he ages from the young office clerk to the father gracefully folding his hands at a grovelling wrestling roadshow organizer. The hothead in him, springing into action when the occasion requires.

Fatima Sana Shaikh as Geeta is tenacious, earnest and fresh. The obliging nods that Indians usually give off while obliging to their seniors, the dimpled gentle shy smile and the beautifully choreographed double-arm underhook and Fisherman suplexes, a complete wrestler. Sanya Malhotra as the slightly little more obedient younger Babita is equally intriguing to watch. The rigorous physical routines are captured to the last bit. The young Zaira and Suhani practice their bridging and hip tosses enthusiastically. Except for the final German suplex that looks a little off in slow-motion towards the climax, Kripa Shankar Bishnoi’s wrestling choreography is excellent. A special mention for Girish Kulkarni’s conniving coach act.

The picturization of the athletic events is decently notable. The presentation is a lot better than earlier sport films. Daler Mehndi, Raftaar, Jonita Gandhi and Sarwar Khan – Sartaz Khan Barna, Saddy Ahmad collaborate with Pritam to render a thumping soundtrack that colludes perfectly with the narrative. Though, what transcends the superb technical quality of the film, is the clear assertion of the film’s women as the film’s true deserving heroes. In a film universe, where young women are constantly commodified into mascots for product placements, Dangal creates role-models for little girls and boys to look up to. Thoroughly enjoyable, moving and powerful; this is undoubtedly one of the best films of this year.

My rating: ****1/2 (4.5 out of 5)

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