Dangal Review

Cinema is subjective. Various research has been done so as to analyze this strange phenomenon where a person hates a movie which thousands may love. Recently, I read that an impressing beginning creates a positive vibe about the movie in one-fourth of the audiences. In that case I am really happy for Dangal. No starting sequence has set the tone of what is about to follow as aptly as Dangal since, I even dare to say this, that horrifying Normandy sequence in Saving Private Ryan which encapsulated the entire feeling of dread which was to follow.

Dangal is about Mahavir Phogat who trains his daughters, Babita and Geeta, to become world class wrestlers, so as to win a gold medal for their nation.

Whenever Indian cinema is pitted against world cinema, I SHIVER. It is like Real Madrid playing with Barcelona (have fun figuring out which one I insulted). Well, here is another weapon to my arsenal. One of the few things that I have noticed through my acquaintance with Indian cinema, and I take immense pride in this, we make some pretty badass sports movies. Lagaan, Mary Kom, Iqbal, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and so many names. And this one again capture the essence of sports.

The focus is on the technicality. The matches are not of importance here, what matters is how a champion is molded and with a 160 minute run time, there is ample space for character development which is brilliantly utilized. I know I might have quashed any interest you may have had to watch this movie with the 160-minute run time bomb, but believe me, there won’t be a single moment where you will look down in your watch and go ‘Crap, Emma Watson was hosting SNL tonight. What the hell I am doing here ?’ And believe me, when I say it is Emma Watson-missable good, I mean business !

Aamir Khan is…… Every frame, that he is in, should be studied by those who aspire to become actors. This is how you act. Secret is, you don’t act, you become the character. Here is a character that has so many complex layers. You can interpret him as a Good Samaritan, a true patriot, or even a complete jerk and yet you wouldn’t be able to not admire him. This kind of performances are like those dreams we pray to have. That brief five second scene where he acknowledges the audience after his victory in the nationals itself brought me to tears. The rest of the cast is phenomenal. Fatima Sana Sheikh is at par with Khan in her performance. This paring emulates the same warmth Clint Eastwood- Hilary Swank duo did in Million Dollar Baby.

Sethu Sriram’s cinematography makes ample use of the effects used by John Seale in Mad Max : Fury Road with the characters’ marching giving an hallucinatory and in-the-moment kind of effect. And the best thing, no shaky cams ! It is a stupid style of cinematography (except when utilized by Paul Greengrass) which vandalizes the efforts of the action choreographer because the audience cannot get a freaking thing and it is sort of an insult to the actors themselves who have put in their all in perfecting the sport. His cinematography makes the very nervousness of the sport palpable on the screen. The background score is heart-wrenching.

If we talk about faults, the only one I could find was that the spotlight was to a major portion on Geeta Phogat which made me feel kinda missing out on the career of her equally illustrious sister Babita. Here exploits in this discipline are only focused upon in a very short period of time, as compared to the screen time her sister’s exploits enjoy.

However, that doesn’t take shine from this stupendous masterpiece in the sports genre which should be watched as soon as possible. My love for India enhanced quadruple times after watching Dangal. Not just because of the patriotic content, but because of the heights this film has reached Indian cinema to.

P.S. This film has been cited by some as example of patriarchy rather than woman empowerment which it is about because Mahavir made them wrestlers, by going against their initial negative stance on wrestling on this, I cite a quote from Breaking Bad, which although was said in a different context, summarized aptly my feeling about this issue ‘And a man, a man provides. And he does it even when he’s not appreciated, or respected, or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he’s a man.’

RATING : 9.5 / 10

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