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DANGAL - A fine Indian Sports movie that tells you about the sport too, creating an authentic, emotional environment through all natural acts & a masterstroke in its second half differentiating it from the recent similar films. (Review By Bobby Sing)

23 Dec, 2016 | Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / D / Movie Reviews / 2016 Releases

DangalAs a widely known fact DANGAL is based on the real life inspiring story of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters Geeta and Babita, who after getting the initial training from their father became the international champions fighting against all odds of the society and the system together. Beginning with the training of two elder girls (out of four), the film largely focuses on Geeta, who became the first Indian woman to win a gold in 2010 Commonwealth Games (Wrestling) and the first Indian woman to qualify for the Olympics. Later, the younger Babita also won her gold at the Commonwealth Games making the family proud.   

For friends interested in reading more about it as a book, the authorized biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat is also available now titled AKHADA.

Made on a completely familiar format of an underdog winning it in the end (as always there in a sports movie), DANGAL still successfully manages to leave an impact due to many reasons. But first would like to describe how one feels while watching it in the theatre experiencing all natural performances.

First Half

DANGAL right away begins with one of the best scenes of the film where a fight is arranged between two government employees (former wresting champions) within the office itself. And the perfectly fitting commentary running in the backdrop (coming from an Olympic telecast on TV) makes it a well-directed sequence ensuring a fine film ahead.

The next 40 minutes introduce you to an extremely talented and exceptionally chosen cast led by Aamir Khan and Sakshi Tanwar transformed into a Haryanvi couple. But this particular part of the film truly belongs to the young girls (Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar) and their thin funny cousin (Ritwik Sahore, narrating the story too), bringing in the much needed timely humour along with showcasing a very relevant social curse of a collective displeasure felt for a ‘girl child’ by the entire village.

For the ones looking for some electrifying filmy entertainment, there is not much of that happening in these initial 45 minutes but the film does hold you well (featuring the brilliant ‘Bapu Hanikarak’ song) and pulls you in through all believable real life characters building a very fine authentic environment of a small village of Haryana and its typical dialect. Especially because of the kids handled extremely well by director Nitesh Tiwari, (using his experience of CHIILAR PARTY and BHOOTHNATH RETURNS) the film begins to make an impression, but you also feel like missing the promised, electrifying entertainment putting it in honest words.

Thankfully the calm beginning ends with an introductory dangal of Geeta with another trained boy, which is a first for the entire region full of all male wrestlers. And the fight is complete winner followed by an equally energetic ‘Dhaakad’ track raising the excitement levels in the theater. The film takes a huge spirited leap from here onwards and the girls grow up as Fatima Sana Shaikh & Sanya Malhotra taking the baton forward like in an exciting relay race.

Next, post a few moments of dragging story progression we have the intermission (on another calm note like the beginning) and one truly feels like watching a good movie, superbly supported by all praise-worthy, well-chosen performers pointing towards the key issues of rural India and Indian Sports quite thoughtfully. However till here the surprise or novelty factor is still no-where to be found, which is always the USP of a new Aamir Khan film.

Second Half

Post interval, even the well written songs fail to make any mark and the slower pace gets picked up by the next best scene of the film, a brilliantly directed fight between the father and daughter with anger expressed beautifully by the two contestants.

Meanwhile SRK makes an entry through a DDLJ clip (a gimmick played) and the film shifts its attention towards another major issue in Indian Sports scenario dealing with the ‘Right or Wrong Coaching’ given to a player as per his or her individual capabilities.

Another silent phone sequence between the father and daughter excels like an emotional outburst and then comes the most important surprise element of the film. A masterstroke that clearly differentiates DANGAL from any other similar genre film in the past, beginning an entirely new game as soon as Aamir cuts off the phone and says “Main Aa Reha Han Patiala”.

From here onwards DANGAL picks up the gear and brings in a completely novel factor of ‘Parallel Coaching’ into the narration that simply makes you think about the annoying trauma actually felt by the real Mahavir Singh Phogat. The humour keeps flowing in through the one-liners assigned to the now grown-up cousin (lovingly played by Aparshakti Khurana). But without hiding the fact, it’s this ‘parallel coaching’ insertion in the film only, which in reality lifts DANGAL to much higher levels, otherwise till here it frankly remains a well-intentioned, realistically fine film, wonderfully supported by a splendid cast.

Adding to this finer edge, the writer-director (courageously) remain devoted towards the sport in the film’s final hour, resulting in one of those rare sport movies that even teaches you the basic rules, point system and the tricks of the game too in a quite detailed manner (surely deserving some extra brownie points without any doubt).

Predictable culmination and a feeling of deja-vu returns back again in the last 20 minutes (as always there in a sport based film). But unfortunately here one also gets to see an ages old filmy trap executed by a weak, caricature kind of villain, that surely could have been replaced with something not so clichéd maintaining the quality vision. In short this ‘old world’ finale trick can easily be called as the major unexpected downer contradicting with the film’s entire vision.

Having said that, the final round still effectively brings you onto the edge of your seats and you do feel immense proud watching the daughter running towards her so committed father, gifting him the precious gold medal won after the toughest fight. 


Coming to the decisive section of the write-up, yes DANGAL is not entirely fresh or novel, compared to what you have already seen in SULTAN and SAALA KHADOOS released this year only. Yet it still moves way ahead than majority of sports movies made in India due to its following exceptional merits.. 

1. In DANGAL, director Nitesh Tiwari refuses to add anything just for the sake of entertainment which eventually turns the film into a highly authentic one wherein the characters are easily able to make an instant emotional connection with the viewers.

2. Even the songs are not added as some ‘required’ item numbers (as usual) and they take the story forward coming at the right moments namely, “Bapu Hanikarak” (written so well), “Dhaakad” and the powerful title song “Dangal Dangal” in the forceful voice of Daler Mehndi.

3. Set in rural Haryana (one of major regions (along Punjab) where the problem actually exists) the film talks about the brutal differentiation practiced with the girl child and beautifully depicts the same in a quite subtle yet highly effective manner in the first half. A fact that was not so skillfully represented in all the earlier films based on a similar premise. And yes daughters are not born to just get married after two decades as some kind of burden felt by the family. There can be much more there in their life apart from the timely marriage.  

4. DANGAL is also one of those rare sports movies which truly focuses on the game throughout and teaches its basic rules, tricks and finer moments too, which in turn helps the viewer to enjoy the match sequences and its various rounds even better.

5. Displaying a technical edge in terms of cinematography and background score, this turns out to be a true sports movie where the director and his cameraman are not interested in any gimmicks while shooting the competition sequences, but remain focused on the authenticity of the game (making a thorough research), without any unnecessary (over the top) glorification of their central character.

6. Probably for the first time, an Indian sports movie actually brings forward the issue of ‘Right and Wrong Coaching’ by the questionably appointed trainers for the contesting candidates. The film strongly points towards the fact that A WIN largely depends upon the quality of coaching too that needs to be given to the potential players as per their individual strengths and weaknesses. A basic point of common sense that essentially has to be there in every sport training program and selection procedure (not properly followed in our flawed and biased system).

7. Related to the above point, the writer-director play one masterstroke 30 minutes post the intermission dealing with ‘the conflicting parallel coaching’ by the talented father, bringing in the novelty, proving the film to be much maturely written, performed and executed compared to all the recent similar ones.

8. Lastly but most importantly, DANGAL becomes DANGAL because of its exceptionally perfect casting by Mukesh Chhabra bringing in many fresh faces including the young kids and girls who perform outstandingly standing in front of an actor like Aamir Khan. Particularly Zaira Wasim is an absolute natural and a delight to watch as the young Geeta and Fatima Sana Shaikh is just perfect playing the older Geeta in the major competitions. Both Suhani and Sanya (as Babita) touch your heart standing at the back and so does Sakshi Tanwar playing the mostly silent supportive mother in her few scenes.

Above all, Aamir Khan once again reminds you of the effort, preparation and the transformation he goes for in his every new film with an amazing commitment. And I seriously doubt someday one might think of writing a book on his various avatars in films like LAGAAN, GHAJINI, MANGAL PANDEY, RANG DE BASANTI, TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, 3 IDIOTS, PK, DANGAL and the upcoming ventures. (Interestingly the other similar idea stuck in my mind since years is of someone trying a book on the various get-ups of PRAN in his many films). Anyway, as always, there was no Aamir Khan to be found in DANGAL but only his character Mahavir Phogat on screen throughout the 160 minutes and I honestly could only find the ‘unusual ears’ reminding me of the actor Aamir Khan in some key sequences.

Summing up, it’s the casting, performances and the masterstroke played in the second half that raises the bar in DANGAL which otherwise might not be considered as any classic, masterpiece venture by many like-minded friends (including myself). The film has its weaker moments and a familiar set-up too coming after a series of similar genre films released in the last two years, but a worth watching movie for sure for its much stronger merits and the unique, novel features mentioned above.

However the one debate, DANGAL leaves you with….. is the choice between two kinds of father (or parents) you would like to be in your personal life.

One, who wishes and forces his kids to become and achieve what he couldn’t achieve for various reasons in his own prime time.
The other, who imposes nothing of that sort on his kids and let them be what they wish to be, walking along as an experienced guiding friend on their own chosen path.

With due respect, loving regards and a big salute to Sh. Mahavir Phogat, I would personally like to be the second father. Cannot say what the majority of readers here would like to be!

Rating : 3.5 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for the much appreciable perfect casting)

LESS – 1 for the 'Shameless Increase In Ticket Prices' for which no STAR seems to be concerned at all including the producer-actor Aamir Khan, who could have easily taken the lead continuing his social drive of SATYAMEV JAYATE.

NET RATING : 3 / 5

(with a hope that this Multiplex Mafia, Industry and Government together would soon look into the price issue and save the theater experience fast slipping away from the reach of the common man.)

Tags : Dangal Review by Bobby Sing, Dangal Film Review by Bobby Sing, Hindi Sports Movie, Indian Sports movie inspired by real life heroes, Biographical Sports Movies of India, Film on Mahavir Phogat, Hindi film on Wrestling, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Real Life Inspired Hindi Biographical Films
23 Dec 2016 / Comments ( 14 )
Dear Bobby




Best Regards,

Vikas Saitya

Bobby Sing

:) Thanks for the early comment Vikas.
The review in details is now posted.
Do share your views after going through it.


Jai Shah

Completely agree with your review. Superb film that directly connects emotionally. No technical gloss, no fancy angles. A story simply told with subtlety & honesty. Superb performances from all. Aamir, Sakshi, both Geetas & Babitas and their cousin brother in both avatars.

Hats off to Aamir for playing a character totally opposite to the one he played in 3 Idiots which I just watched yesterday. In the latter he advocated that children should be allowed to choose their own profession while here he does just the opposite. And he is convincing in both....

Regarding Bobby ji\'s query, I would like to be the 2nd category of parent who would support the child in whatever profession it would select....
Wish there were a few scenes involving other 2 daughters also in the film. But it was an emotional journey throughout and I couldn\'t hold back my tears in several scenes including the telepnone one. More so because I had gone with my daughter to watch this film....

To sum it up DANGAL is not just a film but an EXPERIENCE one cannot miss.

Bobby Sing

Dear Jai Shah Ji,
Thanks a lot for your detailed comment and yes its indeed a worth watching film for all. And I really feel it would have become even much bigger if it had released before SULTAN, SAALA KHADOOS and even MARY KOM.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,


With due respect, loving regards and a big salute to Sh. Mahavir Phogat, I would personally like to be the second father. Cannot say what the majority of readers here would like to be!

I totally agree with this because our children just like the animal kingdom must be taught to realise their full potential only by their parents. Ya.its little bit complicated as there is a chance of greed and biased impact on the part of parents if they are not fully known what they are doing... ..A couplet of Thirukkural #67 also mentions this ...like the father's only duty is to make his children to be their leader of their clan/learned members. Nice detailed review.. :)

Bobby Sing

Dear Bavani,
Many loving thanks for your insightful comment and appreciation.
Unfortunately I am not aware of the couplets of Thirukkural #67.... But as you have mentioned the message is very right and important too particularly in the present scenario.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,


Vikas Saitya

Dear Bobby,
Movie is excellent, watched with family on Friday morning.
I have a 8.5 yr old Daughter (Cheshta), her query were , How Many star given by BTC? as if she wants to authenticate her enjoyment with your rating.

You have one more little admirer in your ever growing list.

There is one more powerful scene ,apart from you had already mentioned, "THE MARRIAGE SCENE INVOLVING GEETA ,BABITA & THERE FRIEND" which leaves lot to think abt.

One more point, Four Girls, especially younger & older Geeta is given performances which can be easily surpasses AK\'s performance.
Character change from younger geeta to older geeta is perfect, I doubt
this type of perfect casting by Mukesh Chhabra is ever achieved in Indian cinema.

Best Regards,
Vikas Saitya

Bobby Sing

Dear Vikas,
First of all give my love and wishes to Cheshta with a big thanks for being interested in BTC's verdict over new movies.
Now small and young kids in my family too are checking the site for my ratings as then they easily get approval from their parents if its a high star rating movie.

Coming to the film, it truly has many fine scenes as you have mentioned and another is when Aamir divides the Ladoo between his two daughters, which is given by someone (in the market) extremely happy for his newly born son. Besides yes certainly this is one film wherein Aamir has actually taken a back seat as per the requirement of the real life inspired script.

And as I have said DANGAL actually became DANGAL due to its so perfect casting.

Best Regards


There is no doubt about the fact that it is an awesome movie, but I feel Aamir Khan and the makers took too much of creative liberty, this being a movie based on real-life sports person.

Can you imagine the movie Sachin (yet to be released) ending with a SIX hit by the master batsman that wins India the World Cup?
Or can you imagine the movie Azhar having a scene where Azhar lifts the World Cup?
No, it can be only in the movie DHONI, because that is the truth!

The entire fun of parallel coaching and closely-fought matches are no where near the reality of Geeta Phogat\'s actual journey.
Neither the Father Vs Coach scenario, nor the nail-biting matches did actually take place.
In fact the winning score of the final match was also \'modified\'.
It was a cake-walk for Geeta to win the final match of Commonwealth.

Just because this sport is not as famous as cricket, I guess people have \'accepted\' those creative liberties in this movie.
But it also makes us feel bad about coaches, I mean do we really have that level of coaching?

Bobby Sing

Dear SD,
Creative liberties are always taken in a biographical film to spice up the things and therefore in the beginning they say this is a film inspired from the real life events of the chosen figure.
Yes they are no doubt a bit more and over the top in the Hindi biographies. 
A few months back DHONI also did it simply forgetting his real elder brother in the family just like that.

Keep Visiting and Writing in.


Dear Bobby

Two more points raised by a friend.

1) Why there is empahsis given to NON-VEG, as we have very own successful Sushil Kumar purely Vegetarian winner of Olympic medal. (Agreed to the point)

2) Non depiction of Bajranbali in any scene, while in Sultan it was there
Is it due to hardcore muslim belief by Mr. Perfectionist ( not sure)

Your insight & indepth analysis required, as Point 1 can seriously promote
Non Veg culture in a big way.


Bobby Sing

Dear Vikas,
Both points brought forward are very valid and acceptable.

1) Yes it was really unnecessary giving this kind of emphasis to the Non-Veg. Particularly when there are key examples proving it wrong.

2) A few people might have some arguments to this had it been Punjab or a Punjab's Akhada. But since it was Haryana so I think that can be a deliberate miss....... quite possible.



Dear Bobby,
Since the topic is of Dangal the big movie of 2016 and of all times, allow me to add some Trivia to this.

Did you know there was another movie by the same name but in Bhojpuri and it was released in the late 70\'s with Sujit Kumar, Prema Narayan and Ifthikar.
It was also the first movie of Music Directors Nadeem Shravan and the late Mohd Rafi also sang in it.
Hope this info will be of some value to Movie Buffs like me.

Bobby Sing

Dear Kenny G,
I knew about a movie with the same name in the mid 70s. But didnt know it was the first movie of Nadeem Shravan.
So thanks a lot for adding this rare info here in comments.

Keep Visiting and writing in.

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