"Wrestling with Emotions: A Dangal Review"
Posted Saturday, Nov 18, 2023 74
Dangal is the compelling story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former wrestler, who trains his daughters Geeta and Babita to follow in his footsteps and become India`s top wrestlers. Set in a small village in Haryana, it explores their journey of overcoming societal norms, personal struggles, and professional challenges to win gold for their country at the Commonwealth Games.
The film wrestles with themes of feminism, perseverance, and breaking gender stereotypes within a deeply patriarchal society. The tone switches seamlessly from being motivational and uplifting to thought-provoking and emotionally heavy, as it showcases the conflict between tradition and progress.
Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat is transformative, commanding the screen with a powerful and nuanced performance. The performances by newcomers Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra, who play Geeta and Babita, are absolutely stellar, delivering a raw and realistic portrayal of grit and fervor.
Nitesh Tiwari`s direction is masterful, fostering an environment where the story unfolds organically. His attention to the subtleties of human emotion and the dynamics of a tight-knit family contributes significantly to the film`s impact.
The soundtrack enhances the film`s inspirational aura, with Pritam`s rousing compositions and emotionally charged lyrics that are beautifully woven into the narrative, acting as a catalyst for the characters` growth.
Set against the rustic backdrops of rural India, the cinematography of `Dangal` is both vibrant and telling. The camera work during the wrestling sequences is particularly noteworthy, bringing the audience up close to the intensity of the sport.
The film`s production design convincingly recreates the rural settings of Haryana in the 2000s and the various wrestling arenas, contributing to the authentic feel of the time and place.
While `Dangal` relies more on its narrative strength than on visual effects, the subtlety with which effects are used to enhance the wrestling scenes is commendable, adding to the film`s visceral impact.
The editing is crisp, ensuring the film`s narrative remains engaging and tight. Transitions between the past and present are seamless, adding depth to the story.
Though the film runs for more than two hours, its pacing is deliberate, allowing the audience to fully invest in the characters` emotional arcs while keeping them riveted through the wrestling sequences.
The dialog is heartfelt and often inspiring, with several lines likely to resonate with audiences long after the film ends. Local dialect and humor infuse the film with realism and charm.
While `Dangal` hits most of its marks, it occasionally teeters on the edge of melodrama. Additionally, the film could be critiqued for employing a male character to drive a female-centric narrative, which might seem at odds with the film`s feminist ethos.
Dangal is an emotional rollercoaster that grapples with your heart and leaves you cheering. Its culmination is a cinematic triumph that not only entertains but also enlightens, as it addresses societal issues with sensitivity and courage. Despite minor shortcomings, it`s a cinematic powerhouse that resonates with a universal story of dreams, determination, and the unyielding spirit of human potential.