The plot follows the regular small-town-girls-make-it-big theme. Every beat is predictable. And inspite of that, some pitch perfect execution makes the journey exhilarating.

The gender bias is brought forth with the subtlety of a hammer. It’s like when some local men speculate if they’ll see the girl’s shirt get torn up rather than the kushti she’s about to fight.

The wrestling matches are have been shot with breathtaking efficiency and, combined with the background score, provide an edge-of-the-seat experience. You cannot help but appreciate the effort that has gone into every move that you see.

Disney’s production is visible in every arena & akhada and even that poor water drum with cement marks adds to the authenticity of the film.

Amir Khan plays Mahavir Phogat, a 60-year-old former wrestler, a caring father and a stern coach to his daughters, with the utmost conviction and sincerity. It’s astonishing to see him disappear into his character and Amir, the ‘hero’ never pops up.

Fatima Sana Shaikh plays the older Geeta very well but it is Sanya Malhotra (playing Babita) who stands out and I dare say does better than Shaikh. The girls who play their younger versions are rebellious but endearing.

Sakshi Tanwar, who plays the mother, does good with the small role that she has. There’s also the cousin who stands in as a narrator and the comic relief. Girish Kulkarni‘s national coach is unnecessary and clichéd but doesn’t take anything away from the film.

Ever since it came out in 2007, Chak De! India has been our go-to ‘patriotic sports-movie’. Dangal might just have earned a spot right up there with it.


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