The last movie that we caught on big screen in 2016 was Dangal. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, this movie was my ‘welcome back from Chennai’ gift from S. Having read no reviews, I had no idea what to expect. And to say that I was blown away is an understatement.
Dangal is about Geeta Kumari Phogat and Babita Kumari Phogat – two wrestlers from Haryana who brought laurels to our country. More than the wrestlers, it a story about their father – Mahavir Singh Phogat, who coached them to be international champions. Frankly speaking, I was a little embarrassed that I didn’t know anything about these champions until I watched this movie. That’s the sad state of our country where only cricket is celebrated.
About the movie itself, I enjoyed the first half thoroughly. The second half fell a bit flat for me, as I found it a little clichéd. But then, what else can be done when it is the natural track of the story? The best part of the movie was Aamir Khan and the two young girls who played Geeta & Babita Juniors. I am willing to watch the movie again and again, just for these people.
All said and done, I had a few issues digesting the facts of the story (not the movie). While I understand that the want for a boy child is still very much prevalent in our country even now, it was hard coming to terms with watching it as a movie on big screen. I was literally waiting for that moment when Mahavir Singh realizes that girls could be wrestlers too. And later, when I read about the life of Geeta Kumari Phogat I learnt that it was actually Mahavir’s wife who was unhappy with the girl babies. For a minute, I was shattered. But then again, this is the reality in some homes even now. If this movie helps change the attitude towards girl children even in one home, that is an achievement in itself.
Mahavir Singh being a national level wrestler himself withdraws from the game owing to money & family issues. So he makes it his lifetime dream to achieve a gold medal for his country through his daughters. This is where I had the biggest issue. Parents forcing their wishes and dreams on their children. When is it or is it ever going to stop? Yes, I did feel proud when Geeta finally got that international gold medal for our country. But was it her dream? When an idea is thrusted (in this case, it literally was thrust into Geeta & Babita’s lives) on you and your life is made to revolve only around that, without realizing it becomes your dream too. But isnt it wrong on the part of a parent to do so, even if it is for the greater good? I was literally in tears when Mahavir chops off the girls’ hair amidst their constant pleading. Both the girls end up sacrificing a lot and in the process forget what their dreams are.
I couldnt help but compare it with another movie that released last year too – M S Dhoni, The Untold Story. Dhoni sacrifices as a lot and undergoes so much before accomplishing as one of the best captains Team India has ever had. But it was his choice and he fought for it. I found it mighty inspirational.
No one’s life can be compared with others but then again, I couldn’t help wonder what would Geeta and Babita have become today if not for their father’s dream.