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Dangal is a much-needed breath of fresh air in Indian cinema with its ageing heroes romancing young heroines.
Profound wisdom emanates from the simpler moments of life, when one halts for a moment and changes perspective. So is the case when a 14-year old bride says to the disgruntled daughters of Mahavir Singh Phogat, “Your father at least takes an interest in you. He accepts your existence and is striving to give your life a shape worthy enough of dignity.”
That is enough to awaken in the daughters a renewed zeal to follow the drill and agonizingly disciplined regime their father has set for them.
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Indian cinema needed this Dangal for so many reasons! We will digress for a while but well, I am inundated with so many thoughts that each reason can make a blog post in itself.
The Indian male protagonist is so self-centered to date that very rarely do we see him allowing himself to look anything less than perfect. He always wants to be in command and if possible, present in every frame right till the end. His real age notwithstanding, he is the epitome of eternal youth. He has to romance beauties half his age. He has to win and if he cannot, he will use his progeny to break his bones to near death (Apne, remember?) There are long drawn guilt trips for the poor unsuspecting progeny and ultimately a grander end.
Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat is so adorable with this big paunch and Haryaanvi dialect. There is a very simple equation with his wife, Daya Kaur played by Sakshi Tanwar – “I don’t understand your decisions but…” and he requests “Ek saal de de munne…”
Aamir dominates the screen as the father with an ambition… a father with a vision; a father with an iron hand at discipline and yet, one who is willing to change perspectives. I too wish to say “Kaash ye mere Pappa hote…”
It is a Dangal of sorts for its perspective on the girl-boy paradigm. What they can or cannot do or rather, what we think ‘they can or cannot do’! Again from deeper disappointment and little moments, the mindset changes in a father who is living in a very orthodox, rural set up.
Kudos to a Movie that might go on to become a classic for us like Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par and 3 Idiots. It is a grounded effort par excellence. Indian cinema needed Dangal for all these reasons and many more.
For Indian movies to move out of thinking that domestic violence and marital abuse and rapes are just maladies that women go through!
For Indian movies to stop thinking that a woman is attractive only when she sways her hips in little clothing. For Indian movies to stop thinking that a man has to have six pack abs and is needed always to rescue a woman from dire circumstances in the form of a father or husband.
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