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Dangal (film)

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Hindi  दंगल
Narrated by  Aparshakti Khurrana
Director  Nitesh Tiwari
Budget  700 million INR
8.9/10 IMDb

Directed by  Nitesh Tiwari
Release date  23 December 2016 (India)
Featured song  Dangal
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Produced by  Aamir KhanKiran RaoSiddharth Roy Kapur
Written by  Nitesh TiwariPiyush GuptaShreyas JainNikhil Meharotra
Starring  Aamir KhanSakshi TanwarFatima Sana ShaikhSanya MalhotraKaustubh pileZaira Wasim
Production companies  UTV Motion Pictures, Aamir Khan Productions, Walt Disney Pictures
Cast  Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra, Sakshi Tanwar, Zaira Wasim

Similar  Sultan (2016 film), PK (film), Bajrangi Bhaijaan


Dangal (English: Wrestling competition) is a 2016 Indian Hindi-language biographical sports drama film directed by Nitesh Tiwari. It stars Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat, who taught wrestling to his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari. The former is India's first female wrestler to win at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she won the gold medal (55 kg). Her sister Babita Kumari won the silver (51 kg).


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The music for Dangal was composed by Pritam, while the lyrics were written by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Kripa Shankar Bishnoi, a coach with the Indian women's wrestling team, trained Aamir Khan and the entire crew for the wrestling sequences.

Dangal (film) Poster of Amir Khan39s feminist bollywood film 39Dangal39 released

Released worldwide on 23 December 2016, Dangal was declared tax-free in six Indian states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh – to promote Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, a Government of India's social campaign aiming to reduce selective abortion of females, to protect girls, and to educate them. Dangal was also released in Tamil and Telugu dubbed versions. At the 62nd Filmfare Awards, Dangal won four awards, including Best Film, Best Director (Tiwari), Best Action (Shyam) and Best Actor (Khan).

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Dangal emerged as the highest grossing Hindi film domestically, and one of the highest grossing Indian films of all time with a worldwide gross of 7.3 billion (US$110 million).

Dangal (film) Dangal film Wikipedia


Dangal (film) Dangal Trailer Review

Mahavir Singh Phogat is an amateur wrestler who was forced to give up wrestling in order to obtain gainful employment. He was unable to win a gold medal for India and vows that his son will. He is disappointed when his wife gives birth to four daughters. He gives up his dream thinking that girls cannot wrestle and should only be taught household chores. But when his older daughters, Geeta and Babita, come home after beating up two boys in response to derogatory comments, Mahavir realises his daughters have the potential to become wrestlers.

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Mahavir begins coaching Geeta and Babita in wrestling. His methods seem harsh, including grueling early morning workouts and short haircuts to avoid lice. Initially, the girls resent their father for his treatment but they soon realise that their father wants them to have a future and not grow up to be stereotypical housewives. The girls become motivated and willingly participate in Mahavir's coaching. Mahavir takes the girls to wrestling tournaments. Geeta and Babita both wrestle with boys and beat them, much to everyone's dismay. Geeta eventually wins the Junior Nationals and goes to an institute in Patiala for further training so that she can participate in the Commonwealth Games.

Geeta makes friends at the institute and begins to disregard the discipline she has been brought up with. She regularly watches TV, eats street food, and grows her hair longer. Her coach's training differs significantly from her father's techniques. Geeta believes her coach's techniques are better and that Mahavir's techniques are outdated. On a visit home, she is determined to show her father she can wrestle well without his techniques. This leads to a ferocious bout between Geeta and Mahavir. Mahavir loses against Geeta due to his age. Babita tells Geeta that she shouldn't forget her father's techniques and reminds her that it is because of their father that she is where she is now.

Babita soon follows Geeta to the institute. Geeta finds herself losing every match as she is not following her father's techniques or she is not fully focused on wrestling (painting her nails and growing her hair long). Realising her error, she tearfully makes peace with Mahavir. Mahavir comes to Patiala and begins coaching Geeta and Babita secretly, using the same methods as when they were younger. Their coach comes to know about this and is furious with Mahavir's interference and wants to expel them both from the institution, but a deal is struck to allow them to continue as long as Mahavir does not enter the institution or train them elsewhere. Determined to continue assisting his daughters, Mahavir obtains tapes of Geeta's previous unsuccessful bouts and coaches her by pointing out her errors over the phone.

During Geeta's bouts in the Commonwealth Games, Mahavir constantly contradicts her coach's instructions while sitting in the audience. Geeta disregards her coach and follows her father's instructions and wins every bout. Just before the final bout, Geeta's jealous coach conspires to lock Mahavir in a closet far away from the arena. Due to her father's absence, Geeta starts lagging behind in the bout where she manages to win the first round but loses the second. It's the final round and the score is 4-1 where Geeta is down. In the last handful of seconds Geeta becomes desperate to win some points but in return loses another. Now, the score is 5-1. Only a quarter of the final minute is left, and now, Geeta starts recalling her father's teachings. She recalls her father talking about a 5 pointer suplex back when she was young. Mahavir said that the suplex is difficult but can be applied. She also recalls her father saying that one has to play with the opponent's mind. Mahavir said that one has to show something and do something else. Combining these two teachings, Geeta gives her opponent a suplex in the final 3 seconds, leading to a score of 6-5 (Geeta being up) and becomes the first Indian female wrestler to win gold. Mahavir returns just in time to embrace his daughters, frustrating the coach's hopes of obtaining credit before the news media.

The end credits reveal that Babita also won a silver medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Geeta became the first Indian female wrestler to qualify for the Olympics and Mahavir's efforts inspired dozens of Indian women to participate in wrestling.


  • Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat
  • Sakshi Tanwar as Daya Shobha Kaur, wife of Mahavir Singh Phogat
  • Fatima Sana Shaikh as Geeta Phogat, daughter of Mahavir Singh Phogat
  • Zaira Wasim as young Geeta
  • Sanya Malhotra as Babita Kumari, daughter of Mahavir Singh Phogat
  • Suhani Bhatnagar as young Babita
  • Aparshakti Khurana as Omkara
  • Ritwik Sahore as young Omkara
  • Vivan Bhatena as Mahavir's colleague and a state level champion
  • Kaustubh Pile as Male Fighter No.2
  • Girish Kulkarni as Coach Pramod Kadam
  • Rohit Shankarwar
  • Meenu prajapati as geeta's best friend in NSA camp.
  • Development

    In 2012 Divya Rao, a member of Disney's creative team, read an article in a newspaper about Mahavir Singh Phogat, who trained his daughters to become world class champions. She thought this would make for a great film, and spoke about this to Siddharth Roy Kapur and other Disney personnel. Disney approached Nitesh Tiwari to write and direct the story. Tiwari met Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters, who instantly agreed to tell the story.

    In 2013 Siddharth Roy Kapur and Nitesh Tiwari went to Aamir Khan with the story, and Khan loved it in its first narration. Khan had just finished Dhoom 3 and started shooting for PK. Khan wanted to do the film after 5–10 years when he would be turning 60, because the script of the film demanded Khan to be 55 years old and he was still doing younger roles. But somewhere the story remained in his mind. After a few months he called up Nitesh Tiwari and asked him to narrate the script once again.

    In 2014, after the release of PK, Aamir Khan announced that he would play the role of a wrestler in his next film titled Dangal directed by Nitesh Tiwari, a cinematographic biography of the former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat. It would be produced by Khan himself and Disney's India. Khan said to reporters, "Nitesh has written a wonderful story. The topic is very important, it's very dramatic. It highlights the discrimination that is meted out to the girl child in India. The best part is that he has done it in a very entertaining manner. The heart of the story is emotional, but it also has a lot of humour. Raju Hirani has this unique way to tell a story where he says something socially very relevant but he tells his story in a very entertaining manner. Similarly Nitesh has written a very entertaining lovely script, the dialogues are very entertaining. Each time I listen to the dialogues, I laugh a lot. I cry as well as laugh."

    In March 2015, Junior Indian women's wrestling team coach Kripa Shankar Patel Bishnoi was approached by Aamir Khan Productions to train Khan and the entire crew of Dangal. Bishnoi said about the film in a Hindustan Times interview, "Very few Indians encourage women for wrestling, especially because of the uniform. This film will change that perception too. People would hopefully want to see their daughters taking up wrestling as a sport."

    Khan lost some weight and took Haryanvi lessons and dialect training for the film. He played two distinct roles in the film: the 60-year-old wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, and the 20-year-old version of Phogat. Khan reportedly gained 30 kg and weighs 98 kg to play the role of the older Phogat, then lost the weight to play the younger role in Dangal.


    In March 2015 Taapsee Pannu, Deeksha Seth and Akshara Haasan were being considered for the roles of Khan's on-screen daughters. In April 2015, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra were cast as the daughters, who hailed from the Jat community of Balali village of Bhiwani, Haryana. Geeta Phogat had participated in the London Olympics in 2012. Babita won gold in 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In June 2015, child actors Zaira Wasim (from Kashmir) and Suhani Bhatnagar (from Delhi) were roped in for Dangal. Ayushmann Khurrana's brother Aparshakti Khurrana was also cast. Mukesh Chhabra was the casting director of Dangal. Vikram Singh was recruited to play the role of the villain. Aamir Khan's nephew Pablo (son of Mansoor Khan) was the film's assistant director. Mallika Sherawat auditioned for a role. In August 2015, Rajkumar Rao, who previously worked with Aamir Khan in Talaash, was approached for an important role in Dangal. Finally, after auditioning 70 actresses for the role, Sakshi Tanwar was brought on as Daya Kaur, the wife of Mahavir Singh Phogat. Ananya was chosen to play Sangita, the youngest daughter of Mahavir Phogat. In October 2015, Vivan Bhatena was selected to play a negative role in the film. In an interview in January 2017, Divya Rao stated, if Aamir Khan have declined the role, the only other choices would have been Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan.


    The shooting schedule of Dangal began on 1 September 2015. The villages of Ludhiana were given a Haryanvi transformation. The shooting took place in the villages of Gujjarwal, Narangwal, Kila Raipur, Dango and Leel in Punjab and Haryana. Interestingly, the village of Dango, which is in the Pakhowal Tehsil in Ludhiana, is veteran actor Dharmendra's ancestral village.

    From September 2015 to December 2015, Aamir Khan gained 9% fat, weighing around 98 kg for Dangal, and from January 2016 to April 2016, he regained the shape that he had opted for in Dhoom 3 and will hear the script for next future films, halting shooting of Dangal for said period.

    The first scene was taken on 21 September 2015 in Ludhiana with the presences of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his both daughters Geeta Phogat, Babita Kumari.

    On 14 November 2015, while shooting in Ludhiana, Khan suffered minor injuries resulting in muscle spasms in his back. On November 20, 2015, Khan collapsed after sustaining a shoulder injury on the set. After suffering an injury Aamir Khan resumes shooting in Pune on 9 December 2015.

    The team filmed in and around stadiums at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. At the time, the complex hosted the 2015 Roll Ball World Cup, and athletes of the Netherlands national rollball team and Slovenia women's national roll ball team were recruited to play background athletes in the film. The team also shot some portions of the film in Symbiosis International University, Pune.

    On 19 January 2016, Khan and the entire crew of the film shot in Delhi, at Talkatora Stadium, to film wrestling sequences. The crew then moved to Thyagaraj Stadium to shoot sequences of Commonwealth Games and National Games. The first schedule of shooting was also done in schools and in Dango village, located in Pakhowal Tehsil in Ludhiana.

    The second schedule of the film started on 16 June 2016 at the Akhada Leel near Toosa village, in Ludhiana district. It is one of the largest villages in Punjab, India. Khan said, "When I came to Ludhiana, I was very fat. At that time, we shot for the scenes where Mahavir has become old. 85 per cent of the film is about his 'old' look only. Now we are shooting for the portion when Mahavir was young."


    Dangal was released in the United States on 21 December 2016 and worldwide on 23 December 2016. The film was shown on an estimated 4300 screens in India and 1000 screens internationally.

    Critical reception

    Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film holds an 83% approval rating, based on 6 reviews, with an average score of 7.3/10.

    Meena Iyer of The Times of India rated 4.5/5 stars, saying "The film is bound to inspire more women to seriously consider kushti as a sport." Iyer further said that the film has "an earthy soundtrack".

    Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times rated 4/5 stars, saying, "This could be Aamir (Khan)'s best performance till date."

    Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express rated 3/5 stars, saying "That was crucial for us to believe in this film, which borrows several elements from the real-Life." Gupta added, "It could have been made more polished than required."

    Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV rated 4/5 stars, saying "a hugely entertaining sporting saga that works simply as a piece of good old storytelling".

    Ananya Bhattacharya of India Today rated 4/5 stars, saying "Dangal is a crowd pleaser. It has stellar performances and an engaging story-telling." She added, "Music is used as a narrating device, and the songs don't affect the pace."

    Rohit Bhatnagar of Deccan Chronicle awarded full 5 stars, saying "Dangal is the best feast on this Christmas and one can't deny that the film is the best one of 2016."

    Raja Sen and Sukanya Verma of respectively rated 4.5/5 and 4/5 stars, saying "Dangal teaches us where rainbows lie in wrestling. Watch this film for the way it puts the 'her' in 'hero.'" and "Tiwari invests a great deal of time and energy in telling the magnificent real-life tale of the Phogats."

    Aniruddha Guha of awarded 4/5 stars, and praised the filmcraft of the wrestling scenes in particular. "The wrestling matches are beautifully choreographed and shot". 'Dangal' has moments of greatness and the aura of a classic, even though its lofty ambitions aren't always matched with the consistency demanded from a true epic. Yet, there's enough craftiness packed in its 160-minute runtime to win you over. 

    Mike McCahill of The Guardian rated 3/5 stars and said, "very solid, very sound entertainment, with thumpingly good songs".

    Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times commented that the film is formulaic as sports films go, but that "the movie benefits from the amount of time it devotes to wrestling strategy."

    Nandini Ramnath of in giving her verdict on the film says that, "Dangal is a chronicle of the industriousness, perseverance and personal sacrifice that produce sporting champions, but it is above all a tribute to obsession". Every age produces the cinema it deserves, and with its insistence on absolute obedience to an authoritarian figure, Dangal is inadvertently a reflection of our times. Daddy truly does know best, and Dangal harbours no doubt whatsoever that his daughters are wise not to question him. 

    Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu noted in his personal blog that "Aamir is essentially playing an anti-hero, a madman.". It's strange that a man who recognises the unfairness of not being granted leave to train his daughter is unable to see that he's doing what other men around him are doing – he's "marrying his daughter off," at a very young age, to a sport. Aamir brings out these contradictions beautifully – this is one of his finest performances. 

    Azad Essa, a journalist with Al Jazeera South Africa and a co-founder of The Daily Vox observed that "Given the influence of Bollywood to tweak with the national imagination, the film is set to stir a national discussion in India.". The elevation of women is still a manifestation of an unfulfilled male dream. It is the male coach who emerges as the true hero, and not the women. 

    Tanul Thakur of praises the movie for a brilliant first half, that, "Dangal cares about the world it's set in, achieving much by trying little". Mahavir training her daughters – are more about how life is lived, as opposed to how it should be, how one lack of choice can be better than the other. There's very little sermonising here, and as a result, the first half of Dangal with its sharp writing, impressive acting, smart editing and cinematography, makes for a satisfying watch.  but he also criticises the movie for a repetitive and bloated second half. "The film then devotes a substantial amount of runtime in showing how Mahavir was right all along". Dangal's fixated on convincing us that Mahavir can never be wrong, that the problem is always with Geeta. It's a strange implication, underscored in scene after scene, that Geeta is nothing without her father, a man. 

    Box office

    Dangal became the 2nd Indian film to cross the 7 billion (US$100 million) mark after PK. Dangal is second Indian film to gross more than Rs 2 billion in overseas markets, after PK grossed US$46.52 million (Rs 2.94 billion).


    The film collected 298 million (US$4.4 million) on its opening day which is recorded as the second highest non-holiday opening. On its second day, the film collected 348 million (US$5.2 million) and on the third day collections were 424 million (US$6.3 million) taking the first weekend collections to 1.07 billion (US$16 million). On 9 January 2017, Dangal became the highest grossing Indian film domestically, beating Aamir Khan's previous film PK.


    Having grossed approximately US$11.46 million (780.7 million) at the North America box office, the Gulf box office crossed 563 million (US$8.4 million).In Australia, Dangal has collected $1.86 million (126.5 million) till date and has emerged as the All Time Highest Grosser in the region. At the U.K box office, the movie has grossed $3.93 million (267.4 million). At the New Zealand box office, the movie has collected 29.8 million (US$440,000) and has emerged as the highest-grossing film in the region. Dangal collected $29.43 million (Rs 2006.5 million) from total overseas sources.

    Facts vs Fiction

    While the core of the movie’s story holds true to the real life events of Mahavir Singh Phogat, director Nitesh Tiwari allowed himself a few cinematic liberties to make plot more dramatic. Following are a few facts shown in Dangal that differ from what happened in the real life of the Phogats.

    1. Geeta Phogat had won the final game of Commonwealth game in straight two rounds by defeating her opponent by "1-0 & 7-0". The movies shows that she won the game in a dramatic way by scoring 5 points on the last second of third round.
    2. As per the movie Geeta lost all her international fights before Commonwealth games but she had won a gold medal in Commonwealth Championship a year before Commonwealth games.
    3. There was no such crooked and insecure coach in her life as shown in the movie. The real life coach has mentioned that no such event really happened and has threaten to sue Amir Khan for portraying the coach's character, which is loosely based on him, as a villain in the movie. According to the coach, Mahavir Singh ji was a gentleman and never interfered in his coaching.
    4. The movie shows that Mahavir Singh Phogat was locked up by someone, as instructed by NSA's coach, just before the final game so he could not give instructions to his daughter during the game. However, any such event didn't happen and Phogat was present at the final game in real life.


    The film's music is composed by Pritam. Lyrics are penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya in Hindi, and Rajesh Malaravannan in Tamil. It was reported that Daler Mehndi has sung a song in the movie.


    Dangal (film) Wikipedia