The Other Side Of Dangal

Posted by yadu krishnan in Culture-Vulture
January 4, 2017

“Dangal”, the movie based on the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters who changed the face of Indian wrestling, is the talk of the town these days. Movie critics and lovers are praising the dedication and the effort put in by the team to take the film to the screens. However, even as India feels patriotic about the film, there are certain aspects that everyone is conveniently forgetting. Technically, the film is a masterpiece. Ranging from songs, the perfection of the wrestling matches and the training undergone by the actors to make the film look convincing, has to be appreciated. The life and story of the Phogat family is, without a shadow of doubt, inspiring for this generation and is definitely something which needs to be brought to the screens. But the real question is whether “Dangal” has done justice to this incredible story. Can we really call this film a biopic when the element of fiction is so large?

Everyone overlooks a certain individual who might have been hurt by the way he was portrayed in the film. Even though, Amir khan has dismissed the character P. R. Kadam as a work of fiction, one might wonder why the character’s initial are same as the real life coach of Geeta, P R Sondhi when there were enough other names available. Any one who watched the film might feel that when Mr. Phogat was working hard to bring a gold medal for India, the coach was ruining all the efforts and was not even worried about India’s medal prospects. Truth is that he is an accomplished coach who has coached the India’s Olympics team. He is also an Indian who was proud to coach the Indian national team. So while the entire story focuses on Phogats’ love for the nation, everyone conveniently forgets how much the coach might have been disappointed by the way he was portrayed. This questions the patriotism and nationalist sentiment of a coach who has contributed to Indian wrestling.

If it was a true biopic, then the entire focus would not have been on Mr. Phogat (Amir Khan).There would have been no need to add any fictitious elements since the story itself is incredible. A true inspirational biopic sports story would not have altered the facts, in fact it would have recognised the effort of the coaches, the athletes, the father and the Sports Association of India. The events, the persons even the bout scores, every thing was a work of fiction. The real question here is that how a film with such elements has been called a biopic. The harsh reality is that the film was marketed using the name of Phogat family. If the film was a work of fiction where a father worked day and night to make his daughters wrestlers, there are chances that the film might not perform well. But the producers knew that by marketing it in the name of Phogat family, the film would be a sure bet.

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