Dangal Reviews by Critics

The last release of the year – Aamir Khan’s Dangal has beaten ‘PINK’ and ‘Neerja’ to become the top rated film of 2016. The reviews are extraordinary and the film has achieved critical acclaim – something that you expect from an Aamir Khan film.

Dangal is the only movie so far to score more than 4 stars.

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Dangal Review by Indicine

Rating: ★★★★½

Dangal is one of those films that has a lot to offer, so much that it’s difficult to absorb it all in the first viewing. Not only is the film entertaining, but it also serves up an inspiring life-journey of two daughters who are put through rigorous sessions of training and hard work, only to eventually learn to take their own decisions and even better their own champion father. Dangal has life-lessons, but the film never gets preachy. The wrestling sequences can get boring after a point, but it has humour and emotions to keep the audience involved throughout. Nitesh Tiwari excels both as the co-writer and director, it’s easily the best film of his career.

Dangal Review by Taran Adarsh on Bollywood Hungama

Rating: ★★★★½

2016 has witnessed stories based on real-life characters/incidents. In addition, films soaked in reality, generally speaking, take the realistic route without bowing to market diktats or over-stretching realities. DANGAL stays true to the material, yet its efficient storyteller Nitesh Tiwari along with the team of writers [story idea: Divya Rao; writers: Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra] ensures that the film connects with every segment of moviegoers. Besides, the writers stay away from the familiar and tried-and-tested tropes to woo Aamir’s legion of fans, which is credible. DANGAL is a flawless piece of work — it’s captivating, unpredictable, spellbinding, entertaining and never overstays its welcome [run time: 2.41 hours]. Most importantly, DANGAL is seeped in Indian ethos. The highs and lows, the triumphs and failures, the laughter and heartbreak… you smile, you laugh, you weep, you cheer, you feel ecstatic… DANGAL encompasses it all adroitly, with the finale leaving you exhilarated.

Dangal Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Some near-pedestrian bits are offset by the performances. The first-timers — as little girls, and young women learning to gauge their opponent and beating all comers; no silver medals, only gold — all come off well. So does their cousin who is the funny-bone-cum-sutradhar (the boy is Ritwik Sahore and the young adult, Aparshakti Khurana): both are spot on in deportment and accent. Tanwar, as Khan’s wife, is a good choice, just familiar enough, and yet new enough. The sole iffy element here is the usually excellent Girish Kulkarni, who plays the ‘official’ coach happy to settle for less, so different from Papa Go-For-Gold-Phogat : he never seems to get his limbs dirty, and spends his time smirking. But Aamir makes it all right. The film wouldn’t have been made if he hadn’t green-lit it, and he brings to it the sincerity of purpose which makes it not just a starry vehicle, but a film which is about something, which has meaning, with a message which doesn’t overwhelm the telling.

Dangal Review by Meena Iyer on The Times Of India

Rating: ★★★★½

In the story department, Dangal offers few surprises because Geeta and Babita’s historic wins at the Commonwealth Games and following championships are common knowledge. However, this screen adaptation serves as a recap of their arduous journey and it vigorously recaptures their stubborn father’s resolve to make them professional wrestlers against the odds. Since it encapsulates the historic wins of the Phogats, who brought India glory, the film is also bound to inspire more women to seriously consider kushti as a sport. What works wonderfully here is the writing. Director Nitesh Tiwari, along with Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Mehrotra should be complimented for their tongue-in-cheek quality, peppered with humour and several poignant father-daughter emotions all through. Of course, a little bit is lost in translation because of the Haryanvi twang. But, messages on our obsession with the male child (prevalent since the dark ages), myopic stand on bringing up our daughters and the administration’s pathetic disposition towards sports, are loud and clear.

Dangal Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times

Rating: ★★★★☆

This is the beginning of a war that’s surprisingly physical and abnormally mental. He challenges Geeta for a bout where he would test her newly acquired skills. As absurd as it sounds, the burly former wrestler, indeed fights his own daughter with all his might. He loses and with it, the years of conditioning of women and male domination are thrown out of the window. This is the point where director Nitesh Tiwari had to decide the hero of the film: Will Mahavir curb his instincts and become an even more fierce coach, or will he let Geeta explore the horizon? He picks the first.

Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies

Rating: ★★★★☆

Among the high points of this well-crafted film are the nail-biting wrestling sequences. They are so believable and convincing that there are times that, despite the obtrusive, over-simplified commentary on the soundtrack, they come across as the real deal. All credit to Fatima Sana Shaikh for fleshing out the character of Geeta Kumari Phogat, Mahavir’s eldest daughter, without any false steps and miscues, and for pulling off the ‘action’ scenes with such aplomb. She serves the film’s cause very well because it is Geeta who emerges as the focal point of Dangal as it hurtles towards its climax.

Review by Ananya Bhattacharya on India Today

Rating: ★★★★☆

Director Nitesh Tiwari, backed by Aamir Khan, brings alive Mahavir’s solo battle against societal norms. Dangal credits Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain and Nikhil Meharotra as its writers. In the writing lies the strength of Dangal. Aamir Khan literally lives Mahavir Singh Phogat. From the chiselled young wrestler to the greying middle-aged father, he carries the story on his shoulders, with ample help from Sakshi Tanwar who plays his wife and reel daughters. Tiwari carefully chooses what to show on screen, sifting through the life of the Phogat sisters and their superhero father. He is careful enough to gloss over the controversial bits about the wrestling federations. Everything else, the fights, emotional turmoil, the father-daughter tiffs, take centre-stage in Dangal. So while Tiwari uses every single trope in the book of Bollywood sports films, he does it with a freshness and expertise seldom seen. There is a strong nationalism angle mixed with its feminist message, peppered with rustic humour and tears, if one is easily moved. Then there’s the National Anthem to take care of the rest. This should appease the right rabble-rousers who Aamir has regular run-ins with.

Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle

Rating: ★★★★★

Director Nitesh Tiwari has finally added a feather of a well-made film on his cap. Though his previous outings Chillar Party and Bhoothnath Returns were decent movies, his Dangal comes out as a champion. Despite having too much to do in just one film, the filmmaker manages to make one that wins in every aspect. His narrative is engaging to the core. Though the film is pretty long, the emotions and humour quotient in it will succeed in keeping you on the edge of your seat. The best part of the film is its easy flow. With Dangal, one can easily say that Nitesh has made a mark for himself in the industry. Helming a film with a huge star like Aamir and appropriate narrative is commendable. Cinematography by Setu is praise-worthy as he has shot such beautiful locations in Haryana.

Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India

Rating: ★★★★☆

Here’s a fairly simple formula to actor-producer Aamir Khan’s script sense, which might interest some, since he’s green-lit remarkably few scripts in his 25 odd-year-long career. All that Aamir wants to know, he told us once, while reading/listening to a script is: what happens next. If that question uniformly pops up in his head while going through a story (besides other factors, I’m sure), he’s on. Why am I mentioning this? Because quite frankly, if you’ve seen the trailer of ‘Dangal’, you’ll know exactly all that is going to happen in this film. On the face of it, it’s a movie about female empowerment. The fact that it is set in rural Haryana (the part of India lowest on most female-centric indices, and I hope people watch it there), makes the subject all the more rich, and timely. That’s all.

Review by Raja Sen on Rediff

Rating: ★★★★½

In a film so evocatively muddy, it’s sad to see Dangal create a cardboard villain caricature at the end, and to throw in an absurd climactic scene involving a locked door — a bit of melodrama jarringly out of place in this grounded narrative — but even this stumble leads to the girls finding their own way, liberated from any mansplaining. They do it their way. Pritam’s soundtrack is a solid one, and Sethu Sriram’s textured cinematography oscillates between the poetic — there is a lovely slow-motion shot of dirt from a shaking head flying across a red sky — and the powerfully prosaic, with the wrestling scenes looking startlingly real. This is by far the most credible an Indian sport film has ever felt, with even the commentators getting in on the action, giving most of us a tutorial in how to watch the sport. Dangal teaches us where rainbows lie in wrestling, and while it is a celebration of true greats — and true grit — this isn’t about one sport. India needs to watch this film for the way it puts the ‘her’ in ‘hero.’

Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews

Rating: ★★★★☆

The second half of the film is as riveting as the first half. If I had to pick faults, then I wish Tiwari had edited out the songs that sprang up. Songs that underlined Phogat family’s determination, winning streak and their ascent to the top could have been snipped. There’s also an unwanted twist — a rivalry between a sports academy coach and Phogat — that reeked of melodrama. But that’s a just a tiny ripple in an otherwise rock-hard, sturdy biopic. Dangal is the last major film to be rolled out in 2016 and Khan has saved the best for the last for his fans.

Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning

Rating: ★★★½☆

This film has tears, patriotic heart-swell, happiness, frustration, anger, pain and everything you expect from a sports film. But it is wrapped in gentle humor and that makes this film a must see. It is a great way to end the year and will get counted as one of the ten best films of 2016.

Review by Lokesh Dharmani on Masala

Rating: ★★★★☆

Dangal is also one of the finest sports films. The writers first educate you on a few wrestling tricks and use them rather deftly at strategic points, involving everyone, even the wrestling novices. The beautifully choreographed fights are so engaging that at a crucial point in the movie, I saw from the corner of my eye; people around me sat up stiff and straight, on the edge of their seats and sighed relief collectively as the crisis gets resolved on the screen. The performances are class apart. Aamir’s dedication to the movie to get the body and soul of Mahavir, living his imperfections so perfectly leaves you overwhelmed. But the real finds are the new girls, all four of them. Zarina Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar as young Geeta and Babita bring in the right amount of nice and naughty to their characters. Fatima and Sanya as adult Geeta and Babita get both the language and body language of wrestlers so brilliantly that you wonder if they are actors or real life wrestlers.

Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies

Rating: ★★★★☆

At the outset, what impressed me about the film was its humour. Dangal is the kind of film, which a regular filmmaker would have handled with sobriety, but Nitesh Tiwari impressed me by tackling the film with a light touch and inserting humour in the narrative. The humorous voice-over (Mahavir’s nephew Omkar narrates the story), which will have you in splits, is certainly one of the highlights of the film. Aamir Khan is not known as the Perfectionist for nothing and the man will impress you with his portrayal of Mahavir, but this film doesn’t belong to him alone, though it is evident that he has put his blood and sweat into the role. This time, he has four other co-stars to almost overshadow him in places. The two girls Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar, who plays younger Geeta and Babita and Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra, who play grown up Geeta and Babita, will win your hearts with their performance.

Review by Malay Desai on Mumbai Mirror

Rating: ★★★★☆

Feeling for the underdog in a sports film comes by default, but Fatima Shaikh’s heartfelt performance (her face is ready for a Priyanka Gandhi biopic next, if there’s any) and sincere wrestling moves earn her ‘Gitta’ the claps and hoots. Along with ‘Babitta’ (Sanya Malhotra), she deftly shows what it takes for a woman to make her way through India’s male-dominated sporting scene, or any career for that matter. Khan, who invited their real-life counterparts to a Satyamev Jayate episode in 2014, restraints to make this film an extension of it, instead lets Mahavir’s powerful emotions do the preaching about women empowerment. That he lost a couple of dozen kilos for just two scenes in the film is another reminder that we can’t possibly stop celebrating the 51-year-old methodist. Courtesy Mahavir’s wife and nephew (Sakshi Tanwar and debutant Aparshakti Khurana in fine supporting acts), Dangal becomes the biography of the Phogat family, while on the other hand, the squeaking of mat shoes, the pauses for breaths in-between fierce bout scenes make it an authentic sports film. And except for yet another needless song in the second half, Pritam’s music matches up with the on-screen phenomena. Whether it will be a bestseller or not, the Dangal book deserves to be watched with your children and later, kept on your shelf.

Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham

Rating: ★★★★½

All said and done, DANGAL is not just a film, the finest movie to come out in recent years is an exhilarating experience that sees a conventional sports-movie getting an uplifting arc of women empowerment that penetrates the desire to be a fighter in life irrespective of what gender we belong to, powered by prize winning acts lead by Aamir Khan that can appeal way beyond the lovers of this genre and or the fans of the game of wrestling. Watch it. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman. And it’s a must if you are an Indian.

Review by Tushar P Joshi on Bollywood Life

Rating: ★★★★½

Dangal has its fair share of flaws. After the initial battles, the tempo loses its pace. Not every fight lives up to the glory of the first. The fight scenes are long and some of them get tiring. Apart from the title track none of the tracks sound worth humming. There are portions that remind you of Sultan. Dangal is the film of the year for me. It is brave, gritty, honest and has a performance of a lifetime by Aamir. Watch it because I can’t think of a better film that came out this year which got your attention with such intensity. And yes, I loved Sultan as well. But Dangal sort of won my heart over.

Review by Sarita A Tanwar on DNA India

Rating: ★★★★☆

Dangal has all the ingredients of a great sports film and the fact that it is based on a real life story will make you chuckle and tear up alternately throughout the film. Aamir Khan has been associated with quality cinema for decades now and with Dangal, the legacy continues. Aamir delivers a career best performance. From a first-time disappointed father of a baby girl to the jubilant one much later, you will feel every emotion the Mahavir Singh on the screen does. The scene where the senior wrester gets into the ring and struggles to beat his own, and perhaps most favourite, student will remain with you for days. Sakshi Tanwar is brilliant as Mahavir’s wife. Director Nitish Tiwari draws award-worthy performances from his entire cast, many of who are facing the camera for the first time. At the end of the day, what works about Dangal is that it is a story about people and not the sport. The sets, locations, dialogues, the Haryanvi style of speaking, the costumes every department has contributed to making Dangal the delightful movie-going experience.?

Dangal Review by Indiaglitz

Rating: ★★★★☆

Aamir Khan is known for many iconic performances and ‘Dangal’ ends up among the top of his performances till date. His heavy body acts as an additional importance to his character and excels in every scene. Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar as young Geeta and Babita are adorably cute. They will leave you spell bounded by their wrestling moves. Fatima Sana Shaikh is fantastic as adult Geeta and carries some of the most important scenes on her shoulders. Her wrestling matches in the commonwealth games are a treat to watch. Sanya Malhotra as adult Babita lends great support and shines in the emotional scenes. Sakshi Tanwar’s silent support in the movie is good, but wished there was some depth to her character. Aparshakti Khurrana is sweet and charming. His vocal narration is fantastic. Girish Kulkarni does full justice to his part.

Review by Ritika Handoo on Zeenews

Rating: ★★★★☆

This biopic will give you multiple moments to relive the sports feat achieved by these young girls. The wrestling bouts turn into a do or die situation and this pumps up your adrenaline rush to a new level. Aamir Khan’s act is gritty, powerful and full of conviction—when you watch him talk like a Haryanvi, you actually believe he is one and not an actor essaying a role. Also, the tiff between new technique and old method dangal is perfectly presented by Nitesh Tiwari when trouble propels between the NSA coach (again his act was well done) and Mahavir. Amid a lot of emotional swings taking the viewer up and down, there is a seamless screenplay and camera work by Sethu Sriram which puts Dangal on a pedestal much higher than any sports biopic ever made in Bollywood so far. Aamir Khan, we have to say if time is what makes you bring out a script like this to 70mm screens, then you can possibly take ample and deliver something like ‘Dangal’ over and over again.

Review by Rajeev Masand on News18

Rating: ★★★★☆

Dangal is not a perfect film, but then few films are. It’s overlong at 2 hours and 41 minutes, and it’s both simple and simplistic in places. But it’s a solid and satisfying watch, a well crafted look at what went into the creation of two sporting champions. It’s a film that makes the heart swell… when it isn’t pounding from all the excitement of the bouts.

Review by Meeta on Wogma

Rating: ★★★★½

It is a pleasant surprise to see Aamir Khan let the other characters take center stage – even if it is a side character like Mahavir’s wife or his nephew – while he maintains his own screen presence.. The actor himself does well from being athletic to pot-bellied. It is almost as if he shot the younger-Mahavir scenes while he was shooting for Dhoom 3. Physique aside, we completely register Mahavir’s frustration, anger, joy, conceit, hurt ego, pride. Some parts even convince you that the actor might be this tyrannical in real life too. The rest of the cast – including Fatima Sana Shaikh – are all so refreshing. From Sakshi Tanwar to Girish Kulkarni to Sanya Malhotra to the young man who plays Aamir Khan’s nephew (name, anyone?) – they all fit in perfectly. It is exhilirating that off late, across films, actors are getting better and better at their jobs, even if the other departments of the film fail them. Fortunately, that’s not true of Dangal.

Review by IANS on Sify

Rating: ★★★½☆

As a biopic, though one-dimensional, the film is well-packaged and presented in a realistic manner. Apart from a few predictable cinematic liberties, it lacks high-voltage drama and the entertainment quotient is dutifully obligatory. The plot keeps you engrossed right till the end and the climax, with the slow-motion shot of Geeta toppling her opponent, is exhilarating. The national anthem is used as a magnetic device to extract the feel of patriotism, and unwittingly, the audience land up giving Geeta and the film a standing ovation.

Review by Barkha Bahar on Bollyspice

Rating: ★★★★☆

Though transforming himself for a role is not a foreign concept for Aamir Khan, he did an incredible job in gaining and then losing 25kg for the role. Aamir Khan was ruthless as the stern, unrelenting father, determined to make his daughters strive for the same goal. Zaira and Suhani stole the show as young Geeta and Babita, and made the film come alive. Dangal will no doubt encourage more women to participate in professional wrestling, but it will also inspire you to bring hard work and determination to make your own dreams come true.

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