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Dangal Review: Phogat’s Sake, Can’t Help Falling In Love With Dangal

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Starring: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Talwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra

Directed by Nitesh Tiwari

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There are outstanding films. Then there is Dangal.A film so  rich in the flavours of homegrown emotions you feel you are floating in a field of aromatic sensation for close to three hours without feeling manipulated . You come away from this experience so moved and so much wiser that you wonder why cinema can’t be so rewarding more often.

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But then again, if every other film was a Dangal how would we know the difference?

There I go , raving about a film which , let me state right way, will be remembered by posterity as one of the landmarks of Indian cinema in the same breath as, say Mother India,Sholay or Lagaan. Yes, Dangal has that kind of an impact. Not because it has anything new to say. On the surface it is another  rags-to-riches sports film where a girl Geeta Phogat from a small dusty town of Haryana brings the gold medal in wrestling to India.

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No. It is not the theme. It’s in the heartbreaking directness and artlessness,the absolute absence of artifice, in  the narrative that we discover that mysterious oft-abused entity known as the Real India. These are places and people with real dreams and ambitions. These are characters whom we live with ,sometimes within ourselves. It takes a MahavirSingh Phogat and his mulish obstinacy to pull India’s perverse patriarchy dragging kicking and screaming out of its heavily cordoned lair and to say, enough is enough.

It takes an Aamir Khan to bulk up to the extent of looking like a tired but undefeated has-been to play the wrestler whose determination saw his daughters break through the masculine bastion of wrestling to prove women can do anything men can.Aamir lives the role of Phogat, sternly manoeuvring his daughters’ destiny to a glory denied to a lot of women in this country.Is this his best performance? Can’t say,whatever he has done earlier pales into insignificance.

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Significantly , Dangal doesn’t play the feminist card at all. There are no speeches tirades and pushy homilies on feminism. The men in fact are not shown to be excessively sexist for the sake of aggrandizing the dramatic impact of girls’ ultimate victory. While AamirKhan plays the epitome of gender equality   Aparshakti Khurrana who plays Geeta and Babita Phogat’s goofy kind-hearted cousin is a feminist even without  knowing what the word means.
And Sakshi Talwar who plays Aamir’s quietly capable wife blends  so beautifully into the film’s finely-threaded fabric that we hardly  notice her.Ditto all the characters who appear to be so in-tune with the milieu they seem born to the soil.

No one in the cast and crew —not even the eternal attention-seeker Aamir Khan and  not  Sethu Sriram’s cinematography—seeks attention here.Not even when fighting so ferociously in the wrestling akhaada. These people do what they have to.They fight inner and outer adversaries because….well, they are there and they must be fought.

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Dangal neatly and nimbly avoids all classifications and isms and emerges as one of the strongest cinematic statements on women’s empowerment in recent times. The performances go a long way in imbuing a sense of unrehearsed classicism to the simple tale of a simple  father who  lives out his sporting dreams through his daughters.

As simple as that.

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And such doughty daughters! The two sets of actresses who play the younger and older versions of Geeta and Babita  Phogat are so liberating in their spontaneity that they at some point , cease to draw attention to their skills at   character assumption and simply invite us to follow the girls’ journey to victory.

While the younger Phogat daughter Babita  played ably by Suhani Bhatnagar and SanyaMalhotra does have her say in the expansive script,  this is clearly the other elder daughter Geeta’s story , her blow-hot-blow-cold relationship with her father and her ultimate triumph in the wrestling ring.

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Aamir and  Zarina Wasim/Fatima Sana Shaikh(the two girls who play Geeta) play against each other with vivacious credibility. While we watch Geeta wrestle her way to the gold medal—and she fights her opponents in the wrestling ring like a true pro—we also watchGeeta and her father wrestle in ways that are not manifested physically.

Geeta’s change as she becomes famous is mapped with no judgmental regret. This is not a film that wastes time trying to slot judge or condemn human failings. It breathes with the characters and lets them exhale at their own will. That  is the real beauty of Dangal. It is what it is not because it tries to be great  but because the story it has to tell is  effortlessly ensconced in excellence. Director Nitish Tiwari simply plucks the fruits of a  tree  whose roots go deep into our culture penetrating societal biases towards the girl child, with a cluck of  the tongue that is barely audible.

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The climactic wrestling bout shot with adrenaline-pumping immediacy could have avoided reducing Geeta’s coach to  a scheming villain. Neither the film nor  Aamir Khan’s timeless portrayal  of Mahavir Phogat needed to be propped up and peppered with scriptural spice.

On the whole Dangal has no patience with judgement values. It is so precious and so valuable because it lets us look at home-truths with wisdom rather than cunning.This film will be remembered by posterity as one of the landmarks of Indian cinema , not because it tries to be one.

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Thank you Geeta Phogat,Nitesh Tiwari, Aamir Khan. India is proud of you.

Phogat’s sake, Dangal must be watched.

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother In Pathaan

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother

Ever  since Pathaan released on Wednesday, audiences  have been  curious to know who  is the woman who plays Shah Rukh Khan’s adoptive mother in Afghanistan. The stately lady  with  royal looks is none  other than the late producer  Tahir Hussain’s daughter and  Aamir Khan’s elder  sister Nikhat Khan.

 Nikhat has been  closely  associated with the  film industry  and has helped her father in the production of his  films like Dulha Bikta Hai and  Tum Mere  Ho.

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Nikhat has  acted earlier in the Akshay Kumar starrer Mission Mangal ,  Ajay Devgan’s Tanhaji and  in Sandh Ki Aankh(as a Maharani).

For Pathaan, it was Shah Rukh Khan who suggested Nikhat Khan should play his foster-mother in  Afghanistan who names him ‘Pathaan’. It proved to be  an inspired  piece of casting, as  audience have  loved Nikhat  Khan’s cameo.

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It is  heartwarming that  all three Khan superstars  are  associated with Pathaan in one  way  or the other.

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Anurag Kashyap’s New Film Is About Love Jihad

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dobaara anurag kashyap, anurag kashyap movies directed, anurag kashyap wife, anurag kashyap new movie, anurag kashyap age, anurag kashyap upcoming movies, anurag kashyap net worth, anurag kashyap daughter

Love Jihad, whatever  that means, is  the theme  of  Anurag Kashyap’s new film Almost Pyaar  With D  J Mohabbat.

Debutant Karan  Mehta plays a Muslim boy  in an intense relationship with  Alaya F who plays  a Hindu  girl.Kashyap has spared the  audience none of the ugliness that  such a relationship generates  among  social-media  bouncers, the self-styled  guardian of morality .

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In the hardhitting powerful and pertinent film  a  bigot is heard commenting snidely, “These people first talk about Mohabbat. Then  they talk about Mohammed.”

Happily and  surprisingly,  the Central Board Of Film Certification gave the  film a ‘UA’ certificate  with no  cuts: a  rare non-‘A’ film of Kashyap.

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So far  Kashyap and his  team have kept the Love Jihad part  of  the plot  out of all media interaction.

But the  cat is  now  out of the bag.

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu to Star Alongside Varun Dhawan in Prime Video’s Indian Original Series , Samantha Speaks

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Samantha Ruth Prabhu will be starring alongside Varun Dhawan in the Indian installment of the Citadel universe, the global-event series from Prime Video and the Russo Brothers’ AGBO. The untitled Citadel series based out of India is being helmed by renowned creator duo Raj & DK (Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK), who are the showrunners and directors.

 The local installment is written by Sita R. Menon, along with Raj & DK. The streaming service also confirmed that the production is currently underway in Mumbai. After this, the unit will head  to North India and then onwards to international locales like Serbia and South Africa.

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  Richard Madden (Bodyguard) and Priyanka Chopra Jonas will star in the first-to-launch series within the Citadel universe, which comes from the Russo Brothers’ AGBO along with David Weil (Hunters) and is set to premiere in 2023. Alongside Madden and Chopra Jonas, the first-to-launch Citadel series will also feature Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games saga). Additional local-language Citadel productions are also in the works, including an Italian Original series starring Matilda De Angelis (The Undoing).

  Speaking on  her participation in  The Citadel  franchise for  the  first time,Samantha says, “When Prime Video and Raj & DK approached me with this project, I decided to take it up in a heartbeat! After working with this team on The Family Man, it is homecoming for me.The Citadel universe, the interconnected storylines between the productions across the globe, and most importantly, the script of the Indian installment really excited me.”

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   Samantha  says she is  looking forward  to working with Varun Dhawan  .  “I am thrilled to be a part of this brilliant universe conceptualised by the Russo Brothers. I am also looking forward to be working with Varun for the first time, on this project. He is someone who is full of life and cheer when you’re around him.”

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Bollywood’s Achche Din Have Come

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 Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar

All you doomsday  prophets, the  booms-day  profits  are here.  Pathaan  has  opened the floodgates again for Bollywood’s  bumper  bonanza at the  boxoffice.And now there is  only the achche din ahead  for  Hindi  cinema.

In the  next   two months there are  three sureshot  blockbusters coming up, beginning with Shehzada.  An astute devilishly impish  adaptation  of  Allu Arjun’s  2020 Telugu   blockbuster  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.The super-popular Kartik  Aaryan gives  his own  spin to the  character. This  performance will take   Kartik to the  next level of stardom. Kartik’s version of  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo is  radically different  from  its Telugu  version. Shehzada  takes  the core idea of  the Telugu original  and turns it into a  something  completely different. Kartik’s  co-star in Shehzada  is  Kriti  Sanon with whom he earlier shared superhit space in Lukka Chuppi.

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 Then there  is Luv Ranjan’s ravishing rom-com   Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. The director’s   male viewpoint on the chaos  of love relationships  crests to a comic  high in his latest. Ranjan  for  the first time, collaborates with Ranbir Kapoor for the  first time  collaborates with Shraddha  Kapoor  who badly needs a hit.This film should do the  trick. The winsome  lead pair tries  to do one  another  in a  game of Luv This is Luv Ranjan’s Hum…Aapke Hain Con. Ranjan  has in the past used  the romcom  space to  entertain his audience  to the hilt, he  says this  time the stakes are different. It is  not something we’ve seen before.

 Finally  it is   Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani.  Karan  Johar’s first directorial in six years(not counting the one segment each  in Ghost Stories and  Lust Stories). This time he has assembled a dream star-cast  of Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Ranveer Singh and  the  boxoffice darling(s) Alia Bhatt.  But trust me, this one is  not about assembling stars  into a complacent plot. The writing in this  zany Romeo & Juliet is so crisp  and engrossing, the experience  is  likely to be   the visual version of a multi-flavour icrecream cone. Colour, choler and karma collide in this tragic-comic love story . Let the  box office dhamaka  begin  from the house  of Dharma.

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