Once there was a family constituted of an amateur wrestler named Mahavir Phogat. Like every parent, he saw his kids fulfilling his dreams for him and living the life he wanted for himself. Bringing in the glory, success and pride, he anticipated and eagerly awaited the arrival of his son, whom he would train hard to win a Gold medal in the sport. Much to his disappointment, he never had a son, and his family comprised of daughters, daughters whom he loved a lot, but never saw them as gold-winning wrestlers.
However, sooner than later when he lost all the hope and maybe acquired more belly weight, the fate twisted. He witnessed his daughters turning out to be inclined towards the sport which he always wished for his never-born son. But when many would have refuted such an inclination as it remains a ‘manly sport’, Mahavir Phogat saw it as an opportunity.
For him, the inclination was way beyond the spectre of gender; it was the sign of making his daughters the wrestlers they had the capability to become.
Rush few years ahead, India got its first female wrestler to qualify for Olympics. And this was just the beginning of a great ascend. Geeta Phogat went on to become the first Indian female wrestler at the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Also, there is Babita Kumari, sister of Geeta who has won a Silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a Gold medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games and a Bronze at the 2012 World Wrestling Championships. Babita also became the third and final entry from India in the women’s wrestling for Rio Olympics, and represented India with her sister Vinesh Phogat. And the laurels have continued for the family till date.
Mahavir Phogat struggled to attain a place for his daughters in the society, a society that still considers wrestling to be a man’s job, a society that still taboos and assassinates the character of a girl who refuses to remain stereotypical, a society that by large celebrates the win of Sakshi Malik yet refuses to see the plight of many.
That’s what he fought against and that’s the character that is being played by Aamir Khan in this new movie, Dangal.
If there is someone who can highlight the complexity of a man struggling to keep up with the demands of the society, it is only Aamir Khan. Battling his own controversies and traumas whilst dealing with society, no one could have or can play the role better than him. His physical transformation in the trailer would stumble many and acts as nothing more than a stamp over his dedication to play this character.
The progressiveness in the movie is enough to blind the corrupted eyes of a regressive person. The movie tackles on sexism, our adherence to stereotypes and also, the typical behaviour that many has towards women.
Aamir Khan plays a flawed man, a man who preferred son over daughters, a man who believed in stereotypes, but also a man who has fought for his daughters, a man who has silenced the apparent misogyny and sexism in our society and also a man who had the ability to change into a person that our country needs.
He plays a person who changes and puts his interests and those of his daughters above the norms, rules and idea of a society. He plays a person everyone should aspire to be. He plays a person who changes himself just so he can see a changed world and a better world.