Dangal trailer: Aamir Khan packs a punch in this impressive mashup of Sultan and Chak De India
There's a moment in Aamir Khan's Dangal trailer that will really summarise the entire film.
"Gold toh gold hota hai, chhora laave ya chhori (a gold medal is a gold medal no matter who brings: it a girl or a boy)"
This is the winning moment of the Dangal trailer — simplistic and yet so important. It helps that as this sentiment reveals itself to Aamir — a father of four girls and an Olympic wrestler himself — we see a heavily-bearded, heavily-accented Aamir, completely submerged into his character.
But that is hardly anything to write home about. That Aamir sinks his teeth into his characters is not a new fact. In Dangal we see the age, finally, on his face, and it helps with the story's authenticity.
He is possibly most convincing than he's ever been, as a Mahavir Singh Phogat, a harrowed father who's only aim in life was to win the gold medal for wrestling. The film then tracks how he trains his daughters (instead of a son who he never has) to win the gold insetad.
There's a lot in common between Dangal and Sultan. Both films deal with the topic of has-beens, wrestling, the Olympics and gender. Aamir is seen shifting back and forth in appearance — we see him as a fit, bulked-up wrestler, and also as a pot-bellied has-been, just as Salman did in Sultan.
Both films had very strong supporting characters, and are set in Haryana. Apart from his daughters (who almost give you goosebumps once they start to wrestle) his wife, played by Sakshi Tanwar, is a perfect fit for Aamir's intensely silent, but ambitious Haryanvi father's role.
However, where the Dangal trailer takes the cake is the way with which is puts its message across. It's quite unlike a film like Pink — where the message about gender inequality and women empowerment was quite out-there and obvious, and even Sultan — where the issues were treated in a commercial manner.
In Dangal, Aamir is as staunch about a "son" taking over his legacy. But the way in which his eyes open to the fact that his daughters are extremely competent, and that gender should not matter in this situation, is far more real, and tackled with a pinch of humour, which goes a long way.
Yes, one cannot deny the close similarities between Sultan and Dangal, and a cursory glance will make many shots seem identical. But the story-lines are starkly different. Sultan is the story about one man's stint with winning and losing, as a wrestler.
Dangal is, definitely, a story about gender, and it uses wrestling as a tool. The last line of the trailer (possible the most cliched of the entire three minutes) is what sets the film apart: "Maari chhoriyaan chhoron se kam hain ke? (Are my girls any lesser than boys?)" You almost get a Chak De India deja vu, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Dangal is set to release on 23 December. Watch the trailer here: