At the press conference where he unveiled his much awaited poster for Dangal on Monday (4 July), Aamir Khan was asked about his opinion on the Salman Khan rape remark row.
Aamir — who is Salman’s close friend — termed his choice of words “rather insensitive and rather unfortunate”.
What is, however, rather unfortunate, is that having asked for Aamir’s opinion on his fellow superstar, attention was deflected from the real star of the event — the Dangal poster.
Let us begin by saying — we love it!
It depicts Aamir as Mahavir Singh Phogat, posing with his four daughters, including Babita Kumari and Geeta — who won the silver and gold, respectively, in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Aamir may be front and centre of his on screen family and the poster, but that doesn’t make the girls' presence any less arresting.
With their cropped hair, no-nonsense expressions and don’t-you-try-to-mess-with-us stance, these girls are heroes, make no mistake. As one reviewer noted, they look like someone other girls might want to aspire to be.
The poster was accompanied by a message from Aamir (or Mahavir): "Mhaari chhoriyaan chhoron se kum hain ke?"
The response on Twitter was overwhelmingly positive — a contrast to the time when the first look of the film (which featured the contours of Aamir's face emerging from the mud of an akhara floor) had prompted jokes comparing it to "multani mitti" and chocolate ice cream.
Having long battled a legacy of promoting sexism through its “princesses” Disney has actively been bringing out stories with strong female protagonists. Be it in Mulan, Tangled, Frozen or Brave, Disney’s leading ladies have moved far from the waiting-for-Prince Charming narrative that previously ruled their (cinematic) lives. And with Disney India producing Dangal, the studio is clearly taking its responsibility seriously.
While we don’t see Sakshi Tanwar (who plays Daya Kaur, the wife of Mahavir Singh Phogat) in the poster, we do get a good look at Fatima Sana Shaikh — Dangal’s Geeta Phogat — and Sanya Malhotra, who is this story’s Babita.
What’s also commendable is the way Aamir has allowed himself to be portrayed — salt and pepper hair, wrinkles, added bulk et al.
The actor admitted during the unveiling that he wondered if he was taking a risk by playing a 60-year-old on screen — at a time when he was still getting roles like Dhoom 3 and PK where he got away with playing much younger characters.
It’s something his contemporaries like Shah Rukh and Salman have shied away from.
They’ve also never been quite as willing to cede the spotlight to their female co-stars.
The Dangal poster is a step in the right direction. Now will the film live up to its promising first glimpse?