Dangal's real star: How Mahavir Singh Phogat made his six daughters wrestling champs
As Aamir Khan's Dangal opens in theatres on Friday, 23 December, the film has already been lauded as being the among the best of 2016.
It tells the story of how Mahavir Singh Phogat trained his six girls (four daughters — Geeta, Babita, Ritu, Sangeeta, and nieces Vinesh and Priyanka, whom he adopted after his brother's death) to excel at wrestling.
The rise of the Phogat girls — Geeta, who won India's first ever gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010; Babita Kumari, who won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games; Ritu, Sangeeta, Priyanka, and Vinesh (who lost out on a chance to win Olympic honours after a knee injury ended her quarter-final match against Sun Yanan of China) — is linked with that of women's wrestling in Haryana.
It is a narrative that has been explored in detail by journalist Rudraneil Sengupta in his book, Enter The Dangal.
He provides a firsthand account of the akhara in Balali, Haryana, where the Phogat girls train; the change in public perception as they've won medals for India at international sporting events, and how that has brought more women into the sport.
How did Haryana's girls, and Mahavir Singh Phogat's daughters, manage to come so far in the sport? How did they wrestle their way to the top?
Extracted with permission from HarperCollins Publishers India
Updated Date: Dec 22, 2016 17:25 PM