Dangal (English: Wrestling competition) is a 2016 Indian Hindi-language biographical sports drama film, directed by Nitesh Tiwari and produced by Aamir Khan, under his studio Aamir Khan Productions with UTV Motion Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures India. The film is loosely based on the Phogat family, telling the story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur wrestler, who trains his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari to become India’s first world-class female wrestlers. Aamir Khan stars as Mahavir Singh Phogat, while Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra portray the adult versions of the two Phogat sisters, Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar their younger versions, Sakshi Tanwar their mother, and Aparshakti Khurana their cousin.
The development of the film began in early 2013 when Tiwari began writing the screenplay. In 2014, Khan had invited and interviewed the Phogat sisters on his talk show Satyamev Jayate, before Tiwari approached him with the script months later, after which Khan became the lead actor and producer. Set primarily in the Indian State of Haryana, principal photography commenced in September 2015 in the neighbouring Punjab. Satyajit Pande served as the cinematographer and Ballu Saluja as the editor. Pritam scored the film’s background music and for its soundtrack, lyrics for which were written by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Kripa Shankar Bishnoi, a coach with the Indian women’s wrestling team, trained Khan and the cast for the wrestling sequences.
After a North American premiere on 21 December 2016, Dangal was released worldwide on 23 December and received positive reviews from critics; praise centered on the film’s “honest” depiction of a real-life story and Khan’s performance. It was also screened at the Beijing International Film Festival in April 2017 and second BRICS festival in June 2017. At the 62nd Filmfare Awards, it won four awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Khan) and Best Action (Shyam). At the 64th National Film Awards, Wasim won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Geeta’s younger self. Overseas, Dangal won the inaugural Best Asian Film award at Australia’s 7th AACTA Awards,as well as 2017’s Best Foreign Film and Top Foreign Actor (for Aamir Khan) from China’s Douban Film Awards, and was nominated in the Asian Brilliant Stars category at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival.
The film was a record-breaking commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film ever, the fifth highest grossing non-English film ever, and the highest-grossing sports film worldwide. Produced on a budget of ₹70 crore (US$9.7 million), the film grossed ₹2,125.3 crore (US$330 million) worldwide, including $216.2 million in China, becoming one of the country’s top 20 highest-grossing films and the highest-grossing non-English foreign film in China. The film has also been watched more than 400 million times on Chinese streaming platforms.