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Dangal (English: Wrestling competition) is a 2016 Indian Hindi-language biographical sports drama film, 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 be India's first world-class female wrestlers. It was directed by Nitesh Tiwari, produced by Aamir Khan Productions, UTV Motion Pictures, and Walt Disney Pictures, and stars Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat.[4] Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra play the older versions of the two Phogat sisters, while Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhatnagar play the younger versions, Sakshi Tanwar plays their mother, and Aparshakti Khurana their cousin.

Dangal
Dangal Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Hindi दंगल
Directed by Nitesh Tiwari
Produced by Aamir Khan
Kiran Rao
Siddharth Roy Kapur
Written by Nitesh Tiwari
Piyush Gupta
Shreyas Jain
Nikhil Meharotra
Starring Aamir Khan
Sakshi Tanwar
Fatima Sana Shaikh
Sanya Malhotra
Zaira Wasim
Suhani Bhatnagar
Girish Kulkarni
Narrated by Aparshakti Khurana
Music by Pritam
Cinematography Setu (Satyajit Pande)[1]
Edited by Ballu Saluja
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • 21 December 2016 (2016-12-21) (United States)
  • 23 December 2016 (2016-12-23) (India)
Running time
161 minutes[2]
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 70 crore[3]
Box office est. 2,109.23 crore

The development of the film began in early 2013 when Tiwari began writing the screenplay, before showing it to Khan, who became the lead actor and producer. Set primarily in the Indian State of Haryana, principal photography commenced in September 2015 in the neighbouring Punjab.[5] 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.[6] It was produced on a budget of 70 crore (US$11 million).[3]

After a North America premiere on 21 December 2016, Dangal was released worldwide on 23 December opening to positive response with 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.[7] At the 62nd Filmfare Awards, it won four awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Khan) and Best Action (Shyam).[8] At the 64th National Film Awards, Wasim won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Geeta's younger self. The film was also a record-breaking commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film ever as well as the fifth highest grossing non-English film, collecting more than 2,000 crore (US$310 million) worldwide,[9][10] including more than 1,300 crore (US$200 million) earned in Chinese markets,[11] becoming one of China's top 20 highest-grossing films.[12]

Contents

Plot

Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan) is a former amateur wrestler and national champion based in Balali, a village in Haryana. He was forced by his father to give up the sport in order to obtain gainful employment. Dejected that he could not win a medal for his country, he vows that his unborn son will. Disappointed upon having four daughters, he gives up hope. But when his older daughters Geeta and Babita come home after beating up two boys in response to derogatory comments, he realises their potential to become wrestlers and begins coaching them.

His methods seem harsh, including grueling early morning workouts and short haircuts to avoid lice. Despite facing backlash from the villagers, he goes ahead with them, training them in his makeshift mud pit. Initially, the girls resent their father for his treatment but soon realise that he wants them to have a good future and not grow up to be stereotypical housewives. Motivated, they willingly participate in his coaching. Mahavir takes the girls to wrestling tournaments where they wrestle with boys and defeat them. Unable to afford wrestling mats, he uses two layers of mattresses and trains them in freestyle wrestling to prepare them for competitive events. Geeta goes on to win the junior and senior championships at the State and national level before heading to the National Sports Academy in Patiala to train for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

Once there, Geeta makes friends and begins to disregard the rigour and discipline she has been brought up with. She regularly watches television, eats street food, and grows her hair. Her coach's training methods and wrestling techniques differ significantly from her father's which she believes are superior. During a visit home, after taunting her father for his old techniques, she defeats her ageing and visibly exhausted father in a ferocious bout that ensues. Babita tells an unrepentant Geeta that she shouldn't forget their father's techniques and reminds her that she owes all the success to him. Winning the senior national championships herself, Babita follows Geeta to the academy. Geeta, however, finds herself losing every match at the international level. Subsequently, her coach coaxes her to compete in the 51 kg weight class from 55 kg. Frustrated, and persuaded by Babita, she tearfully makes peace with her father, who comes to Patiala with his nephew (Aparshakti Khurana) and begins coaching them secretly, using the same methods as when they were younger. Learning about this, and furious with Mahavir's interference, the coach wants the girls expelled. The sports authority allow them to continue and bar Mahavir from entering the academy and the girls to go out. Determined to continue assisting his daughters, Mahavir obtains tapes of Geeta's previous unsuccessful bouts and coaches her by pointing out her errors over the phone.

At the Games, competing in the 55 kg class, Geeta eases her way into the final. Mahavir constantly contradicts her coach's instructions while sitting in the audience which she follows while disregarding the latter. Just before the gold medal bout, the jealous coach conspires to lock Mahavir in a closet. Geeta lags behind managing to win the first session while losing the second. Trailing 1–5 in the final session and nine seconds left, she recalls the tactical techniques taught by her father and a 5-pointer that despite being difficult was not impossible. Geeta executes it on her opponent in the final three seconds, taking the score to 6–5 in her favour, thus winning the session, and the bout 2–1. In the process, she becomes the first Indian female wrestler to win gold at the Games. Mahavir returns just in time to embrace his daughters, frustrating the coach's hopes of obtaining credit before the news media.

Cast

Production

Development

In 2012, Divya Rao, a member of Disney's creative team, read a newspaper article about Mahavir Singh Phogat, who trained his daughters to become world champions. She thought this would make for a great film, and spoke about this to Siddharth Roy Kapur and other Disney personnel. Disney approached Nitesh Tiwari to write and direct the story. Tiwari met Phogat and his daughters, who instantly agreed to tell the story.[14][15] Tiwari worked on the screenplay for close to a year before going to Ronnie Screwvala, the CEO of UTV Motion Pictures, and Kapur with the final script, while suggesting that Aamir Khan play Phogat, who agreed.[5]

In 2013, Kapur and Tiwari went to Khan with the story, and Khan loved it in its first narration. Khan had just finished Dhoom 3 and had begun shooting for PK. He wanted to do the film after 5–10 years when he would turn 60, because the role demanded him to be 55 and he was still doing younger roles. But the story remained in his mind and a few months later, he called up Tiwari and asked him to narrate the script once again.[16]

In 2014, after the release of PK, Aamir Khan announced that he would play the role of a wrestler in his next film titled Dangal directed by Nitesh Tiwari, a cinematographic biography of the former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat. It would be produced by Khan himself and Disney's India. Khan said to reporters, "Nitesh has written a wonderful story. The topic is very important, it's very dramatic. It highlights the discrimination that is meted out to the girl child in India. The best part is that he has done it in a very entertaining manner. The heart of the story is emotional, but it also has a lot of humour. Raju Hirani has this unique way to tell a story where he says something socially very relevant but he tells his story in a very entertaining manner. Similarly Nitesh has written a very entertaining lovely script, the dialogues are very entertaining. Each time I listen to the dialogues, I laugh a lot. I cry as well as laugh."[17]

In March 2015, Junior Indian women's wrestling team coach Kripa Shankar Patel Bishnoi was approached by Aamir Khan Productions to train Khan and the entire crew of Dangal. Bishnoi said about the film in a Hindustan Times interview, "Very few Indians encourage women for wrestling, especially because of the uniform. This film will change that perception too. People would hopefully want to see their daughters taking up wrestling as a sport."[18]

Khan lost some weight and took Haryanvi lessons and dialect training for the film.[19][20] He played two distinct roles in the film: the 60-year-old wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, and the 20-year-old version of Phogat. Khan reportedly gained 30 kg and weighs 98 kg to play the role of the older Phogat, then lost the weight to play the younger role in Dangal.[21][22]

The film was produced on a budget of 70 crore (US$11 million).[3]

Casting

In March 2015, Taapsee Pannu, Deeksha Seth and Akshara Haasan were being considered for the roles of Khan's on-screen daughters.[23] In April, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra were cast as the daughters, who hailed from the Jat community of Balali village of Bhiwani, Haryana.[24][25][26] Geeta Phogat had participated in the London Olympics in 2012.[27] Babita won gold in 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.[28][29] In June 2015, child actors Zaira Wasim (from Kashmir) and Suhani Bhatnagar (from Delhi) were roped in for Dangal.[30] Ayushmann Khurrana's brother Aparshakti Khurrana was also cast.[31] Mukesh Chhabra was the casting director of Dangal. Vikram Singh was recruited to play the role of the villain.[32][33] Aamir Khan's nephew Pablo (son of Mansoor Khan) was the film's assistant director.[34][35] Mallika Sherawat auditioned for a role.[36] In August 2015, Rajkumar Rao, who previously worked with Aamir Khan in Talaash, was approached for an important role in Dangal.[37] Finally, after auditioning 70 actresses for the role, Sakshi Tanwar was brought on as Daya Kaur, the wife of Mahavir Singh Phogat.[38][39][40] Ananya was chosen to play Sangita, the youngest daughter of Mahavir Phogat.[41][42] In October 2015, Vivan Bhatena was selected to play a negative role in the film.[43] In an interview in January 2017, Divya Rao stated, if Aamir Khan had declined the role, the only other choices would have been Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan.[44]

Filming

The shooting schedule of Dangal began on 1 September 2015.[45][46] The villages of Ludhiana were given a Haryanvi transformation.[47][48] The shooting took place in the villages of Gujjarwal, Narangwal, Kila Raipur, Dango and Leel in Punjab and Haryana.[49][50] Interestingly, the village of Dango, which is in the Pakhowal Tehsil in Ludhiana, is veteran actor Dharmendra's ancestral village.[51]

From September 2015 to December 2015, Aamir Khan gained 9% fat, weighing around 98 kg for Dangal, and from January 2016 to April 2016, he regained the shape that he had opted for in Dhoom 3 and will hear the script for next future films, halting shooting of Dangal for said period.[52]

The first scene was taken on 21 September 2015 in Ludhiana with the presences of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his both daughters Geeta Phogat, Babita Kumari.[53]

On 14 November 2015, while shooting in Ludhiana, Khan suffered minor injuries resulting in muscle spasms in his back.[54][55][relevant? ] On 20 November 2015, Khan collapsed after sustaining a shoulder injury on the set.[56] After suffering an injury Aamir Khan resumes shooting in Pune on 9 December 2015.[57]

The team filmed in and around stadiums at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. At the time, the complex hosted the 2015 Roll Ball World Cup, and athletes of the Netherlands national rollball team and Slovenia women's national roll ball team were recruited to play background athletes in the film. The team also shot some portions of the film in Symbiosis International University, Pune.[58][59]

On 19 January 2016, Khan and the entire crew of the film shot in Delhi, at Talkatora Stadium, to film wrestling sequences. The crew then moved to Thyagaraj Stadium to shoot sequences of Commonwealth Games and National Games.[60] The first schedule of shooting was also done in schools and in Dango village, located in Pakhowal Tehsil in Ludhiana.[61]

The second schedule of the film started on 16 June 2016 at the Akhada Leel near Toosa village, in Ludhiana district. It is one of the largest villages in Punjab, India. Khan said, "When I came to Ludhiana, I was very fat. At that time, we shot for the scenes where Mahavir has become old. 85 per cent of the film is about his 'old' look only. Now we are shooting for the portion when Mahavir was young."[62]

With the film being set in multiple decades, the cinematographer Satyajit Pande and colorist Ashirwad Hadkar experimented with a number of tests for skin tones and costumes during the pre-production stage. Natural light was majorly employed in the film. To portray the 1980s, the "sources [were kept] white hot and the skin tones yellow-warm" for the day sequences, and "a consistent bulb warm tone was maintained" for the night sequences. With varying colour temperatures in the process of filming over an entire day starting early mornings till late evenings, visual effects plates were used and digital intermediate process employed.[63]

Soundtrack

Dangal
Soundtrack album by Pritam
Released 14 December 2016
Recorded 2015–16
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 30:33
Language Hindi, Tamil, Telugu
Label Zee Music
Producer Aamir Khan
Kiran Rao
Siddharth Roy Kapur
Pritam chronology
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
(2016)Ae Dil Hai Mushkil2016
Dangal
(2016)
Jagga Jasoos
(2017)Jagga Jasoos2017
Singles from Dangal
  1. "'Haanikaarak Bapu'"
    Released: 12 November 2016[64]
  2. "'Dhaakad'"
    Released: 23 November 2016[65]
  3. "'Gilehriyaan'"
    Released: 30 November 2016[66]
  4. "'Dangal'"
    Released: 8 December 2016[67]

The film's music is composed by Pritam. Lyrics are penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya in Hindi, and Rajesh Malaravannan in Tamil.[68] It was reported that Daler Mehndi has sung a song in the movie.[69]

Hindi track list

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Haanikaarak Bapu" Sarwar Khan & Sartaz Khan Barna, Saddy Ahmad(additional vocals: Kheta Khan & Dayam Khan) 4:22
2. "Dhaakad" Raftaar 2:56
3. "Gilehriyaan" Jonita Gandhi 3:40
4. "Dangal" Daler Mehandi 4:59
5. "Naina" Arijit Singh 3:45
6. "Dhaakad" (Aamir Khan version) Aamir Khan 2:56
7. "Idiot Banna" Nooran Sisters 4:08
8. "Naina (Female)" Neha Kakkar 3:47
Total length: 30:33

Tamil track list

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Discipline[70]" R. S. Rakthaksh, R. Snjeevi, K. Haripriya, V. Harini 4:22
2. "Jaagirathai[71]" Raftaar 2:56
Total length: 26:55

Telugu track list

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Discipline[72]" R. S. Rakthaksh, R. Snjeevi, K. Haripriya, V. Harini 4:22
2. "Jaagartha[73]" Raftaar 2:56
Total length: 26:55

Release

Dangal was released in the United States on 21 December 2016 and worldwide on 23 December 2016.[74] The film was shown on an estimated 4,300 screens in India and 1,000 screens internationally.[75][76] It was also released in Tamil and Telugu dubbed versions as Yuddham.[77][78] It was declared tax-free in six Indian states – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh – to promote Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, a Government of India's social campaign aiming to reduce the selective abortion of females, to protect girls, and to educate them.[79][80][81][82][83][84]

Dangal's second phase of release was in the Chinese markets of East Asia, starting with Taiwan on 24 March 2017.[85] Dangal was screened at the 7th Beijing International Film Festival, the first Indian film to be screened the Festival, in the non-competing panorama section in April 2017 as Shuaijiao Baba (Let's Wrestle, Father!), and received a standing ovation.[86] It released theatrically in China on 5 May 2017, on 9,000 screens, "the widest ever release for an Indian film in any territory", and opened to overwhelming response from critics and audiences alike.[87][88] However, the film was trimmed by 20 minutes "to be in line with what the Chinese are used to."[89] The film released in Hong Kong on 24 August 2017.[90] Aamir Khan also announced plans to release the film in Japan and South America.[91]

Critical reception

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that the film holds an 92% approval rating, based on 12 reviews by critics, with an average score of 8 out of 10.[92] On the Chinese website Douban, it maintains a rating of 9.1 out of 10, upon evaluation by over 400,000 users.[93]

Critics often praised portrayal of the subject matter in Dangal. Rachit Gupta of Filmfare magazine gave the film a full five star rating calling it "perfect in every sense of the word." He added, "The film’s direction and writing is so riveting that it coaxes it’s viewer to stand up and applaud. Great editing and filmmaking technique aside, Dangal features wrestling matches that are authentic and real." [94] Meena Iyer of The Times of India called it "inspiring and entertaining" and awarded a four-and-a-half out of five star rating. She commended the writing of being for "tongue-in-cheek quality, peppered with humour and several poignant father-daughter emotions."[95] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave a three out of five star rating and stated that the film worked on two parameters: that it is a "straight-forward film about a popular sport" and the "strong feminist statement about girls being the equal of boys, if not better, in an area they've never been seen, let alone accepted."[96] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the film four out of five stars and calling it a "hugely entertaining sporting saga", pointed out that unlike other Bollywood films, Dangal does not "go for broke in terms of melodramatic flourish" and that it refrains from "demonstrative chest-thumping and flag-waving". He felt it blended "humour with intensity, and intimacy with spectacle, to perfection."[97]

Ananya Bhattacharya of India Today gave a four out of five star rating and wrote, "the fights, emotional turmoil, the father-daughter tiffs, take centre-stage in Dangal." She added, "Tiwari uses every single trope in the book of Bollywood sports films ... with a freshness and expertise seldom seen."[98] Awarding the film a full five stars, Rohit Bhatnagar of Deccan Chronicle called it "an unmissable epic". Terming the narrative "engaging to the core", he drew comparisons to Chak De! India, while commending the acting performances and cinematography.[99] Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com felt that Dangal was "one of those few films that discuss strategy and technique in a manner that's easy and entertaining to grasp". Calling it an "exhilarating creation" and praising the acting performances, she wrote, "the raw, rough, visceral choreography of the fights ... evokes sheer awe".[100] Lisa Tsering of The Hollywood Reporter felt the film is driven by "emotional resonance, technical artistry and compelling performances" while adding that "it’s so thrilling to watch. Not only do the family scenes ring true, but Tiwari approaches the wrestling sequences with intelligence and sensitivity."[101]

There is not a trace of superstar about [Aamir Khan] or a hint of vanity. For most of the film, he's an old, overweight man. Given the Bollywood obsession with looking youthful and flaunting six packs, this itself is an act of courage. But Aamir doesn't just look the part. He also becomes it. He is by turns, ferocious and tender ... It's a masterful performance.
Anupama Chopra of Film Companion[102]

While commending the acting performances of all the lead actors, most critics focused praise on Khan's performance. Deepa Gauri of Khaleej Times wrote "Aamir Khan ... puts in such an earnest and inspired performance that will go down in the history of Indian cinema as one of the finest." [103] Maitland McDonagh wrote for Film Journal International that "[a]ll four actresses playing Geeta and Babita are strikingly good, and Khan stands out as the deeply flawed Mahavir."[104] Aniruddha Guha of MensXP.com thought that Khan captured the character's "highs and lows with flourish" and called it a "truly great performance", while adding that "the girls of 'Dangal' are a real find."[105] Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times called it "best performance till date".[106] Raja Sen of Rediff.com felt Khan's character was "both fascinating and flawed" and added, "a winner utterly sure of his beliefs who bends the world around him to his will. It is the performance of a lifetime".[107] Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu noted in his personal blog that Khan brought out the contradicting nature of the character "beautifully" and called it "one of his finest performances."[108] Variety magazine's Owen Gleiberman felt that Khan, despite looking like a "jock version of Salman Rushdie ... with a tight-lipped mask, he finds a hundred ways to communicate emotion."[109]

The film had its share of detractors who, while praising the narrative and performances, felt that the concept of feminism portrayed in the film was flawed. They pointed out that the wrestler-father, in pursuit of his goal of winning a medal for the country, trains his daughters against their will. Reviewing for The Hindu, Namrata Joshi wrote that the film despite aiming not to hide "chinks in the feminist armour", it does not explore its "dilemmas and complexities" and only "brush[es] things under the easy nationalistic carpet" by "justifying everything with "nation before the individual" logic." She complained of the "easy celebration of the supposed fall of patriarchy" depicted in the film and maintained that "men actually still remain very much in control."[110] The view was echoed by Vartika Pande, in her "Feminist Reading" of the film for feminisminindia.com, who wrote, "Dangal ends up being a film about a patriarch at the helm who "empowers" women and obviously takes all the accolades."[111] Al Jazeera's Azad Essa, while reviewing the film for Independent Online observed that "the elevation of women is still a manifestation of an unfulfilled male dream. It is the male coach who emerges as the true hero, and not the women."[112] Strong responses on similar lines from a small section of the Chinese viewers met the film, where, following the release, a fresh debate on feminism began.[113] A viewer complained that the film "reeks of patriarchy and male chauvinism".[114]

Criticism was also directed at other areas of the film such as the characterization of the coach at the academy. Uday Bhatia of Mint felt it was "incompetent and vindictive".[115] Rajeev Masand felt it was "shoddy" and that the "twist in the film's final act ... came off as completely unconvincing".[116] Tanul Thakur of TheWire.in also felt that the coach was "reduced to a caricature" and that "he simply exists because Aamir can become a hero." Thakur wrote that the second half of the film was "repetitive and bloated" and that it uses "clichés ... needlessly trying to inject drama".[117]

Box office

Dangal grossed 716 crore after its initial run. It included 511 crore in India and 205 crore overseas.[118] After it collected a nett of 345 crore over its third weekend from release, it beat the record held by PK for the highest grossing Indian film.[119] Dangal became highest grossing Indian film worldwide in July 2017, with a gross of 2,000 crore, after its second phase of release in China and Taiwan.[120][121] The worldwide distributor share of Dangal is 525 crore.[122][120] As of June 2017, the worldwide gross of Dangal stood at US$307 million (2,000 crore).[9][123] Dangal emerged as 30th highest-grossing film of 2016 worldwide and the fifth highest-grossing non-English film of all time.[123][124][125]

Dangal worldwide gross revenue breakdown
Territories Gross revenue
India 587 crore (US$92 million)
Domestic gross 587 crore (US$92 million)[126]
Domestic nett 387.31 crore (US$60 million)[127]
Chinese markets 1,315 crore (US$210 million)[11]
China ¥1,299.12 million[128]1,250 crore[129] (US$196 million)
Taiwan NT$164.4 million[130]41 crore (US$6.4 million)[131]
Hong Kong HK$27 million[132]23.1 crore (US$3.5 million)[133]
Other territories 207.23 crore (US$30.7 million)[134]
United States and Canada US$12.4 million[135]85 crore[136]
Arab Gulf states US$8.8 million[135]60.104 crore[136]
United Kingdom £2.6 million[135]24 crore (US$3.7 million)[137]
Australia A$2.63 million[135]14 crore (US$2.2 million)[127]
New Zealand 3.2 crore (US$500,000)[127]
Turkey US$430,000[138]3 crore[136]
Malaysia 94 lakh (US$150,000)[127]
Overseas total 1,522.23 crore (US$240.7 million)
Worldwide total 2,109.23 crore (US$330 million)

Dangal is the first Indian film to gross $300 million worldwide, and one of the top 30 highest-grossing 2016 films. Dangal is also the highest-grossing sports film of 2017, and Disney's fourth highest-grossing film of 2017.[139] Dangal is also the first Indian film to exceed $100 million[140] and 1,000 crore overseas,[141] grossing around 1,459 crore (US$230 million) in overseas markets by June 2017.[142]

India

Dangal collected 29.8 crore on its opening day of release in India, and recorded as the second highest non-holiday opening after Dhoom 3.[143][144] On its second day, the film collected 348 million (US$5.4 million) and on the third day collections were 424 million (US$6.6 million) taking the first weekend collections to 1.07 billion (US$17 million). On 9 January 2017, Dangal became the highest grossing Indian film domestically, beating Aamir Khan's previous film PK.[145] It eventually grossed US$80 million (512 crore) in all languages in India.[146][147][148][149] The film's final domestic gross in India stands at 587 crore (US$92 million).[126]

Overseas

Deadline.com reported that Dangal would open in 331 North American screens, the hitherto highest for a Bollywood film, on 21 December 2016.[150] Releasing in 279 theaters in the United States, it collected US$282,280 and US$42,816 from 24 theaters in Canada on the first day; an overall occupancy of 65 per cent was reported.[151] It grossed US$12.4 million in North America becoming the highest grossing Indian film there, to be surpassed only months later by Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.[152][153] Dangal was released in 95 screens across the Gulf countries and was last reported to have collected 59.04 crore from the region.[154] It also received the highest opening in Australia for a Bollywood film (41 screens), and collected US$528,000 in its first weekend, opening at second spot, behind Rogue One.[155] Having collected over 12.65 crore in the country,[a] it became the highest grossing Indian film there.[158] It collected US$460,000 (2.98 crore) in New Zealand,[159] and was last reported to have collected US$4 million (25.78 crore) in the UK.[160]

Chinese markets

Dangal emerged as highest-grossing Indian film of all time in international markets, when it had grossed around 1,459 crore (US$230 million) overseas by June 2017,[142] after its second phase of release overseas in China and Taiwan.[122][120][161][147]

Taiwan

Upon theatrical release in Taiwan, Dangal earned over US$3 million and emerged as the number one film there, also becoming the highest grossing Indian film in the region.[162][163] Its final gross in Taiwan was NT$164,369,636,[130] or 41 crore (US$6.4 million).[131]

China

In China, a nation where Indian films are rarely shown, it became the highest grossing Indian film, after grossing US$14.5 million in just four days from theatrical release. It was released in 2016 in six Chinese cities and on Youku under the Chinese title 摔跤吧!爸爸 (pinyin: Shuāijiāo ba bàba, "Let's Wrestle, Father").[164][165] The collections totaled to 300 crore at the end of day nine from release, taking the overall collections past 1,000 crore, becoming second Indian film to reach the mark.[166][167] In its second week, it emerged as the number one film in the country,[149][168] outselling Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 by US$15 million according to China's film ticketing portal Maoyan,[169] with collections totaling to over US$84 million (544 crore) by the end of 15 days. In the process, it beat the record held by the 2016 Japanese anime film Your Name for the highest grossing foreign-language non-Hollywood film in China.[170] It held the number one position for the second consecutive week taking the overall collections past 1,500 crore.[171] As the film neared its one-month run, Forbes reported that it was the "leggiest wide-release movie in China's box office history, with a cumulative gross equal to 70 times its opening day figure", breaking the record set by Zootopia (2016), following which the Chinese government gave the film a "rare extension" beyond the typical 30-day window.[172][173] As of 4 July 2017, Dangal had a cumulative China gross 87 times its opening day haul and 15 times its debut weekend, having been number one for 16 consecutive days and in the top three for 34 straight days, and out-lasting and out-grossing heavily marketed Hollywood movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Life, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Wonder Woman and Alien: Covenant.[174] When its worldwide gross reached 1,930 crore on 11 June 2017, it became the fifth highest-grossing non-English film of all time.[10]

As of July 2017, Dangal has grossed ¥1.3 billion (US$196 million) in China.[175][128] Its overseas gross in China more than doubled its domestic gross in India.[123] In China, Dangal became one of the top 20 highest-grossing films of all time,[128] the 8th highest-grossing foreign film,[176][177] had the most consecutive days with a ¥10 million (US$2 million) gross (surpassing the 30 days of Transformers: Age of Extinction)[178] and $1 million gross[177] (38 days),[179] was the highest-grossing film in May 2017 (ahead of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales[180] and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2),[140] and is the year's second highest-grossing foreign film (after The Fate of the Furious).[181] In the month of May, Dangal drew 35 million viewers at the Chinese box office.[182] In 52 days, the film had 44,897,623 admissions at the Chinese box office.[183] Aamir Khan's earnings from Dangal is estimated to be 300 crore (US$47 million),[184] one of the highest paydays for a non-Hollywood actor.[185]

Hong Kong

Dangal released in Hong Kong on 24 August 2017,[186] and grossed HK$5.2 million (4.26 crore) in its opening weekend including previews.[187] It opened at number-two at the Hong Kong box office in its first day, before rising to the top spot the following day.[188] It surpassed the US$3 million milestone of Aamir Khan's previous hit 3 Idiots (2009) to become the highest-grossing Indian film ever in Hong Kong, where Dangal grossed HK$24.57 million (US$3.15 million, 20.42 crore) as of 26 September 2017.[189]

By 2 October 2017, the film had grossed HK$25,430,761, equivalent to 21.31 crore (US$3.3 million).[190] As of 10 October 2017, the film has grossed 23.1 crore (US$3.5 million) in Hong Kong.[133] On its eleventh weekend, the film's gross in the city-state reached about HK$27 million, as of 6 November 2017.[132]

Commercial analysis

India

Despite the hype created by the film prior to its release, it was not expected to perform very well on two accounts. Aamir Khan's comment in November 2015 during the ongoing intolerance debate in India had sparked outrage and backlash from certain sections of people. Despite his clarification that the statement made was taken out of context and publicized, the criticism, primarily on social media, continued to the extent that prior to the film's release, campaigns calling for boycotting the film began, on ground that Khan was "anti-national".[191][192] Secondly, after the government of India demonetised India's banknotes in November 2016, film businesses drastically fell owing to the fact that tickets were paid for mostly in cash, more so in the 8,500 single screen theatres of a total of 12,000, which accounted for 45 per cent of the total box-office revenue in India. Following the exercise, it was reported that business fell by 60 per cent and that 700 theatres even shut,[193] including a few that deciding not to renew their licenses, converted into wedding halls. The earnings of films Dear Zindagi, Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh and Befikre that were released around this time were significantly affected, and their corresponding producers had handed out limited prints to single-screen theatres, to keep losses at a minimum.[194]

However, that neither of the two affected the performance of Dangal was evident in that the online ticketing platform BookMyShow hit its fastest one million tickets booked before the release. An average occupancy of over 60 per cent was reported on the first few days in multiplexes.[195] The film performed well on single-screen theatres as well that saw a surge, after two consecutive years of fall in business accentuated further by the demonetisation exercise.[196][197] The film proved to be an end to the "dry spell" to cinemas across India.[198] On 25 December, its third day from release, it earned 42.35 crore in India, setting a record for the highest ever single-day earning.[199] After strong performance over its first two weeks, it emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film beating PK over its third weekend.[200]

China

Dangal performed particularly well in China. This was attributed partly to Khan's popularity in China owing to the success of his previous films 3 Idiots (2009) and PK (2014) there.[201] When 3 Idiots released in China, the country was only the 15th largest film market, partly due to China's widespread pirate DVD distribution at the time. However, it was the pirate market that introduced 3 Idiots to most Chinese audiences, becoming a cult hit in the country. It became China's 12th favourite film of all time, according to ratings on Chinese film review site Douban, with only one domestic Chinese film (Farewell My Concubine) ranked higher. Aamir Khan gained a large growing Chinese fanbase as a result. By 2013, China grew to become the world's second largest film market (after the United States), paving the way for Aamir Khan's Chinese box office success, with Dhoom 3 (2013), PK, and eventually Dangal.[202]

It was also reported that Chinese audiences could relate to the underlying social theme of Dangal in that it portrayed the success story of sisters in the backdrop of a patriarchal and gender inequal society, much like the conditions inherent in China.[203][204] Another factor was that the film filled a "vacuum" created by lack of interest among filmgoers due to "poor quality of domestic films" and China's ban on the "wildly popular" Korea dramas on television and streaming platforms due Korea's acceptance to the deployment of American THAAD missile defense system, in August 2016.[205][206] Consequently, an earning of between 200 crore and 300 crore was expected.[207] On the day of its release, 5 May 2017, Dangal had a screen share of 13.3 per cent with 30,000 screenings,[208] much lower than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, (43.9 per cent), the number one film for the previous week. On its fourth day, the first Monday, it rose to 17.7 per cent, and an occupancy rate of over 33 per cent was reported, as against a highest of 24.7 per cent for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.[209] Immediately after, aided by word-of-mouth publicity,[210][211] people reportedly thronged the theatres, and screenings were increased to 35,000 on the second Saturday and 55,000 the following day.[212] During the time, the film began trending in Sina Weibo.[87] The run continued into its third week with 2.7 million tickets sold on the Sunday.[171] As the film grossed 900 crore in the country on 29 May, Forbes wrote, "Dangal has inspired a simultaneous outpouring of pride, wonderment, and even disbelief in India's film community. No Indian movie has ever earned so much money, so quickly, in a market outside India."[205] With 27 per cent share in ticket sales, it was the highest earning film in China for the month.[213]

Since Dangal's release in May 2017 through to October 2017, it has significantly out-grossed nearly every Hollywood film released in China during that time, with the only exception being Transformers 5. The big-budget Hollywood films that Dangal out-grossed include Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Wonder Woman, The Mummy, Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Dunkirk, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the Apes, The Hitman's Bodyguard, and even The Foreigner starring China's own homegrown superstar Jackie Chan.[214] According to The Beijinger: "In this atmosphere of poor Chinese films, Hollywood franchise fatigue and an ongoing ban on South Korean entertainment, Dangal has made the most of its opportunity to win over the Chinese film market."[182] Dangal, along with Japanese anime film Your Name (which Dangal overtook as the highest-grossing foreign film), began a new trend at the Chinese box office, with Chinese audiences slowly moving away from formulaic Hollywood blockbusters and taking more interest in quality films from other countries, such as Thailand's Bad Genius and Spain's Contratiempo. As of 5 November 2017, non-Hollywood imports account for 72% ($519.7 million) of the year's foreign film box office revenue so far ($723 million), with Dangal alone accounting for 27% ($195.8 million).[215]

Awards and nominations

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Filmfare Awards 14 January 2017 Best Film Won [216]
Best Director Nitesh Tiwari Won
Best Actor Aamir Khan Won
Best Action Shyam Kaushal Won
News 18 Movie Awards March 2017 Best Film Won [217]
Best Actor Aamir Khan Won
Best Lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya Nominated
Best Director Nitesh Tiwari Won
Best Supporting Actress Zaira Wasim Won
Best Debut (Female) Fatima Sana Shaikh Won
Best Debut (Female) Sanya Malhotra Nominated
National Film Awards 3 May 2017 Best Supporting Actress Zaira Wasim Won [218]
Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2017 Telstra People's Choice Award Won [219]
Best Director Nitesh Tiwari Won

Controversies

Political controversy

There was political controversy upon Dangal's release in India. In November 2015, Aamir Khan expressed the feelings that he and his wife Kiran Rao had about growing intolerance in India,[220][221] which led to Khan facing intense backlash for the comments.[221][222] As part of continued backlash against Khan's comments, there were calls for protests and boycotts against his film Dangal. In October 2016, the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) called for protests against the film.[223] Following its release in December 2016, #BoycottDangal was trending on Twitter,[224][225] and BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya called for protests against the film.[226]

Award snubs

At the 64th National Film Awards in 2017, there was controversy over the National Film Award for Best Actor, which the committee awarded to Akshay Kumar for his performance in Rustom,[227][228] snubbing Aamir Khan's performance for Dangal.[229][230][231] Committee member Priyadarshan, who has worked with Kumar on several films,[227][231] gave the following explanation for awarding Kumar instead of Khan:[231]

Why should we have given the Best Actor award to Aamir Khan when he has made it very clear that he doesn’t attend awards functions? If he doesn’t want to accept the honour, what is the point in honouring him? Nowadays, we have seen people returning their awards. We didn’t want to take that risk.

Similarly, Dangal was snubbed at the 18th IIFA Awards, where Kumar was also snubbed. According to the IIFA Awards organizers:[232]

So basically, in IIFA, forms are sent to various production houses. They fill those forms up and send it back to us. Those forms are then put out to the industry for voting and from there it becomes a nomination. So, Dangal has not sent their entry in. We would love Dangal to be a part of it. I think it's a movie that's broken all records. We love Aamir Khan and the two little girls. They did a great job. But unfortunately, they didn't send their entry in.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ According to The Numbers, it collected a little over US$2 million,[156] while Bollywood Hungama claims it collected US$2.6 million[157] both over 12.65 crore.

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