Dangal (2016) starring Aamir Khan

NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review.

Indian superstar Aamir Khan is known as a perfectionist, even when it comes to posters.  When I lived in NYC, I used to regularly attend monthly meetings of SAWCC (South Asian Women’s Creative Collective); though I wasn’t an artist (like most of the women), I wanted to meet interesting desis.  One night, we had a presentation by the young lady who’d worked as the main graphic artist on Lagaan (before moving to the U.S.)  She was working late in her Mumbai studio, when Aamir Khan called her up re: a small change to one of the poster designs.  Wow, talk about attention to detail!

Young Mahavir (Aamir Khan) gets ready for a wrestling match.

This film will definitely hold the viewers’ attention, even more so than Lagaan, thanks in part to its exciting/tense action sequences.  But this isn’t a historical epic, it’s a (real-life) family story, which MAY be even more compelling to some of you who regularly read this blog.  I didn’t know anything about the story before going to see it last week, aside from the fact that Aamir had gained and lost a LOT of weight for his role.  I later learned that three out of the four (VERY natural) young actresses in the film hadn’t acted before!  I esp. liked the chemistry between the two girls who played the sisters as pre-teens, as well as the charm of their older teen boy cousin. 

Life is sink or swim- a lesson that Mahavir wants his daughters to learn.

Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan), a former national wrestling champion, wins medals and respect in the ’80s.  Unfortunately, he never gets the opportunity to prove himself on the world stage; there is NOT enough money/resources dedicated to his sport.  He loves wresting, so he spends time training other men in the mud pits of his village.  After a time, Mahavir settles into married life (w/ his wife Daya, played by Shakshi Tanwar) and a desk job in his home region of Hariyana.  He has high hopes for a son, whom he plans to teach to be an even better wrestler than himself, and win gold for India. 

Young Geeta is cheered by surprised locals after winning matches.

His wife gives birth to four daughters though the years.  Mahavir’s family and his small community is disappointed, thinking that the dream for wrestling glory is dead.  But after his two eldest girls, Geeta (Zaira Wasim) and Babita (Suhani Bhatnager), beat up two local boys who insulted them, Mahavir is spurred into action.  His daughters will become wrestlers under his coaching!  Gold is still gold, Mahavir is bold enough to think, and who’s to say that a girl can’t win one!?  Watch the trailer below.



Jason Brown & Patrick Chan: “Artists” on Ice

Jason Brown (USA)

Did you watch Jason Brown’s (USA) SP last night?   The 19 y.o. boy-next-door performed VERY well, impressing BOTH the crowd & judges at Sochi. 

Here is the 2014 U.S. Nationals vid that is now almost at 4 million views: 

A younger (16 y.o.) Jason talks about his daily routine to local TV station:

Patrick Chan (CAN)

23 y.o. gold-medal hopeful Patrick Chan (& fellow countrymen) discuss Canadian Men’s luck at Olympics:

One-on-one interview w/ Patrick (by then 2-time World Champion) on Canadian TV:

2013 World Championships SP:

2013 World Championships LP:

I totally fell IN LOVE w/ his skating here!  A younger (19 y.o.) Patrick, mature way beyond his years (artistically), performs his SP at 2010 Vancouver Olympics:

One of Patrick’s influences is (no doubt) the great Ukranian skater Viktor Petrenko, one of my faves.  The sense of romance/storytelling he creates ice is reminiscent of fellow Canadian Kurt Browning.  Here is his LP at 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where he made a mark, but was out of medal contention (due to a few errors and fall on triple axel jump): 

Olympic Figure Skating Times

Thursday: Team event, men’s and pairs’ short programs. TV: 8-11 p.m., NBC (delayed). 

*NOTE: The team event is a new one at these Olympics. 
Saturday: Team event, ice dance short dance, ladies’ short program, pairs’ free skate. TV: 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 9: Team event, men’s and ladies’ free skate, ice dance free dance. TV: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 7-11 p.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 11: Pairs’ short program. TV : 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 12: Pairs’ free skate. TV: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 13: Men’s short program. TV: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 14: Men’s free skate. TV: 10 a.m.-2:15 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 16: Ice dance short dance. TV: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 7-11 p.m. and 11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 17: Ice dance free dance. TV: 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m. and 1-2 a.m., NBC (delayed).
Feb. 19: Ladies’ short program. TV: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m., NBC (delayed). 
Feb. 20: Ladies’ free skate. TV: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., NBC Sports Network; 8-11:30 p.m., NBC (delayed).