Dangal (transl. ”Wrestling Competition”) is a 2016 Indian Hindi-language biographical sports drama film directed by Nitesh Tiwari and produced by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao under Aamir Khan Productions with Siddharth Roy Kapur under The Walt Disney Company India. The film stars Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat, a pehlwani amateur wrestler who trains his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari to become India’s first world-class female wrestlers. 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, all of them except Tanwar in their film debuts.
Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former amateur wrestler trained in the pehlwani style of Indian wrestling, was a national wrestling champion residing in Balali, 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 realizes their potential to become wrestlers and begins coaching them.
His methods seem harsh, including grueling early morning workouts and short forced haircuts. 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 realize that he cares for their future. Motivated, they willingly participate in wrestling tournaments where they defeat boys. Unable to afford wrestling mats, he uses 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 discipline she has been taught by Mahavir under duress from her coach Pramod Kadam (Girish Kulkarni), whose training methods and wrestling techniques completely differ from her father’s. As a result, she loses every match at the international level. During a visit home, she defeats a visibly exhausted Mahavir in a ferocious bout after egotistically mocking him. Babita reminds Geeta of her mistake and that she should respect Mahavir. Soon after, Babita wins the national championship and follows Geeta to the academy. After the two sisters have an emotional conversation in which Babita provides her encouragement, Geeta tearfully makes peace with Mahavir.