It’s not the first big sports film ever released in China. And similar to most – if not all – of them, it’s about an underdog realizing an impossible dream. However, Dangal (2016) (《摔跤吧!爸爸》) still manages to stand out. The film made more than 100 million yuan in just four days after its release on May 5, according to China Daily.
它并非是中国上映的首部体育竞技大片。和大多数 —— 如果并非全部 —— 同类电影相似，它讲述了一个弱者实现遥不可及的梦想的故事。然而，《摔跤吧！爸爸》依旧大放异彩。据《中国日报》报道，这部电影5月5日上映后，四天内便收获了超过1亿元的票房。
The movie is based on the true story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur wrestler from India who lived for his dream of winning a gold medal for his country. Without government support, Mahavir wasn’t able to compete in an international competition, instead he became an office worker. But he turns his two eldest daughters, Geeta and Babita, into competitive wrestlers.
As Yahoo noted, this movie is “as much a story about sport as it is about a complex father-daughter relationship”.
At first, both girls show no interest in wrestling. They’re left feeling exhausted after strict, or sometimes even cruel, training with their father. They even begin to try different ways to get out of it. But once they realize that their father may be letting them seek opportunities in life normally saved for men, wrestling becomes their own dream. They finally become winners in a male-dominated sport and in a male-dominated land. “My father gave us inner confidence. He taught us, as young girls, never to be scared,” the real-life Geeta Phogat told The Guardian.
The “silent love” of Mahavir toward his children may also be familiar to many.
“It makes me think of my father. I just cried like a river to release myself from my deep regrets,” a Chinese audience member told the Hindustan Times.
And this isn’t the only factor that Chinese viewers relate to. The film is just like “the story of a Chinese village girl becoming an Olympic champion,” Tan Zheng, editor of Film Art magazine, told the Hindustan Times. And the Indian Express said: “We see the blood, sweat and tears that go into the making of champions.”
This remarkable story would not be complete without the lead actor Aamir Khan. He was already famous in China for his role in 2009 comedy Three Idiots (《三傻大闹宝莱坞》). This time, he gets to show off his skills as a true actor.
In order to play a 55-year-old in the film, Khan gained 25 kg. But he had to quickly shed it for the parts where he is required to look much younger. “This could be Aamir’s best performance to date – a man making his daughters chase his own dream. He cries, frowns, gets angry, looks old and tired, but is definitely one of us,” wrote the Hindustan Times.
汗为了能够出演电影中55岁的父亲，增重了25公斤。但在需要他看起来更年轻的电影片段中，他又成功快速减重。“这是阿米尔目前为止最棒的一次表演 —— 一个让女儿追逐他自己梦想的男人。他哭泣、皱眉、生气、看起来年迈疲惫，但他的确是我们当中的一员，”《印度斯坦时报》写道。