Dangal will be the year’s best film: Ali Abbas Zafar

There haven’t been films on wrestling in the past few decades in B-Town. And now there are two being made this year. Salman Khan’s Sultan this Eid, followed by Aamir Khan’s Dangal during Christmas week.

Titles and charms

Sultan director Ali Abbas Zafar says, “It’s bizarre when I wrote this script, I had no idea that there was any other film that was ever going to get made on wrestling. I wrote this film in 2012, it’s almost four years since. And I can tell you now that the first draft of Sultan was called Dangal. The first 10 pages, which I mailed to Adi, was titled Dangal.”

Point out that Sultan is a much better title for a Salman-starrer and he agrees, “Yes, because the character was called Sultan, but the journey was about fighting within. Also, the title Sultan was not with us. It was with Ramesh Taurani, and I thought, ‘Yaar, agar nahi milalega toh kya karenge?’ But Taurani gave the title rights up for Salman’s sake.

Ali explains why he named his film Dangal to begin with, “Dangal means a wrestling competition. When I travelled in Haryana for research in 2012, I would ask people about the matches and they would say, ‘Aaj dangal chaupal pe hai, aaj dangal nadi ke paas hai.’ I just thought ek jo charm tha uss title ka, bahut honest charm tha.”

Aao discuss karein…

At the time, Ali had no idea that a film was getting made on Babita and Geeta Phogat. He continues, “It’s bizarre that when I got to know it, I made a call to Dangal director, Nitesh Tiwari and I said, “Yaar, you are making a film on wrestling and even my script is based on that. Let’s meet and discuss the scripts.

I said, ‘Ek doosre ki scripts padh lete hai, agar kuch common hoga toh abhi nikaal denge.’”

Point out that he didn’t need to do that because his film releases before Dangal and he says, “I know him because Nitesh wrote Kill Dil and we met at Yash Raj Studios. I think just as a mark of mutual respect, one has to do that. I made a call to him and I went to meet him. I knew his was a father-daughter story and mine was a little different. He told me his story and I told him my story and there is nothing common at all.”

Stories worth telling

Ali says he is very excited to see Dangal. “I personally think it will be the best film this year.” Better than his own film? “Yes, I think, 100 per cent” Why? “It is not about modesty. I just feel it is a strong story worth telling. I am not saying Sultan isn’t. Dangal is a story that I think is very important. Which is why I say this year’s best film will be Dangal, no matter what. Just for the sheer honesty of what that story is trying to do.”

Ask him if he thinks it will connect better with the audiences because it is about a father-daughter story, and he avers, “It’s not about that. I don’t know if there is a connect or not. But as a filmmaker, as a writer, you feel like ek kahani hai jo banni hi chahiye. Like Talvar and many others… So many films make money, but there are some scripts about which you feel, ‘Arre yaar, yeh mere paas kyu nahi aayi?’ I would have loved to make a film like this. I feel Dangal is a film which this country needs today.”

Posted by on June 1, 2016. Filed under Bollywood. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.