Olympian woman wrestler Geeta Phogat says the realistic portrayal of her family saga in the Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Dangal’ will inspire her and her sisters to win many more laurels on the mat.
‘Dangal’, which was released on Friday, is the story of how Geeta’s wrestler father Mahavir Phogat mentored his daughters and niece into champions, breaking the image of the sport as a male preserve in the country.
Women’s wrestling in India has achieved an entirely different status after Sakshi Malik won a bronze at the Rio Olympics in August.
Last week, Aamir Khan, who has played Mahavir Phogat in ‘Dangal’, held a special screening for the Phogat family where Sachin Tendulkar too was present.
Geeta, currently preparing for the second edition of the Pro Wrestling League, said it was an honour for her family to watch ‘Dangal’ with luminaries like Tendulkar and Aamir. “The movie is a source of inspiration for me and (sister) Babita to do well in the league. The league has done a world of good to me and all the wrestlers around the country and world.”
Babita said: “The film has shown the true spirit of the sport and has struck a chord with everyone in the country.
Mahavir Phogat was impressed with Aamir’s portrayal of his character. “I wish the movie breaks all box-office records,” he said.
READ | Of Dangal fame, Geeta Phogat and her wrestling sisters’ hair-raising story
Geeta and Babita will turn out for Uttar Pradesh Warriors in the PWL. UP franchise promoter Honey Katyal said, “I believe both will play a key role and inspire the rest of the players to perform and ensure UP team brings home the title.”
Geeta, a gold medallist at the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, became the first woman wrestler from India to qualify for the Olympics, and took part in the London Games in 2012. Younger sister Babita, who won silver in the Delhi CWG, claimed gold at the 2014 Glasgow CWG, which helped her qualify for the Rio Olympics.
Geeta is determined to become India No 1 in the 58 kg class, and her first target in that bid is to beat Rio Olympics medallists Marwa Amri of Tunisia and Sakshi Malik in the PWL’s second season.
“I’m looking forward to my match against Sakshi and Marwa. Post my wedding, my husband Pawan has helped me continue training. I’m sure Babita and I will do everything to bring glory to the UP franchise.”