Jan 21, 2017

The week of Dangal and Mary Kom


The first 20 minutes, I was angry, thinking why the hell this father is forcing his dreams upon his young daughters and torturing them. But as the movie unfolds, there’s one particular scene where the two girls crib to their friend, who is about to get married at a tender age of 14. The friend replies, “Your father has a dream for you which will help you build an identity for yourself. What about the unlucky girls like us who are expected to learn to do household chores, cooking, marry someone whom we haven’t even met and then disappear?” This emotional scene changes the course of the movie. And it vanquished my initial anger too.

Dangal is certainly one of the best Bollywood movies I have seen in recent times. The spirit of the movie is so positive - hard work, persistence, determination, un-wavered focus and a pillar of strength in a father who's unrelenting and full of hope. With each wrestling match, you support Geeta wholeheartedly for a win (though you know it is a movie and she is bound to win). Alongside the seriousness, the humor brought out by the cousin brother gives the much-needed fun element and gives some lighter moments to laugh.  I’m so glad that I took the time out to watch this movie after the initial euphoria all over. If you haven’t watched it, go for it before the next change.

My interest in following sports was at its highest in my late teens. Cricket used to be my favorite sport to watch. Besides that, I also used to follow Formula-one racing and Tennis. Slowly, the interest waned out in my 20s and I stopped following any sports whatsoever. Frankly, I didn’t know about Geeta and Babita’s real life wrestling victories until I saw this movie. I knew Mary Kom won a medal in Olympics in Women’s boxing but nothing beyond that. So when I came across her autobiography in my library, I picked it up out of curiosity. I haven’t watched the movie acted by Priyanka Chopra as yet.

The book traces Mary’s journey from a remote village in Manipur - her initial struggles, her parents’ hard work and her tryst with boxing. It is a story of determination, grit and perseverance, with support from her parents. My respect for her parents grew manifold as the story unfolds. She also talks about how she met her husband and how he has been a pillar of support for her, taking care of the home and her twins. The book is a short and interesting read of a woman, hailing from a humble background, rising to great heights by following her dream and passion.

In both Dangal the movie and Mary Kom the autobiography, what struck me the most is the need for a strong support person around you at all times - who will guide, coach, encourage, set higher targets and believe in you - more than you believe in yourself. I sincerely hope to be that person for my daughter in her growing-up years.

P.S. Book #4 of #50booksin2017 
Yes, I'm on a reading spree, thanks to the social media break :-) It's been more than 10 days since I accessed FB, Twitter or Instagram and I can confidently say that life moves on just fine without them. In fact, it is even better. Will write a detailed post on that soon :-)

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