When Bollywood star Aamir Khan takes his new avatar as a wrestler in his much-anticipated movie Dangal, Kripashankar Vishnoi will be a happy man. After all, he is the one who gave the wrestling tips to the actor and other members of the cast.
“Bollywood hardly treated wrestlers seriously as in most of the movies wrestlers are shown as jokers in the akharas. But I am happy that for the first time, Indian cinema is going to present a respected form of wrestling,” the Arjun awardee wrestler told HT.
‘Dangal’ is based on the real life story of wrestler Mahavir Singh of Harayna and his two daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat.
The two siblings shot to fame in 2010 when Geeta and Babita won the gold and silver medals respectively in different weight categories at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Geeta had also participated in the London Olympics in 2012.
39-year-old Vishnoi, based in Harsood, 120 km from Bhopal, is the first and only wrestler to have won the gold medals in both Greek Roman and freestyle categories at the Commonwealth championship in South Africa in 2005.
Vishnoi will also play key role in direction of the wrestling scenes.
“When I heard about this movie, I was not expecting that they would have understood the game and could be able to do justice with game. But Aamir Khan and others have changed my mind,” he added.
Terming his training of Khan as a “great experience”, Vishnoi said the actor is “is really Mr Perfect”.
The first teaser poster of the movie, showing Aamir Khan’s face plastered in mud, has already generated immense talk among his fans and critics.
In Haryana, ‘dangal’ is a traditional competition where wrestlers grapple in the mud. Geeta and Babita, trained by their father, too had started off by participating in ‘dangals’ before representing the country.
Vishnoi said that the training session for the film was almost like a conditioning camp for a real international competition.
“Before starting shooting, a wrestling camp was organised for six months at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), centre in Mumbai. I feel that they have learnt all the techniques which a world champion uses while competing.”