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Foreign countries to rope in coach after Dangal’s success

The success of film Dangal wherein four girls trained by Arjuna awardee wrestler Kripa Shankar Bishnoi played wrestlers has earned him offers from at least three foreign countries to coach girls and boys there.

bhopal Updated: Dec 29, 2016 11:45 IST
Khushboo Joshi/Shruti Tomar
Khushboo Joshi/Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Dangal,Bhopal,Kripa Shankar Bishnoi
Kripa Shankar Bishnoi training actress Fatima Khan during Dangal shooting. (Shyam Yadav)

The success of film Dangal wherein four girls trained by Arjuna awardee wrestler Kripa Shankar Bishnoi played wrestlers has earned him offers from at least three foreign countries to coach girls and boys there.

Dangal, based on the real life story of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat of Harayna and his two daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat, has been creating a buzz around the country because of its content. But little did the real coach of ‘now famous’ Dangal girls know that his training would be inspiration to many in foreign countries.

‘Didn’t expect people in foreign countries would love movie so much’

A coach with Indian women wrestling team, Bishnoi, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, is a happy man these days and says his hard work paid off. “I knew the film will be appreciated but did not expect that people in foreign countries would love it so much. Since its release, I have got calls from America, Canada and England asking me to train girls and boys in wrestling over there,” said the coach.

Based in Harsood, 120 km from Bhopal, 39-year-old Bishnoi 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.

“This film has given out a clear message to people that there is nothing that women can’t do. Dangal also busted myths like --- women may look indecent while doing wrestling and that they are physically weaker than men. After having coached girls in wrestling for seven years, I can say they are as strong as men and there is no sport they can’t play better than men,” he told HT.

‘In most of the movies wrestlers are shown as jokers’

“Bollywood has 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 the Indian cinema presented a respected form of wrestling,” said Bishnoi who has played a key role in choreographing wrestling scenes in the film.

“The girls were trained for one-and-a-half years at a wrestling camp in Mumbai’s Sports Authority of India centre before actual shooting. They now know all the techniques of wrestling. Their stamina has increased and they are fit to participate in national- and international-level championships,” he said.

When asked about the experience of working with Aamir Khan, who has played the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat in the film, Bishnoi said, “When I heard about this movie, I didn’t expect that filmy people would understand this sport and could do justice to it. But Khan and film director Nitesh Tiwari changed my mind. They really worked as perfectionists and never compromised with anything.”

First Published: Dec 29, 2016 11:45 IST