Dangal vs Sultan – differences and similarities


Aamir Khan has finally unveiled the trailer of his upcoming film ‘Dangal’, a biopic on Haryanvi wrestler Mahavir Singh Pogat. Salman Khan-starrer film ‘Sultan’, which released in July this year, was also about Haryanvi wrestler Sultan Ali Khan, a fictional character.

Ever since the two films of the two Khan superstars of Bollywood were announced last year, there have been a lot of comparisons between ‘Sultan’ and ‘Dangal’. It was quite natural as both the films have similar setting and backdrop of wrestling. But at the core, the storyline of both the films are absolutely different.

‘Sultan’ was about a fallen Olympic gold medallist, who decides to redeem himself gain back his lost respect and love of his beloved. It was all about “the fight within.” Salman’s character was the primary focus of the film, the title itself is after the character. Anushka Sharma, who plays Sultan’s wrestler wife Aarfa, was relegated to the background, and her character happily gives up her flourishing career to have a baby.

On the other hand, ‘Dangal’ is based on true story of Dronacharya Award nominee Mahavir Singh Pogat. It showcases the journey of a determined father who trains his two daughters – Geeta and Babita to become wrestling champions. It is a story of women power and breaks gender stereotypes. Unlike, Anushka in ‘Sultan’, Fatima Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra who play the female wrestlers and Mahavir’s daughters, play equally important characters as that of Aamir. They, along with Sakshi Tanwar, also get ample screen time in the trailer as well.

But despite the basic difference in the story, the two films also share certain similarities:

Both Salman and Aamir have two different looks each in the film. Salman was seen as a well-built, fit and strong wrestler, and as a potbellied middle-aged man after he quits the sport. Aamir too, plays the younger version of the wrestler with a taut body. He also bulked up to play the 50-year-old father and wrestling coach.

In the trailer, we can see Aamir riding a scooter, just like Salman in ‘Sultan’. Even the shirts they are wearing in the scene seems to be of similar pattern – chequered, although Aamir is wearing a helmet.

The characters of both the films speak the same Haryanvi dialect. Salman bowled over everyone with his Haryanvi dialogues. He took coaching for the language. Aamir is also seen speaking the dialect with élan, and being the perfectionist, we are sure he has pulled it off with same ease throughout the film.       

Anushka plays a wrestler in ‘Sultan’, so does Fatima and Sanya. Being in the character of wrestlers, their moves in the ring and ‘akhada’ ought to be similar.