If you are planning to watch or have watched Aamir Khan’s Dangal, you should definitely read these lesser known facts about Mahavir Singh Phogat. The real man who inspired this movie. He broke all the stereotypes and trained his daughters to become World Champions in wrestling.
1. Mahavir Singh was a State Champion wrestler
Mahavir Singh first came to Delhi at the age of 16. He trained under Padma Shree winning wrestler Chandgi Ram. Being a State champion wrestler, Mahavir Singh gave up his dream of winning an Olympic medal due to financial problems. Unlike the movie, where the actor claims to be a National Champion.
2. Mahavir Singh was inspired to train his daughters by Karnam Malleswari’s bronze medal win at 2000 Olympics
As you saw in the Dangal trailer, Mr. Phogat was blessed with four daughters. In the start, even he didn’t believe that girls could dominate the sport of wrestling. But Karnam Malleswari’s bronze medal win at 2000 Olympics inspired Phogat to make his daughters Olympic champions.
3. He trained his daughters with boys
Phogat started training his daughters, Geeta and Babita in a makeshift Akhada next to his house. As there were no girls to train with, Mahavir asked them to train with boys. This decision was criticized by majority of the villagers, but Mahavir carried on. Later he took Geeta and Babita to Sports Authority of India Training center for further training.
4. All of his 4 daughters and nieces are sports woman
His four daughters Geeta, Babita, Ritu and Sangeeta – all have achieved great success in sports. Unlike the movie highlighting only on Geeta and Babita. Geeta won the first ever gold medal for India in 55 kg wrestling in 2010 Common Wealth Games. She also won a bronze in 2012 World Championships. Babita won a bronze medal at 2010 Commonwealth Games and gold in 2014 Commonwealth Games. Mahavir even took care of his deceased brother’s daughters Vinesh and Priyanka. Vinesh has won a gold medal in Commonwealth Games and Priyanka has won many international level medals.
5. Aamir Khan first found out about Mahavir Singh’s story in Satyamev Jayate
In an episode of Satyamev Jayate, this is how Aamir Khan started with the introduction of the Phogat girls -“Just assume four girls are born in a North Indian Family. What will be the biggest worry for their father? Any guesses?” Everybody from the audience said marriage and dowry. Aamir Khan replies “I am very happy to say that you all are wrong. This father was not worried about the marriage of his daughters. Rather his dream was to see his daughters become world champions in wrestling.” This is how Mahavir Singh Phogat broke all taboos and has become immortal with his deeds.
6. Mr. Phogat is a proud winner of the Dronacharya award
Mahavir, who grabbed the Dronacharya Award by Wrestling Federation of India is well known for his coaching skills in the wrestling world. Emerging from a remote village like Balali, his daughters are now an inspiration for most of the women wrestlers in the country.
7. Mahavir Singh Phogat’s Official Biography is out – Akhada
Akhada is the authorized biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former wrestler and a coach who has made India proud. The book is penned by sports journalist Sourabh Duggal and was released on 21st December 2016 at the Chandigarh Press Club. It traces Mahavir Phogat’s journey with his daughters and nieces hailing from a small village in Haryana to winning the medals for the country.
Balali village needed an inspiration for women empowerment and Mahavir Singh Phogat was that inspiration! Stylewhack team salutes his dedication and all he has done for women’s wrestling.