Girls are supposed to be in the custody of their father when they are children, women under the custody of their husband when married and under the custody of her son as widows. In no circumstances is she allowed to assert herself independently. (Manusmriti)
Bollywood has projected fathers, their roles, disciplines, ideals and duties time and again. All time Bollywood fathers are Alok Nath (for instance, Suraj Barjatya's film)s, Amitabh Bachchan, Amrish Puri (Yash Raj films). The recent movie 'Dangal' adds another name to the list, Aamir Khan. Dangal is considered to be the biopic of the famous Indian wrestler, Mahavir Singh Phogat. He had wished to win a gold medal for the nation, but his wish was unfulfilled. Parents want their ambitions to be achieved by their children. But the case with Pahelwan Phogat was different. He internalized the racial theory that wrestling is in his blood. So his son, not daughter, will achieve what he could not. Like every ordinary Indian male patriarch, Pehelwan Phogat used every method to get a son but became the father of four daughters, instead. The movie has been spun around the two eldest girls, Geeta and Babita. Geeta won a gold medal in 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and Babita got Silver.
Commercially and emotionally, Dangal has achieved its agenda. The north Indian 'cow belt', particularly the fertile land of Ganga-Yamuna river region, is known for high agricultural production. The Green Revolution in Haryana and Punjab added to the agricultural abundance that led to the prosperity of the big farmers. The historical and geographical setting of this region makes the caste, class and gender relations more complicated and rigid. The historian and feminist Uma Chakravarthy analyses this relationship aptly. The huge agricultural-production led caste and gender relations were rigid as well as violent in exploitation of the cheap and free labour. This made Dalits and women more dependent on male and upper caste landlords. This dependency and vulnerability of women has been creatively shown in the movie by the Dangal team. The strong desire to have sons depicts the patriarchal and macho image of Indian society.