Dangal may be earning praise and breaking box office records, but there's someone who is really unhappy with the film. Women's wrestling coach PR Sondhi has raised objections about Dangal's portrayal of a character named "PR Kadam", who is loosely based on Sondhi.
Sondhi has coached Geeta and Babita previously, and is upset about his incorrect portrayal in the film. Kadam is the only negative character in Dangal, and the scene which miffed Sondhi is one where Kadam locks Mahavir Phogat (played by Aamir Khan) in a room so that the latter is unable to witness his daughter's final match.
The act is a result of the jealousy Kadam feels in the film, after Geeta's character first congratulates Mahavir, when she learns that she has made it into the finals.
In an interview to Suromitro Basu for Sportskeeda, Sondhi said that the real-life Mahavir was too gentlemanly to have told the filmmakers to include a scene like this. He also said that while there were five coaches, he was the only one depicted.
"Secondly, the door closing thing? That is preposterous; just to spice things up you can't defame me, can you?" he questioned and added that changing the name from "Sondhi" to "Kadam" in the film did not disguise who the character referred to.
Sondhi also said that when he met Aamir Khan in Ludhiana and the wrestling coach’s inputs were taken, the events created in the film were fictionalised. He also said Mahavir had never interfered with the coach's work during tournaments. But in the film, the conflict between the two regarding Geeta's progress suggests otherwise.
In an interview to ABP Live, Sondhi said he did not understand why he was portrayed negatively in the film when Geeta won a gold under his mentorship and Babita won a silver. He also expressed his disappointment with Aamir Khan, and while he was yet to watch the film, had already spoken to his lawyers.
”Dangal would make people believe that how low a person had stooped to fulfill his own deeds. It’s baseless, whatever shown in the film is not true,” Sondhi added.
The Wrestling Federation also backed Sondhi, saying that the treatment given to the character of Sondhi, a "respected coach", was not acceptable.
“If a national coach had locked someone during the Commonwealth Games then why nobody reported the incident,” challenged Sondhi, also questioning why he wasn't consulted during the shooting.