Book to tell ‘Dangal’ hero Mahavir Singh Phogat’s story

A book on the journey of Mahavir Singh Phogat will hit bookstands next month, days before the release of ‘Dangal’ in which Aamir Khan portrays the amateur wrestler and master coach on screen.

‘Akhada: The Authorized Biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat’ tells the story of a man of tremendous fortitude, of a father who fought against all odds to give his daughters – Olympians Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari — a future they could not have dreamed for themselves, says publisher Hachette India.

Phogat’s authorised biography by Saurabh Duggal will be released the week before ‘Dangal’ hits movie screens.

In 2000, after the Olympic Games in Sydney, Phogat was left dejected and heartbroken to find the prize reserved by the Haryana government for winners of Olympic medals in wrestling unclaimed.

He then decided to do the unthinkable. Much to his neighbours’ curiosity, he spent two days digging a pit in his courtyard and asked his young daughters and nieces to join him there at the break of dawn one day.

Little did they know that this unusual command from their father would change their lives. Commenting on his biography, Phogat says, “It is often a struggle to get wrestling the attention and recognition it deserves in India, particularly women’s wrestling. If my daughters’ and my story, narrated through this book and adapted by Aamir Khan in ‘Dangal,’ can help wrestlers get their due, I will be extremely happy.

“I hope this inspires many others – both men and women – to get into this sport and make a name for themselves, as well as motivates parents to believe in their daughters.”

Poulomi Chatterjee, Editor-in-Chief of Hachette India, is excited about publishing this “spectacularly inspiring book that shows us what can be achieved when we refuse to be defined by narrow societal expectations and aim for the stars”.

According to her, “This year’s Olympics has kindled a conversation on our exemplary female athletes and ‘Akhada’ lifts the veil on the story of our best women wrestlers. We hope Mahavir’s dedication to the sport he loves and his steadfast conviction in his daughters’ abilities will inspire new stories of achievement in India.”

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