Mahavir Singh Phogat is an amateur wrestler who was forced to give up wrestling due to financial difficulties. He was unable to win a gold medal for India and vows that his son will. He is disappointed when his wife gives birth to four daughters. He gives up his dream thinking that girls cannot wrestle and should only be taught household chores. But when his older daughters, Geeta and Babita come home after beating up two boys, Mahavir realises his daughters have the potential to become wrestlers.
Mahavir begins coaching Geeta and Babita in wrestling. His methods include harsh actions including forcing his daughters to run early in the morning and he also gets their hair cut off. Initially, the girls resent their father for his treatment but they soon realise that their father wants them to have a future and not grow up to be stereotypical housewives. The girls become motivated and willingly participate in Mahavir's coaching. Mahavir takes the girls to wrestling tournaments. Geeta and Babita both wrestle with boys and beat them, much to everyone's dismay. Geeta eventually wins the Junior Internationals and goes to an institute in Patiala for further training so she can participate in the Commonwealth Games.
Geeta makes friends at the institute and forgets the discipline she has been brought up with. She regularly watches films, eats junk food and grows her hair longer. Her coach's training differs significantly from her father's techniques. Geeta believes her coach's techniques are better and that Mahavir's techniques are weak. On a visit home, she is determined to show her father she can wrestle well without his techniques. This leads to a ferocious bout between Geeta and Mahavir. Mahavir loses against Geeta due to his age. Babita tells Geeta that she shouldn't forget her father's techniques and reminds her that it is because of their father that she is where she is now.
Babita soon follows Geeta to the institute. Geeta finds herself losing every match as she is not following her father's techniques. Realising her error, she tearfully makes peace with Mahavir. Mahavir comes to the institute and begins coaching Geeta and Babita, using the same methods as when they were younger. Their coach is furious with Mahavir's interference and expels them both from the institution. But they are soon allowed back in as long as Mahavir does not enter the institution. Geeta sends Mahavir tapes of her previous unsuccessful bouts and he points out her errors so she can learn how to win.
During Geeta's bouts in the Commonwealth Games, Mahavir constantly contradicts her coach's instructions while sitting in the audience. Geeta disregards her coach and follows her father's instructions and wins every bout. Just before the final bout, Geeta's jealous coach locks Mahavir in a closet far away from the stadium. Despite her father's absence, Geeta manages to win the final bout and becomes the first Indian female wrestler to win gold. Mahavir returns and embraces his daughters.
The end credits reveal that Babita also won gold in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Geeta became the first Indian female wrestler to qualify for the Olympics and Mahavir's efforts inspired dozens of Indian women to participate in wrestling.