MS Dhoni – it’s a name every cricket fan in India will cherish now and in the days to come. After all, this man gave India its best wicket-keeper-batsman, and also the most successful captain, who won us the inaugural T20 World Cup as well as the 2011 World Cup. These two moments are something Indian cricket fans will continue to celebrate even after decades, and also revere the man who was the architect of these wins. A possibility of knowing more about this lad from Ranchi who was rumoured to drink buckets of milk on a daily basis is enough to bring crowds in the theatres, as I witnessed today. The terrifically talented Sushant Singh Rajput, who mesmerised us in Kai Po Che, Shuddh Desi Romance and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, plays Dhoni in this adaptation of Captain Cool’s life. Kiara Advani and Disha Patani play the female leads, while Anupam Kher, Kumud Mishra, Rajesh Sharma plays supporting roles in the film. The film is directed by Neeraj Pandey, the man who made A Wednesday, Special 26 and Baby. Here’s our review of the film…
What's it about
The biopic, or if you want to call it a glorified adaptation of Dhoni’s life then that, starts off with Dhoni as a school going kind in Ranchi who prefers to be a goalkeeper than a wicket-keeper, because he doesn’t like the ‘small ball’ (he said that…not me). However his coach wants him to handle the gloves and do the jumps, and doesn’t even allow him to touch the bat. His father Pan Singh (Anupam Kher) is a pump operator, who wants his son to join the government service, and not end up like him. Slowly, Dhoni became a much loved cricketer, first in his town, later while playing for the Railways, and then for the country, as he promoted himself from being a struggling wicketkeeper to the man who would lead India one day. MS Dhoni: The Untold Story also lets us into the world of his friends who are always supportive, and the women in his life. The second half of the film follows his romance with his first girlfriend Priyanka (Disha Patani) which is short lived, when the poor girl is killed in a road accident. The ghosts of this romance later prod him to take things seriously when he fell in love with Sakshi (Kiara Advani) in future.
However, if you are expecting to see the controversies in his life, this is not the movie you want to see!
First things first, the movie worked mostly for me, because they hired an actor like Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead. Yes, he doesn’t look like Dhoni even with that long mane, but we forget all that when it comes to his performance and his body language. Be it the lighter scenes where he is pranking his friends, or the dramatic ones, Sushant gives a rousing act that will win your hearts. Check out the scene when he smugly lets his employer take an upper hand during a practice match before hitting him for sixes. Or for the matter, when he breaks down in the middle of the road, when he hears about his first girlfriend’s demise. The man doesn’t allow much room for you to complain when it comes to histrionics. Even though the length of the film taxes your patience, the film appeals to a large extent thanks to Sushant’s performance and Neeraj Pandey’s deft direction. That Neeraj Pandey is an accomplished director is something every movie buff knows by now, and it’s the way he handles some really average writing in here that makes this biopic watchable, especially in the first half. Some of the highlight scenes in the film are in the first half itself, like those scenes where Dhoni had to oscillate between his college exams and his training in a town far away. His first confrontation with Yuvraj Singh, his future rival, is actually the best scene in the film. The casting manager has to be given a pat on the back for roping in Love, Sex Aur Dhokha star Herry Tangri who is so similar to Yuvraj Singh. Even Dhoni’s daily struggles as a TTE at Kharagpur station is well-handled. Another aspect that has to be appreciated is the CGI done in the film. From superimposing Sushant’s face on a teenager’s body a la Captain America: The First Avenger to doing to same on real Dhoni’s face during the real match footage, the special effects team has done a brilliant job.
Among the heroines, Kiara Advani scores over Disha Patani (in her debut film), as she is likeable as the cute and clueless-about cricket hotel management trainee, who would later become Mrs Dhoni. Disha is good too, but she is held back by a miniscule role. The supporting cast, played by Anupam Kher, Bhumika Chawla, Kumud Mishra, Rajesh Sharma and those actors who plays his friends and colleagues are all good.
It’s not easy to make an impartial biopic in India, especially when the person on whom you are making a biopic on is alive and also a producer of the film. You just cannot show the dark shades in his life, and that’s precisely what goes wrong with the film. None of the controversies in Dhoni’s life are addressed, be it on or off-field. So if you get into the theatre expecting to learn about the dark secrets of the dressing room talks, the famous Dhoni-Gambhir or Dhoni-Yuvraj rivalry, or the IPL controversies, the film skips all that to delve into Dhoni’s romantic life. There is a scene where Dhoni teleconferences with the selectors to axe three seniors from the team because of their agility issues. Even without naming them, the selectors behave as if they know whom he is referring to. It’s like the makers didn’t have the courage to handle the really talked about portions of Dhoni’s career. If you are making the film to inspire people, as is the intention of the makers, then make your hero a little more human – people will relate to him more. After all every hero has a dark side, ask Batman!
Also the three hour length of the film gets to you especially in the second that sort of drags its feet.
What to do
The film ends with 2011 World Cup final match, where Dhoni hits that brilliant six to seal the deal. If you loved that moment and the man who made that moment real, then MS Dhoni: The Untold Story should be your weekend watch. Also the fact that it is Sushant Singh Rajput's best film to date.
3.5 out of 5
Stay tuned to BollywoodLife for the latest scoops and updates from Bollywood, Hollywood, South, TV and Web-Series.
Click to join us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. Also follow us on Facebook Messenger for latest updates.