M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) Movie Review
M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. Biopics seem to be the flavor of the year for Bollywood which started with the superlative ‘Neerja’ and contiuned with an over glorified ‘Azhar’ and the over dramatic mess called ‘Sarabjit’. This one on India’s most successful captain was long in the making and eagerly awaited for two reasons. One : It had director Neeraj Pandey (‘A Wednesday’, ‘Special 26’, and ‘Baby’) helming it and two: MS Dhoni has still not hung up his boots and going strong in the non-test format. [Read: Akira (2016) Movie Review]
M.S.Dhoni starts with the skipper’s most important match : the 2011 world cup final against Srilanka. As Dhoni enters the field to defend a formidable score, the movie quickly flashbacks to his childhood and gives us valuable insights on his journey to become the only Indian captain who has won India world cups under both formats – one day and T20.
The amusing mix up at time of his birth, Dhoni’s initial interest in football, his almost accidental entry to wicketkeeping, mastering his trademark helicopter shot, his struggle as ticket collector at Kharagpur station leaving him hapless and frustrated are all chronicled effectively in the first half. [Read: Baar Baar Dekho (2016) Movie Review]
There are many touching moments like Dhoni worrying about his future to his supportive sister (Bhoomika Chawla; earnest) and his friends pitching in money to drive him to Dum Dum airport for a crucial selection match. Undoubtedly, the first half is throughly engaging, captivating and moving. [Read: Raaz Reboot (2016) Movie Review]
Post intermission, Neeraj Pandey shifts focus to Dhoni’s love life and this is where the film starts losing its grip. This is not to suggest that those plots are irrelevant but Neeraj has spent a tad too much in the romantic buildup and those needless songs which perhaps, could have been invested in scenes showing Dhoni’s ascent to captaincy and his equation with his teammates. There is a scene where as a captain, he is shown taking a tough call on “senior” players and I would have loved to see how he faced the dissent in the dressing room. But this behind-the-field politics is conveniently unexplored. Never mind! [Read: PINK (2016) Movie Review]
On the acting front, Sushant Singh Rajput in the titular role, delivers his career best performance. The actor has visibly worked very hard in understanding the character traits and translating it fantabulously in form of mannerisms and body language. I am sure the real Mahi would be happy to see himself as Sushant on screen. Anupam Kher is expectedly competent as Dhoni’s caring father. Rajesh Sharma leaves an impression in his short role. Disha Patani and Kiara Advani look pretty as the love interests.
Technically, the idea to use actual match footage with ‘Forrest Gump’ (1994) style morphing of Sushant’s face lends authenticity and realistic touch to the narrative. In addition, the production quality is top class, aided considerably by Sudhir Paisane’s cinematography. The background score is another plus point. [Read: Parched (2016) Movie Review]
To sum up, M.S. Dhoni is certainly not Neeraj Pandey’s best but definitely worth a watch for Sushant Singh Rajput and a truly touching first half. Book your tickets to this one!