Saturday, October 1, 2016

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story - Movie Review


Ratings: 4/5 

Making a biopic is always challenging and especially when you are making on someone who is just 35 years old. Story of Dhoni is like an open book. What possibly can one show in 190 minutes in an entertaining way and keep audience engaged? You have to watch the film to appreciate the Midas touch of a marvel called Neeraj Pandey. How could one possibly imagine that captain cool with nerves of steel had a phase in life when he was dull, depressed and unsure of his cricketing future? How many of us know that he too had a love story, a beautiful tragic one. Still that didn't affect his game and dedication towards his passion. That's why he is worthy of a biopic, that too an inspiring one. 

Neeraj Pandey (the man behind story, screenplay, dialogues and direction) is undoubtedly the all rounder of Bollywood. This is his 4th film as a director after A Wednesday, Special 26 and Baby. How can one not be floored by his consistent performance of giving critically acclaimed blockbusters back to back. He ensured that he lives up to audience expectation in this film too. Film runs at a fast pace with lots of action happening everywhere. Yet director ensured that there aren't any half baked characters and enough time was spent on Dhoni's initial struggle in Ranchi to his frustration in Kharagpur and then his journey to stardom. 

Sushant Singh Rajput has finally delivered a film, which would be remembered for his acting prowess. Cricket fans would vouch for him transforming into Dhoni. Be it his gait, mannerism, facial expressions, nose twitch, helicopter shot or entry into the ground. Absolutely brilliant! There is a scene when he receives a bad news over phone and had to express anguish without any dialogue. Clap worthy performance. I am glad he didn't dance in any of the songs despite being a good dancer. Disha Patani plays the role of Dhoni's girlfriend. She looks attractive and does justice to role given to her. Somehow her line of "Hamare paas bahut time hai na" was way too forced and artificial. How could Neeraj Pandey not have noticed it? Kiara Advani as Sakshi Dhoni was below average. But, I liked the scene where she goes to meet Dhoni with her friend and had to almost keep her star struck friend on leash. Anupam Kher as Dhoni's father and Bhoomika Chawla as her sister gave a forgetful performance.  

Kumud Mishra as Railway officer was impressive in his grey character. Director chose to leave his intentions ambiguous and up to audience interpretation, which I liked. Other than Sushant Singh, Rajesh Sharma as Dhoni's coach is  another character worth applauding. You would love his scenes at Sabji mandi where he gets restless to go for cricket practice. Rajesh Sharma makes even a dull scene of watching cricket match so lively having friendly banter with his wife. 

There were many unnamed characters with small roles yet important enough to give a shape to story. For e.g. Sports shop owner Sardarji who believed in Dhoni from Day 1. His school friends who were there for him through out his struggle. Mr AK Ganguly who gave him the break in Railways and made him realize that this is not his destiny. 2 cricket commentators, who saw every match of Dhoni from school days to India Captain. You will even recognize characters playing Yuvraj Singh, Dalmiya, Sandeep Patil, Kiran More, Vengsarkar etc. Film also had highlights of Dhoni's crucial matches and how each of them solidified his performance in the team. Thankfully, songs didn't act as a drag and helped story to move forward. 


Verdict: Overall a well made film, which would get nominated in awards this year for direction and story. Even if you don't love cricket you should still see the film to see struggle of a man who believed in himself and chased his passion till eternity. After watching the film, your respect for Dhoni would go up 2 notches higher.