Sushant Singh Rajput, Disha Patani, Kiara Advani, Anupam Kher, Bhumika Advani
Fox Star Studios
Neeraj Pandey, Dilip Jha
If you are not a fan of our captain cool, Mahindra Singh Dhoni, after watching this film you will end up loving him. And if you are already an admirer of this Indian cricketer then you will come out of the theatres loving him all the more. That being said, unlike most biopics, this one doesn’t go out of its way to glorify its protagonist and that is the charm of M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. It doesn’t make any attempt to idolize the famous cricketer. Rather, the film celebrates his life and journey with simplicity (which is also one of the trademarks of MSD), rare insights, and anecdotes.
With straightforward narratives that follow Dhoni’s early days and his subsequent rise to the Indian cricket team, brought to life by an uncomplicated hero like Sushant Singh Rajput and director Neeraj Pandey, the film instantly engages you.
The movie begins with a brief glimpse of the final 2011 World Cup match and straightaway dives into the moment when Dhoni was born. From here on, the film touches upon all the major landmark events of his life, from his passion for playing to being discovered by his cricket coach, KR Banerjee (Rajesh Sharma), to getting a job of a travelling ticket examiner at Kharagpur railway station and finally quitting the well-paying job to pursue his dreams.
And while tracing Dhoni’s incredible journey, Neeraj also captures the heart and soul of all the people who are partly responsible for his success — His bunch of friends, Chittoo, Param, Santosh (all brilliantly cast), the Coal Indian Officer Deval Sahay (Kumud Mishra), his supportive sister (Bhumika Chawla), his reluctant father (Anupam Kher), his loving mother, his persistent coach, among a few others. Neeraj focuses on the formative and dramatic years of Dhoni's life in the first half of the film, revealing some really interesting facets of Dhoni’s personality and his commitment towards the game, which took him places.
However, in the second half the focus shifts and glides over Dhoni’s love life and loses momentum. But thankfully the film bounces back towards the climax with the adrenaline energy of the world cup match.
Neeraj Pandey masterfully captures the essence of Dhoni in this biopic, which is filled with details. The film is also entertaining and technically decent. Must say, the morphing of Sushant’s face in the final real-time footage of the World Cup match was done pretty well. However, the same can’t be said about the CGI used in the beginning of the film to make Sushant look younger. Another problem with the film is its length; it did have scope to be crisper. And some shaky camera movements are plain annoying.
This movie is probably Sushant’s best, whether on the cricket pitch or off the field, Sushant effortlessly transports you into the world of Dhoni with a memorable act. Other than a slight slip of the diction here and there, Sushant has not only has captured Dhoni’s cricketing style but his body language and his thoughtful focus too. One can actually see him thinking his way through matches and working his way through strategies just like Dhoni. One can safely say that the boy is ready to carry the weight of a film of this magnitude entirely on his shoulders.
The casting is another plus of this film. Each and every character is fantastic in their parts. Anupam Kher is as usual great. Rajesh Sharma, Kumud Mishra, and Kali Prasad Mukherjee are outstanding. Bhumika does justice to her part. Disha Patani as Dhoni’s ex-girlfriend Priyanka is impressive, and Kiara as Sakshi is average.
On the whole, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, despite a few flaws is entertaining and has several memorable moments. And like mentioned earlier, the film refuses to idolize Dhoni but does turn his life into an inspiration for millions of other Dhonis of this country who have a dream.
Watch it, strongly recommended.