‘Grafting Innings’

Review of the movie  ‘M.S Dhoni – The Untold Story’ by G9 Divya Solgama

Expectations:

Cricket and movies are the two most favourite pastime considered among Indians. Thus, one could see our film-makers trying their best to blend films and cricketers right from Salim Durani’s involvement with ‘Charitra’ in the early 70’s era, followed by Sandeep Patil & Syed Kirmani in ‘Kabhi Ajnabi The’ in the mid 80’s along with Sunil Gavaskar’s special appearance in ‘Malamal’. Sadly, none of these films including films like ‘All Rounder’, ‘Awwal Number’ and few more managed to make the right mark at the box-office. After several attempts the blend did take place in the form of films like ‘Lagaan’, ‘Iqbal’ and others. These movies managed to portray the right essence of India’s favourite game which is also like a religion for many of its die-hard fans. Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’, opened the doors for a new genre of biographical films being made on the lives of sports person. The latest to join this genre is ‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’, which is based upon the life of India’smost adored captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. So let’s find out whether ‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’will manage to give us a great biopic based upon one of India’s favourite cricketer or might end up being a glorified one sided version like how it was in case of recently released Emraan Hashmi’s film, ‘Azhar’.

msdhoni-fijiStory:

‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’ is a story of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Sushant Singh Rajput) showcasing the hardship and struggle he went through in his childhood and youth days. Mahendra’s father Pan Singh Dhoni (Anupam Kher) always wanted his son to get a secured job and lead a happy life. But ever since his youth days, Mahendra wanted to focus only on cricket. Mahendra is coached by Banerjee (Rajesh Sharma) and guided by many others, so that he can play for India. After lot of struggle and hardship Mahendra makes his way into the Indian cricket team. But his hardship does not end out there as a new chapter full of ups and downs begins in his life. How does he cope up with all these struggles, is what the entire film is all about.

Screenplay & Technical Details:

The story mainly focuses on the earlier life followed by the personal life of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The first half despite of being lengthy is highly captivating. The entire childhood part related to Sushant’s obsession for batting followed by his bonding with his coach is shown in an enthusing manner. The joy continues with Sushant’s first match as an opener followed by learning the different styles of batting, missing out flight from Kolkata, Sushant’s trial at the railways followed by Sushant’s boss sharing the similarities between life and different styles of ball deliveries.

These scenes are totally intriguing and enjoyable. The middle portions related to Sushant’s struggle at the railways is hard-hitting but at the same time bit dragging. There are many small instances like Sushant’s happiness over receiving the cricket kit, Sushant hiding his sadness from everyone, Sushant losing his cool for a second, while working as a ticket collector, Sushant’s bonding with his sister Bhoomika Chawla and coach Kumud Mishra along with few more, works in the favour of the film. The romance part involving Disha Patani is cute. The entire courtship track works as a fresh breeze in the film. Sadly, post interval things move at jet speed and cricket take a back seat as we are forced to watch the dragging and filmi romantic track of Sushant and Kiara Advani. This track dilutes the intensity of the film. The writers fails to elaborate the important parts like Sushant getting selected in Indian team followed by becoming the captain of the team. These tracks along with the controversies related to Mahendra Singh Dhoni are shown in a jiffy, without even giving us the proper insight. Many tough decisions of Mahendra Singh Dhoni are unexplained making the movie go totally against its title.

The finale part involving the world cup victory is entertaining and nostalgically emotional. The special effects showing Sushant in his teens playing local match in the late 90’s era is terrible. But besides those scenes the special effects especially in the finale part is of top notch. The mixing of real life visuals along with Sushant in place of Dhoni looks real and flawless. The movie is around three hours and at times becomes tedious and dragging.

Music:

Despite of having less scope for music, songs like ‘Besabriyaan’, ‘KaunTujhe’ and ‘PhirKabhi’ are superb. Background music works in the favour of the film.

Direction:

Director Neeraj Pandey ventures into the past life of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and highly succeeds in narrating the partly untold story of one of the India’s most loved captain. He excels in almost all the departments right from extracting fantastic performances, gripping narration and making the movie engaging as well as entertaining. It’s only that as the movie ends, you are left a bit dissatisfied as many of important chapters of Dhoni’s life were neither explored nor shown in a proper manner. The second half demanded the inside story of Dhoni’s career followed by his memorable innings, making tough decisions as a captain along with highlighting the pressures as a captain. This clearly states that the makers wanted to make a safe film glorifying the ace cricketer. The makers should have ended the movie like how Nagesh Kukunoor did in the case of ‘Iqbal’ as that would have justified the hardship and struggle of Dhoni.

Performances:

Sushant Singh Rajput gives one of those lifetime type of performance. He excels his performance with help of all the necessary mannerisms and detailing related to the real life character. This movie portrays his fantastic talent as an actor. Disha Patani looks beautiful and reminds you of young Amrita Rao. Her chemistry with Sushant is short, sweet and enjoyable. Kiara Advani is fine in her part but her character needed more substance. AnupamKher, Rajesh Sharma, Bhumika Chawla and Kumud Mishra lends good support. A special mention to the casting director for getting the young Dhoni and young Yuvraj Singh.

Final Verdict:

So on an overall basis, ‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’ is one of the decent biopics from our country. The movie is narrated in an entertaining manner and has a fantastic first half. Sadly, the second half has very few merits to cherish and hardly showcases the cricketing side of Dhoni. The title should have been ‘M.S Dhoni – The Personal Story’ instead of ‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’. Despite of all the flaws and falling low over the expectation level, this movie is like a grafting innings which works due to the fine performance of Sushant Singh Rajput and the mad fan following of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Rating – 3/5 (Source – Bollywood Times)