MS Dhoni: The Untold Story
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Anupam Kher, Disha Patni, Kiara Advani
Director: Neeraj Pandey
M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, unlike the name suggest if you thought it is a biography on the India’s most successful captain, then you may be confused, while watching you may feel this movie as a complete real movie vs reel movie.
Neeraj Pandey remains off totally with many controversies ; the IPL spot-fixing charges, Rift with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, he even beeps the names of Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S Laxman, but again as said earlier the director has made a commercial cinema, not a complete biography. May be some another movie on that someday.
Of course such sanitisation makes the film lose out on interesting layers and complexity, but, curiously, the focused, unwavering eulogising of Dhoni also helps it get an unmistakeable emotional acuity.
Positive qualities like drive, focus and steadfastness are the main attentions and Sushant Singh Rajput catches them easily.
There seem to be no major adversaries in dhoni’s life either, save the circumstances and destiny. Yet there are moments of depression, the frustration in having to keep ducking the bouncers bowled by life while being M. S. Dhoni, the railway ticket collector. He eventually has to leave the platform behind to ride on the train of his dreams. In a nutshell, a life that is anything but extraordinary in its extreme ordinariness.
It’s this unfussy, matter-of-fact portrayal that makes his personal story ring severely true for millions of lives. The dreams and desires trying hard to take wings in the cramped but homely quarter number 142 of Mecon Limited in Ranchi would reverberate with any lower middle class home. Where the father always chides the kids to study lest they turn out like him—low in stature, where mother is always the mediator and children themselves want much more out of life than what they have been granted. It’s the genuineness of the characters in the background which adds to Sushant’s performance at the centre from Anupam Kher as his reticent father, or Rajesh Sharma as quirky coach Banerjee.
The film has a terrific sense of place—the many stadiums in small towns, the coal mines, the railway stations. Pandey lets in the details with some fine little heartwarming touches. The romantic interludes, seemingly unnecessary eventually tot up Dhoni’s heroism—stealing a moment away to come to terms with an intensely private grief, stealthily finding time for love in the glare of media and public eye.
The film catches the game at the grassroots—but instead of the usual portrayal of bureaucratic stranglehold what you see is an unquestioning commitment and passion for the game in the many officials. In a way, the film then becomes a piece of nostalgia, harking back to the innocent days of cricket. However, the film lets him remain in an idealistic bubble. Even when he is shown endorsing one product after another (which obviously doubles up as in-film brand promotion) it does so with a sense of indulgence; the whole sequence playing out like a burlesque of sorts.
Pandey could have come all the way up to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup semi-finals in which we lost but then the film wouldn’t have remained the soaring biopic that it is now. To begin and end with the 2011 finals with the breathtaking top shots of Wankhede, pulsating with the cries of “Indiyaaah Indiyaah”, and Mahi hitting a glorious six to victory
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