Hardwork and perseverance. If one has these two qualities in them, no one can stop them from achieving success. And this lies true for the Indian cricketer and the current captain of the Indian national cricket team in limited-overs formats, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However, the road to success doesn’t necessarily have to be a cake walk. And to tell the tale of M.S. Dhoni, director Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday, Baby) in a biographical film released M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story starring Sushant Singh Rajput as the Indian cricket captain.
Being a biopic, there are certain expectations set for the film from the audience perspective and since I am not an avid cricket follower or M.S. Dhoni fan, I had limited knowledge about him. And to some extent the film imparts few unknown information about Dhoni’s life. The movie has its moments and Sushant Singh Rajput shines throughout the film.
The first half of the film establishes how Dhoni is as a person, how from being a goalkeeper in school football team got into cricket, his family background, his early cricket career, the way he smilingly deals with all situations, how he got into being a travelling ticket examiner, his frustration. While the second half of the film focuses on how he rose up and went onto become the man who he is now.
Though the film seems a bit stretched, the unfoldment of the life of Dhoni has been well executed. As one awaits for the interval in the initial half, the movie becomes gripping from the second half of the film. The reaction of Dhoni post the 1999–2000 Cooch Behar Trophy where he lost against Yuvraj Singh, when he missed the flight to Kolkata, his frustration during his TTE journey and retreat to cricket, when he receives the news about his first love Priyanka’s death, his statement to the selection team (which later got controversial); all these scenes are the memorable moments.
Many live cricket match footages have been used wherein Dhoni’s face had to be replaced with Sushant Singh’s. Not just in the match’s portions, even the bit when a teenage Dhoni is shown who is leaner in looks, had to be face replaced. The teenage version of Dhoni’s face seemed a bit out of place and felt like the work of computer whereas there were few batting segments in the actual match sequence wherein it seemed that the face replacement wasn’t carried out (something which an audience won’t spot).
Working on these shots was India’s leading VFX studio Prime Focus. After the work carried in The Flying Jatt, it was welcoming to see that Prime Focus has managed to deliver a commendable work on this biopic. Crowd multiplication, face replacements especially during close-ups in actual cricket match moments, the DI, all have been well executed.
As for the casting, all the actors fit in their role and deliver their part well. What was missing was M.S. Dhoni’s elder brother Narendra Singh Dhoni.
Being a film on M.S. Dhoni with Sushant Singh Rajput, the film is bound to make some box office wonders. Directed and written by Neeraj Pandey, produced by Arun Pandey and Fox Star Studios M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story has hit the theatres on 30 September, 2016.
Verdict: As I waited for the 190 minutes film (which seemed more than that) to get over, the movie can be given a miss and be watched on the small screen whenever it arrives. (Unless you are a Dhoni fan)