M S Dhoni Film Review: Long Drawn Out Helicopter Shot

| October 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

M S Dhoni as a most successful Indian Cricket Captain, the Captain Cool who ended the drought of 28 long years and got us once again the ODI World Cup, who also scripted the history for the country as first T20 World Cup Champions–well all this is in public domain,a part of the plethora of material on the story already known.

It’s the Untold Story of Dhoni’s rise as a shining and brightest star from year 2004 till 2011 that is the plot of this film, where his dedication,perseversnce, focus and commitment for the game of cricket (which he took up reluctantly) are brought out from his school days till the highest point in his career where he truly made a Captain’s knock and led from the front to get us the World Cup.

It tells about those unknown vignettes of his life where friends,guides,angels in disguise as stern coaches and employers goaded,prodded,provided for the realisation of his dream.Of course there was support from loving sister Jayanti (Bhumika Chawla),and a doting,caring mother.It’s only the father Pan Singh Dhoni (Anupam Kher),a pump operator,who cannot fathom the passion and power of his son’s dreams and his talent in sports that leads to a conflict of sorts.

He has well-being of his son at heart as he wants him to get education and then get a secure,permanent govt.job because sports does not guarantee any security.

In this backdrop Sushant Singh Rajput as M S Dhoni showcases the struggles,frustrations’ responses and journey of a normal,middle class boy from small town of Ranchi(erstwhile Bihar,now Jharkhand) to the summit of Indian Cricket. This how-he-made-it forms the backbone of the first half of 190 minute long film.

There is mention of Dhoni’s prodigal talent that has aggression though his technique is not copybook standards. Infact in one of the scenes the Chairman of the Selection Committee Kiran More defends this technique fault by labelling it as unconventional.

We are told how Dhoni learnt and mastered the helicopter shot from his friend Santosh(Kranti Jha) who used to call it a’Thappad Shot’–like slapping the ball hard.

There is passing reference to how then captain Sourav Ganguly supported Dhoni during his initial lean patch in Indian Team.

Then there are other untold facets of Dhoni’s life that concern mostly his personal life. Two girls in his life Priyanka Jha (Disha Patni) and Sakshi (Kiara Advani).How he loses the one and then gets married to the latter forms a romantic subplot of the story.

The uncanny similarity in these girls demeanour and attitude towards Dhoni on their first meeting reminds one of Notting Hill encounter between Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. But the similarity ends there as the scenes scripted and directed by Neeraj Pandey have unique Indian flavour and emotions.

The movie indeed takes you on an emotional ride albeit not roller coaster kinds. Dhoni’s tryst with a government job as TTE at Kharagpur brings out his sense of suffocation and frustration where he can see his life going waste whereas his contemporaries from his Under 19 Indian Team, namely Yuvraj and Gautam Gambhir are striding strong on the cricketing grounds.

Sushant Singh Rajput gives his career defining performance and is a sureshot nominee for Best Actor award. He just gets under the skin of Dhoni’s character and walks, talks and even walks the talk literally.He brings alive the simmering emotions with his nuanced performance.

Infact acting across the board is commendable.Anupam Kher as an upright and concerned father tugs at your heart.

What we are not told are the various controversies surrounding Dhoni’s captaincy,dressing room politics,selection committee manipulations,IPL match fixing allegations and even how Dhoni got his captaincy!

All these exclusions do not make for a wholesome biopic. Though the makers say it is not a biography but a story based on true facts,still the whole package is skewed to highlight the heroism of Dhoni.Its more of a hagiography (an idolizing,idealising biography).

It is designed that way intentionally as Dhoni himself is one of the producers of the film through his Sports Management Company. Story, Script and Direction by Neeraj Pandey plays safe avoiding all touchy issues, at times just touching them on surface level like Dhoni’s cold relations with Veeru aka Virendra Sehwag.

The canvas is grand and is skillfully interspersed with highlights from crucial matches in Dhoni’s career that made him a darling of the masses. It’s inspiring dotted with many moving moments. The bonding between friends,siblings,love showered by masses (the whole town and school kids rushing out on getting a news that Dhoni ‘phod’ raha hai, that Dhoni is thrashing in a district level match).

It entertains and engages intermittently and tests your patience with its interminable length. Infact there are many moments where it seems in the first half that this is going to be an interval point.But it is pushed further down.Lyrics and Music blends smoothly with the narrative.Oher pluses are apt casting(Yuvraj and young Dhoni’s especially) and mood lighting.

I wish the Untold Story had brought about more of Dhoni’s character and motivations concerning his cricketing career that could pierce through his Captain Cool persona and showed him more human and vulnerable.

It’s a must watch for Dhoni’s cricket fans,cricket lovers per se, super performances by the ensemble cast led by SSR, and even for the vulnerable viewers mindful of value for their ticketing and popcorn money.Its not a clean ‘helicopter’ shot but almost there.

Rating:Ratings-3-stars

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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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