Sushant Singh Rajput as MS Dhoni Image: Facebook
Starring: Sushant Singh Rajput, Disha Pattani, Kiara Advani, Anupam Kher, Kumud Mishra
Written by: Neeraj Pandey, Dilip Jha
Directed by: Neeraj Pandey
Produced by: Fox Star Studio, Arun Pandey
You will like this if you liked: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
I would pay: 350/500
In an almost surreal scene at one point in the film MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Dhoni is seen sitting on an empty railway platform on a rainy day when an empty train comes along, pulls up next to him and a door bangs open. He stares at it, then suddenly jumps on-board, allowing fate to determine the road ahead. This is the only scene in the film where the screenplay takes the artistic route, almost creating a dream-like situation.
The first half is a mere depiction of facts, right from the time Dhoni's talent was spotted on the football field and later channelised towards cricket. As the fours and sixes begin to flow from his bat, he is first selected to represent his school, later the under-19 team and finally via Duleep and Ranji matches, the Indian national cricket team. At each juncture of his journey, he is guided by a mentor and supported by a host of well-meaning friends, who appreciate his talent and motivate him to move ahead. The struggle he faces is the 'untold' part of his story and is engaging for the way his family is portrayed. The inter-family dynamics are shown convincingly, the many sermons delivered by his father (Anupam Kher), the unwavering love and dedication of his mother and sister who try in every way possible to make things easier for him as he struggles juggling a job with cricket. The scene where he tells his father that he has given up a prized railway job as a TC to concentrate on cricket is one of the most sensitive ones in the film along with the one where he breaks down when he hears of his girlfriend’s accident.
Post interval, it is all about cricket, the matches, the failures and the successes. Minor detours are taken to showcase the two romantic interludes in his life, his first girlfriend who passes away in an accident and the girl he ultimately marries, but nowhere does the film explain how he came to be the Captain Cool as he is popularly known as. This is particularly disappointing and leaves the viewer with a sense of incompleteness at the end.
The strength of MS Dhoni: The Untold Story is in the construction of the film by Neeraj Pandey who has written and directed it, the way the milieu is set up, the minute attention even paid to the character actors who deliver wonderfully nuanced performances and in its ability to elicit a singularly layered portrayal by Sushant Singh Rajput. Even Rajput’s usually hesitant dialogue delivery is at perfect pitch here.
If the cricket could have been reduced, after all, the matches are recent enough to have been seen and remembered by most viewers, the pesky in-film ads illustrating Mahi's popularity could be done away with and some scenes in the first half cut short, the run time would have been more acceptable too. At 190 minutes, it occasionally seems like a Test match in the day and age of the more appealing format of T20.