MS Dhoni: Sushant Singh Rajput delivers a career best performance

Before walking into the theatres to see MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, I just had one thought in mind. “Please don’t pull an Azhar, please don’t  pull and Azhar.” And trust me when I say that it didn’t. This film has a lot more to it than just being about a young man who is passionate about cricket. It’s about family values, about brother-sister relationships, about love and of course, about sportsmanship.

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Title: MS Dhoni: The Untold Story

Directed by: Neeraj Pandey

Produced by: Arun Pandey and Fox Star Studios

Starring: Sushant Singh Rajput, Disha Patani, Kiara Advani, Bhumika Chawla, Anupam Kher

Production Company: Fox Star Studios, Inspired Entertainment and Friday FilmWorks

Release date: 30th September, 2016

Language: Hindi

Genre: Biopic

When you go to see a Neeraj Pandey film, considering his body of art, you know the film will not disappoint you. Though the movie is quite stretched, but I’m not going to talk about that for now. I’m not going to crib about the fact that I actually had to sit in the theatre for three and a half hours, interval included. Because I really walked out of the movie with a welled heart and teary eyes. This movie is an emotional journey, more than anything else. Common audience, however, may not find it so emotional. It may just be a passionate story for them. But for me, it really was an emotional ride. Seeing Dhoni go through the various ups and downs, the politics involved really really moved me, reminding me of that span of my life when I was into sports myself. Neeraj Pandey has perfectly captured everything, from Dhoni’s personal life to his professional, though there are certain things that I would have wanted to see – locker room bromance, a little more of dirty politics and how Dhoni became the captain of the Indian team to just name a few. The camera work done is moderately nice, though that could have been better because I really don’t want to see Sushant Singh Rajput and Kiara Advani standing in each other’s arms while the camera encircles them literally five times.

Sushant Singh Rajput plays Dhoni and with what impeccable talent. The looks, make-up, accent, this man has literally nailed it all. No one has ever had doubts about his acting chops and I think, never will. Sushant is very very convincing as Dhoni even off the pitch. His understanding of his character is top notch. His portrayal of Dhoni as a young boy dreaming of making it  big in this mad world of cricket, juggling between education and the game, as a TC at Kharagpur Railway Station and finally as the captain of the Indian Cricket Team cannot be questioned. Sushant pulls the right strings and gives one his best performances.

Anupam Kher as the angry, unsatisfied, stereotypical Indian father is one thing to look out in the film. His anger when Mahi chooses cricket over studies, anguish when he leaves his job as a TC and love when his son lifts the World Cup trophy are all so beautiful, that it is beyond words.

The ladies, Kiara Advani, Disha Patani and even Bhumika Chawla add so much radiance to the story. Disha as Priyanka, Kiara as Sakshi and Bhumika as Mahi’s ‘Didi’ Jayanti deliver performances of substance in their short appearances. Disha Patani marks a smashing debut with a very larger-than-life character, though Kiara Advani’s portrayal of an innocent Sakshi Dhoni just won my heart. Bhumika Chawla has been doing some Hindi movies here and there apart from her stint as an actress down south, but she makes her presence felt in this film after really long, probably after Tere Naam.

Dhoni’ mother, his coach, the coach’s wife, the people in the system, his friends, are all a treat to watch. Their subtle humour, anger, pride and love and compassion holds no bounds.

The songs are unneeded and over the top. They do not fit into the narrative because I really didn’t want to know how Mahi romances Priyanka or Sakshi. I was more concerned about his relationship with Sachin (Tendulkar), about the nuances in the Indian Cricket Team. But I got to see none.

I walked out of the movie thinking how much I could relate to the film, how regular has Dhoni’s life been. And oh! Brownie points for the casting of the younger version of Yuvraj Singh.

All in all, this film is a must watch. You may get bored in between, but there is a lot more to hold onto than to leave!

My Rating: 3.5/5

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