M.S Dhoni is compared to the likes of Usain Bolt when it comes to running on a cricket pitch. From “M.S Dhoni the Untold Story” , you learn that it is a skill that he acquired when as a teenager he had to finish his 3 hour exams in 2.5 hours and run for the most part of the next half an hour to reach his cricket camp. You learn that it is a skill which he acquired when as a ticket collector he had to run really fast between platforms to attend trains that arrive at same times.
Dhoni doesn’t reveal his emotions on a cricket ground. From the movie, you learn it is a character he attained when he used to hide his tears from his friends who try the best they could to help but still fail at times. Dhoni is known for his wonderful ability to tackle pressure situations. From the movie , you learn it is a gift that he earned as he came across failures at various points in his life.
Most of us know the amazingly inspirational story of how a small town ticket collector became India’s most successful cricket captain. But “M.S Dhoni the Untold Story” reveals in front of us us the minor details of how the characteristics of the captain cool you see today is formed in the early years of his life. The movie starts off in Wankhede Stadium in 2011 World Cup Final when M.S Dhoni watches Sachin getting out on TV in the dressing room and he lets Gary Kirsten know that he want to promote himself up the order.
Kohli gets out next , Dhoni walks out to the ground and the crowd in the multiplex I watched went berserk. From that point the movie offered numerous moments where crowd cheered, whistled and applauded. I have been 8 years in Bangalore and I have not seen another movie in a multiplex with such tremendous response from the crowd.
Neeraj Pandey, the director is in absolutely fine form in the first half of the movie. From the Wankhede stadium , you are then sent back in time to M.S Dhoni’s childhood , his teenage days and then the years where he worked as ticket collector. This portion has several moments that bring a smile on you , several that give you goosebumps and several that struck you emotionally . The moments between Yuvraj and Dhoni in the U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy final or how Dhoni describes Yuvraj made 348 which was one run less than the entire Bihar score would be particularly pleasing for huge cricket fans.
The second half unfortunately slips as the focus shifts more to the ladies in Dhoni’s life . Not that you are not interested in Dhoni’s love life, but the 3-4 songs and the romantic portions kill the pace it had until then and also takes away the focus from the time he made debut in national side to the 2011 World cup. The VFX works of showing Sushant’s face over Dhoni’s body works half the time, falters during the rest.
Finally to the man without whom this movie would have not been even half enjoyable than what it is now – Sushant Singh Rajput. It’s a role of a lifetime and a character that was so risky to play because everyone has seen this man so much for a major part of their life unlike other biopics. Sushant takes up that risk ,gives a bravura performance and comes out in flying colors.
How he walked out of the dressing room for the 2011 WC final looking exactly like Dhoni from behind or how he emulated the skipper so perfectly in each and every cricket shot that he plays would be discussed among circles for a long time. He carries Dhoni’s calm persona and ice-cool attitude ditto which is what seriously let you watch this biopic with more enthusiasm. This man should walk away with the major awards this year. He really should.
Another aspect I loved about the movie is apart from Dhoni’s own life story , it also serves as a tribute to the people who stood by Dhoni through the tough times of his life. The coach who first recognized his wicket keeping talent. His family who let him follow his dream. The shop keeper who wouldn’t rest until he get a sponsor for Dhoni’s sports kit. The friend who taught him the helicopter shot. His group of friends who put in all the money they had and took him to Kolkata airport to let him attend the Duleep Trophy match on time. The railway manager who advised him to duck the bouncers in life until the good time arrives. These wonderful people and the actors who play them do add more shine to the movie.
Had it featured 2-3 songs less and cut 15-20 min less from Dhoni’s love life, I think the movie might have turned out to be landmark experience. For now , it is still a great treat to Dhoni fans and even cricket lovers who could go back and revive a lot of the great cricket moments from the past few years. Especially which cricket lover wouldn’t want to revive the memorable 2011 WC final night and that last ball sixer !