The challenge with films that tell real-life stories (of public figures) is that the audience already has a broader picture of the narrative. The director’s ability to pull it off then is in the telling of the story. And there are few storytellers in Hindi cinema like Neeraj Pandey. His debut ‘A Wednesday’ still stays his best work so far. But MS Dhoni – The Untold Story is an ambitious project, bigger than anything he’s helmed before.
I’m barely a cricket enthusiast so I won’t know how the cricket fans have taken to the film, factually and otherwise. But the focus of the film clearly (and strategically) stays on his personal life. Unlike Azhar, a biopic on Indian cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin released early this year, that spotlighted the dark side of the sport (though clumsily executed). MS Dhoni mostly steers clear of the ugly side of his professional life. The film is more about his journey of getting there.
MS Dhoni trails the journey of a young passionate boy from Ranchi with big dreams. He won’t settle for a meagre existence, like his father. The film interestingly captures his journey from the school kid who takes keen interest in sports (though not cricket) to a star cricketer loved by millions. It’s an inspiring, moving tale. But what’s endearing about this journey is that it doesn’t change or lessen the person he is. The tremendously talented Sushant Singh Rajput in the role of M.S. Dhoni made sure he brought that out with his near-flawless performance.
The actor adds another great work to his remarkable filmography. He’s achieved much in a short span of time. He along with Neeraj Pandey majorly take home the credit for the success ‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’ has turned out to be. The rest of the cast – Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma, Kumud Mishra, Bhumika Chawla, Zeeshan (who played young Dhoni) equally well supported the film.
The actual footage of the matches lent more believability, more realness to the scenes. The anxiety, the nervousness in the final moments of the last match was so palpable. But the last scene, more than Sushant, belonged to his father (Anupam Kher) and coach (Rajesh Sharma).
Despite its three-hour runtime, MS Dhoni is a thoroughly engaging film. Watch it.