When cricket and Bollywood join hands, the results are always expected to be positive. With the life of the legendary Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni being put on the big screen in Neeraj Pandey directed ‘MS Dhoni – The Untold Story’, much of the same has been expected. Sushant Singh Rajput steps into Dhoni’s shoes in the film which has received a great response to the trailers and initial promos.
The story follows the life journey that Dhoni took before he became famous for his incredible skills on the national Indian cricket team. The climax of the story is the 2011 World Cup where India took the title with Dhoni as their captain.
Credit should definitely be given where it’s due and, first and foremost, Pandey is the one responsible for putting such an engaging, eventful and overall entertaining story on the big screen. Dhoni’s life has been full of struggle and he’s come from a small town where his talents were supported by so many of the people he met through his early life as well as his friends. Pandey manages to cram a lot into the film but still manages to keep the story engaging and relatable, without making the audience feel like the story is being rushed or give viewers a chance to feel connected to the story. This is indeed a great accomplishment for such a film which is more factual than just spiced up to please the Indian diaspora that would be its target audience.
Singh Rajput as Dhoni is par excellence. There is no other actor which could possibly have fit into this role as Singh Rajput has and this is definitely the USP of the film. His ease as an actor has always been something that works in his favour even in a script that might not back that talent at all times but with this biopic, Singh Rajput just reiterates how good he is in any role. At no point do you feel, as an audience member, that he is anything but prepared and moulded for the role that he is portraying. His chemistry with both Disha Patani (who plays Priyanka – Dhoni’s girlfriend as he started his journey with Team India) and Kiara Advani (Dhoni’s wife Sakshi Malik) works well, and also keeps the audiences positively connected with Dhoni’s emotions at each time. Anupam Kher as Dhoni’s father, Bhumika Chawla as his sister and the rest of the ensemble cast only go to show how much genuine support there was for Dhoni’s talent – each actor making their presence felt in the overall narrative.
It has to be said that, for a cricket fan, this film will definitely serve its purpose. It gives you a great insight into the incredible struggle and decisions that Dhoni went through to even get to a place on the Indian team. If you only find ‘MS Dhoni -The Untold Story’ appealing because of the sport being mixed with Bollywood, be ready for a real and uplifting coming of age story which represents the amazing Mahendra Singh Dhoni who led the Indian team to its first World Cup victory in 28 years. That moment was history in the making and that very history put on celluloid is something else. It might not sweep all of the awards but it’s definitely worth a watch.
BizAsia Showbiz rating: 4/5