Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput , Disha Patani , Anupam Kher Herry Tangri, Kiara Advani , Bhumika Chawla , Rajesh Sharma
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Screenplay: Neeraj Pandey, Nandu Kamte
Dialogue: Dilip Jha
Technical Aspects: 3.75
The film begins with the climatic portions of Ind v SL World Cup 2011 final as MSD gears up to promoting himself in a surprise decision.And we all know how it ended.This strong shot kicks the tires for the film which then switches all the way back to 7 July 1981 where Papa Dhoni is anxiously waiting in the maternity ward with his daughter. Little does he know that a legend was in the making.
The film spans a good 180 minutes and makes best use of the first 90 delivering the ‘untold’ and ‘unknown’ fragments of the childhood and teenage years of MSD.Director Neeraj Pandey spends ample time churning out small and big details with equal ease.
Mahi a lanky school kid in Ranchi, who actually wanted to play football, crashes into destiny with Dhoni’s school coach discovering his talents at wicket keeping, his father’s initial reluctance and later acceptance of the fact that his son is better off as a cricketer than as a Government employee and Dhoni’s own struggles to make it to the Indian team, as he works as a TTE at Kharagpur station.
The film moves breezily in the first half from one incident to another, as we get invested in Dhoni’s life and career. Several moments stand out like Dhoni seeing his father wake up in the night to water the ground, his first match with his future rival Yuvraj Singh, and him not coping with his railway duties. And yes Sushant Singh Rajput is terrific.
The film then takes a gear backwards in the second half which I believe is what hindered this otherwise great film from escalating to levels of absolute brilliance.The script begins to flood us with the romantic interests and exotic locations and plentiful songs.A lot has already been documented regarding the love-affairs of MSD and it did not warrant as much screen-time as it got which slackened the pace of matters.’
The makers skim over the MSD who we have known as ‘Captain Cool’ and all the controversies his decisions led him into.Neither do we get to look into the mind of the master-strategist whose ingenious abilities of assessing a problem while keeping his nerves and then literally hitting them out of the park is unrivalled.We even dont get a proper glimpse at Dhoni the athlete, the cricketer which is also a downer.
But then apart of this the film basically gets everything else bang-on. The strength of the film is in its beautiful characters played so brilliantly by each one of them.The bigger story is of the people who supported Dhoni to become what he is.
The direction is fabulous and kudos to Pandey for keeping the film so real and so grounded especially when it comes to a bio-pic of such an ultra popular figure.The film seamlessly blends actual figures with the film’s re-enactment which is a huge plus.
Sushant Singh Rajput has undergone massive physical and mental changes and the end result is that he could easily pass as MSD on any day.An absolutely terrific performance and might just be career-defining.In fact the level of acting from all actors is so high that it seldom feels like a bio-pic and more of a documentary almost like a mirrored reality.
The dialogues are well written and suit the tone of the film and the brilliant production values(especially the quality of cricketing depicted) along with the spectacular background score make sure your eyes remained glued to the screen.
The film does idolize Dhoni in a many-a-places but then doesn’t leave many opportunities to prove that he is just like us.. an ordinary man who just did n0t give up.The film ends on a high with the conclusive moments of the world cup finale.These are the very moments that are etched in our collective memories and Pandey pushes the right triggers to evoke national pride.
In conclusion the film should not be missed by anyone who has ever admired Dhoni nor by Sushant fans.Others can still watch it for being a wholesome family product albeit with some patience.