Director: Neeraj Pandey
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Kiara Advani, Disha Patani, Anupam Kher
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story chronicles the journey of India's most loved captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Going by its its tagline, "The Man you know, the journey you don't", the makers have stuck strictly to the making of Dhoni the cricket legend rather than dwelling on his celebrity life. This is the reason why the film connects with you emotionally.
The film starts with 2011 World Cup finals with Dhoni entering the field to play one of the most crucial innings of his life. The story then goes to the flash back and film begins with the birth of Mahi. The story covers his family background, their aspirations and expectations, Mahi's childhood and adolescence years. What strikes the most throughout the first half is the way every character who has played even the minute role in making of Dhoni- the captain, has been depicted in the film.
Sushant Singh Rajput is undoubtedly the best choice to portray an underdog who went on to become one of the most successful cricketers. Rajput brings the much required sincerity and restrained language on screen. Be it the small town hesitation or the determination, Sushant is the soul of the film. Anupam Kher hits a boundary with his portrayal of Paan Singh Dhoni. The hesitation of a lower middle class family man who wants his son to be in a government job instead of being a cricketer is depicted perfectly by Kher.
But while the film concentrates on Dhoni's life, the film has very little scope for its leading ladies. Disha Patani and Kiara Advani have little to do in the film. While Kiara is average on her part as Sakshi Dhoni, Disha Patani is a refreshing change in the otherwise long film. Patani as Priyanka Jha, stays with you long after her character leaves the narrative.
Director Neeraj Pandey has done a brilliant job at the execution. The impeccable details in the film - from Dhoni's house to his teachers, his love for bikes to his marriage and after - everything connects with you because of the real elements and emotions. The makers wanted to tell the making of Mahi and they have successfully hit the score there. But is the film absolutely flawless? No.
The cons of making a film on a living legend is that somewhere you have to compromise a lot on the negatives of their successful career. MS Dhoni The Untold Story talks about the journey of Mahi from Ranchi to the Captain who lifted India's second ICC World Cup. However, it never talks about his journey from a keeper/batsman to the captain. How his equation in the team was, there is little to no dressing room conversations and the film doesn't touch upon the so-called dark phase that Dhoni's career went through post 2011 World Cup win . There is no mention of his sudden rise to captaincy, his cold war with senior players, his field decisions and his sudden retirement from Test cricket either. These facts remain unexplained and what is told are the known aspects of Dhoni with lots of honest emotions.
The narrative is lengthy but engaging. The characters keep you invested in the story. While 3 hours is a long time, it is too less to paint the entire story of a man who is still the captain of Indian cricket team. The first half of the film is strong and convincing, the second half looks like a wrap-up of all his achievements.
Overall, the film is a must watch for every cricket lover because it aptly tells the tale of an extraordinary man. The struggles are real and so is Sushant's acting. There isn't any shocking revelation, just inspiration and determination of a born talent who along with right people by his side, became the legendary captain.
This one hits the boundary with Neeraj Pandey's vision and Sushant Singh Rajput's knockout performance.
Ratings: 3 out of 5