SUSHANT DELIVERS A MATCH-WINNING KNOCK AS DHONI
The biopic on India’s celebrated skipper, MS Dhoni (played by Sushant Singh Rajput) is the cricketer’s ode to his well-wishers, friends and family, who stood by him at all times – in success and failure. Their immense contribution in fulfilling his dream, his faith in himself and ability to battle professional and personal setbacks, forms the story.
If you are a diehard fan of MS Dhoni and cricket (in that order), you are bound to love this film, which reveres its protagonist. Despite the glorification, what works is Sushant’s impeccable portrayal of a stoic Dhoni and the latter’s inspiring untold story – his journey from being a ticket collector to a renowned attacking batsman/wicket-keeper/captain.
Sushant internalises his character and becomes MSD, without heavily mimicking the cricketer. He even nails his iconic helicopter shot and restrained personality. The actor scores a winning knock. The film also boasts of a spectacular first-half, which showcases Dhoni’s initial struggle as an aspiring professional cricketer. It reminds you why sportsmen deserve the fame and money they get.
Neeraj Pandey recreates Dhoni’s Ranchi life beautifully. He keeps it authentic and relatable. This one scene shot at Kharagpur station particularly stands out. Sushant is seen trying to make his way through a sea of people. It’s him going against the tide, summing up Dhoni’s life journey as well. Supporting actors deserve a special mention as their performances tug at your heartstrings. A scene featuring Yuvraj Singh (Herry Tangri) is outstanding.
However the biopic loses its momentum in the second half with Dhoni’s love life getting undue prominence. Also, the cricketer’s questionable decisions or possible vices are mostly overlooked. His tiff with the senior players (Sehwag, Gambhir), rivalry with Yuvraj Singh, love-hate relationship with the media, team politics and criticism faced on occasions, barely find a passing reference. As a full-fledged biopic, this one-dimensional approach towards the lead character leaves you a tad discontented. But since you see the film through Dhoni’s eyes, it’s justified as one rarely sees faults in oneself.
Nonetheless, this cricket movie hits sufficient sixes making the ‘Dhoni Dhoni’ chants reverberate in the theatre.