M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016)

The Man You Know... The Journey You Don't

Based on the life story of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and his journey to being the world cup winning captain of the Indian cricket team.

**We know him as Dhoni, but this is the tale of Mahi.**
Usually Indian film fans are divided according to the regions. Because if you turn any corner in that country, there's another film industry, another English alphabet replaced to rhyme with Hollywood. They have got their own bunch of actors, filmmakers and films. They might be divided over films and film productions, but they always united when it comes to cricket.
Remember one and a half decade ago an Indian film about the same sport made into the Oscars, but did not win. This film was based on the life of one of the greatest Indian and world cricket player. So length into breadth of the India, it was a highly anticipated sport-biographical film. India has a long history of cricket. It was brought into the country by the British nearly half a millennium ago. It is called a gentlemen's game, which means only rich and royal people can play.
So in India, cricket was always been a game highly influenced in big cities. Players from those places are high in demand till recently. Talents from second and third tier cities never been noticed. But some player made it because of political and other sort of influence. That's changed forever when Mehendra Singh Dhoni's success inspired millions of people. Made youngsters to take bat and ball believing someday they can play for their state or in the national team.
If you are an Indian, I'm sure you had heard many things about him, his difficult path to stardom. There's nothing much difference in the life journeys of his and Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. They both were ticket sellers/collectors. Struggled through to initiate their profession, but in a different field. Now they're superstars.
In Indian films, it's only recently the trend had started in biopics. For a cricketer, it is an ideal initiation. Remember Sachin Tendulkar's documentary film is due to release in this summer, but it is an international project. It can't be neglected because of his hardcore fans, not just in India, but across the world. He had retired a while ago, but still fans chant his name during the recent games.
I know this director, since one of his films was remade as 'Someone Like You'. Bollywood films are always very stylish, but slips away while depicting realism of India, Indian society and culture. That's where I lost interest in them. I watched it for MS, since he plays/played for my team CSK who is known as Thala.
Seems funny, some of the lines that translated into Tamil. But culture wise, it is understandable. A boy was born on the 7th of July '81, but soon the narration shifts focus on his childhood in the late 80s. A fine football goalkeeper, but changed his sport after an unexpected offer. Extremely interested in batting, but his opportunity was being a wicket keeper.
>❝You won't face the same ball always in your life. You've to play on your merit and just hang in there. The scoreboard will keep ticking along.❞
When he enters his teenage, he had learnt to play his own method. Particularly in batting which is the least given privilege to him by his coach. Supportive parents, but from above that, the great friends gang, he had with him at all the good and bad times. The first half is all about the cricket. In fact the whole film was about him and the cricket, the rest of his life was not concentrated enough. I mean on other stuffs, except the romance that takes off during the beginning of the second half. So basically that's where you will come to know this guy is a man with feelings and emotions like you and me.
We all knew him as a cricketer, a great cricketer to say. Since his romance parts come into play, for a brief moment the sport was set aside. A love story kick starts. All those who believed he's a superhuman, will come to realise after witnessing Bollywood style of romance, which is basically how happens in real India. He's not an emotion showing type, especially in public or during the game. But there's a scene in the film and when it appears, that's really heartbreaks. No offense, but it looked Sakshi demanded a proposal than expecting it to come her way naturally.
The three hours is too long for a film, but for this film I felt they had left out many things with short scenes/events, otherwise it would have gone past the four hour mark or even higher. So two part film would have made it a better product, but I'm happy for it to be a single film.
I was bothered about the songs, but they smartly merged them with the storytelling. Particularly commercial films can't afford to lose the blue print of Indian cinema, since songs are the free television commercial, to popularise the film prior to its release. All the actors were great. The lead actor was at his best, especially when it comes to the technics in the games to match the Dhoni's style of play. Most of the locations are the actual locations, including the school, grounds and house(s). I think it was a good move.
The film was not entirely true. They have changed the events to suit the cinematic. A man's 30 years of life journey to put into a 3 hour film, it has to be done and they did it neatly in Indian style. Some people are complaining about this and that, but that's understandable if you understand the concept of filmmaking, particularly money making film.
Only the first two acts were very gripping. The final act was predictable, if you are an ardent cricket follower. Because you know everything on field about this man which is what covered in those parts. And the rest of the film was like behind the scenes of a film called his life. This is a wonder film, and I know the majority of the Indians won't miss it or had already watched it. But for the outsiders, this is not a bad flick, even if you don't know the sport or the player. Worth a try, otherwise definitely recommended.
_8/10_

Fox Star Studios, Inspired Entertainments, Friday Filmworks by Neeraj Pandey, Dilip Jha, Mohinder Pratap Singh, Shyam Maheshwari.
Stars: Sushant Singh Rajput, Kiara Advani, Anupam Kher, Disha Patani.

Genres: Biography, Drama, Sport

Keywords: biography cricket sports

09/29/2016

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