All those who are associated with the making of MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, please take a bow. Neeraj Pandey's M S Dhoni - The Untold Story is an extremely unusual experience. Never before in the history of cinema has a biopic of an active sportsman been made with quite this level of excitement from the subject himself. The film introduces MS Dhoni as a goal keeper in his school days. 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. The second half deals with his career as a full time cricketer, the ups and downs he sees with his team and his love life. The film is lengthy and drags in parts. Though the narration is slow, the movie is entertaining and yes Sushant Singh Rajput is terrific. Neeraj Pandey’s direction requires a special mention; his detailing is simply great. The cinematography and dialogues add a big advantage to the film. All Mahi fans get ready for the goose bumps. The film definitely deserves a watch for its brilliant execution and Sushant Singh Rajput’s knockout innings as MSD.
As a film, The Untold Story stays true to every bit of highs in Dhoni's life. Mark the word 'highs' here. Right from being discovered as a good goalkeeper by his sports teacher KC Bannerjee and asked to wicket-keep for his school to his life after making it to the India team, the film flashes a 1000-watt flashlight on the goodness of Dhoni. MS Dhoni, his biopic will make you believe, has done no wrong in his life. He scolds his friend when he catches the latter drinking beer instead of tea, he does everything good in life, his ability to keep calm in the face of extreme stress: Dhoni's biopic is an exercise in eulogising the cricketer, telling people how great this man is. Over a span of more than three hours, the greatness of Dhoni plays in front of you. And sure, that works wonders for the film. Every time you have Dhoni hitting six after six in front of you, the theatre erupts in whistles and cheers. So powerful is this light that every little flaw in the man is washed out. The film, however, is set to score more than a century at the box office. We want to see heroes on screen. We want to see victory on screen. And when it's got cricket and MS Dhoni as the subject, who cares about problems in a film. Watch it, get out.
Neeraj Pandey's M S Dhoni - The Untold Story is a highly unusual enterprise. Never before in the history of cinema has a biopic of an active sportsman been mounted with quite this level of patronage from the subject himself. The director's hands are forced. He adopts a tame, sterile, straitjacketed approach to the story, depriving M S Dhoni - The Untold Story of genuine purchase. The film, though intolerably long, is competently executed. It has a stellar performance from Sushant Singh Rajput, some moments of hilarity, a dash of tragedy and a clutch of strong supporting actors. But overall, M S Dhoni - The Untold Storydoes not mirror the Indian skipper's batting style. It is neither strikingly unconventional nor particularly effective. So if you are looking for an insightful, unprejudiced saga, warts and all, this unabashed hagiography will fall way, way short of your expectations. But so what? M S Dhoni - The Untold Story is targeted at fans of the cricketer and they are legion. Some might also want to watch the film for Rajput's spirited and spot-on performance. There is little else here that is worth the price of a multiplex ticket. Read a hymnbook instead. It might be less somnolent.
The result, with the exception of a few interesting bits and pieces, is bland and predictable. The over-long film cherry-picks the details it wants to serve us, skirting all grey areas and controversies: there are no smart nose-digs, only ingratiating bouquets; only hurrahs (the critique is so muted that we can barely hear it), and loud background music which is used to drum up emotion and drama. The quality of cricketing on screen is excellent. Rajput looks right at home with the bat and gloves, as do the other actors on the pitch. This film had potential to present us with the recent Indian cricketing story, warts and all. Sadly it’s more hagiography than biography: the cricketer is reduced to a being singing-dancing Bollywood hero rather than a top-flight cricketer, a master strategist, and a captain who led from the front. True champions have that edge that no one else does: on that score, the real-life Dhoni hits it out of the park, every single time. Too bad the reel Dhoni gets stumped just when he is getting started.