The film is a brilliant depiction of the incredible journey of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the most loved and admired cricketers and currently the captain of the Indian cricket team for the ‘One-Day’ and ‘T-20’ formats of the game. Director Neeraj Pandey who gets us hooked on to the story right away has done a remarkable job of bringing to life the ups and downs of Dhoni’s early life, his days of struggle and excitement, the initial opposition from his own father, and his depressing days as the ticket collector when he almost gives up on his dreams, as well as the constant support of his friends, his mother and his sister.
The movie not only reveals many unknown aspects of Dhoni’s life but also delves into the psyche of the man to make us understand how he tackles the disappointments and difficulties in his path and handles his successes to emerge as the ‘Captain Cool’ we know of today. His breakdown when he tragically loses his first love Priyanka, and the joy when he finds Sakshi who later becomes his wife, show glimpses of his emotional side even while always maintaining a composed demeanour on the field. The support system of his close friends and the school coach and their pride and joy whenever he succeeds is very touching as all the actors who form the supporting cast are spot on and tug our heart with their natural performances.
The scenes depicting Dhoni’s matches have been shot very well interspersing some real match-footage and scenes using VFX where Sushant is shown walking alongside Sehwag, Yuvraj and other teammates. The character of the friend from whom he picks up his famous ‘Helicopter shot’ is incorporated in an interesting way in the narrative…
The choice of the lead actor in a biopic is very critical to the success of the film and the choice of Sushant Singh Rajput as Dhoni is the biggest plus point of the film. From the very first scene he becomes Dhoni and remains in the character till the very end. He had spent almost two years in preparing for the role by learning the game, understanding the little nuances of the character and putting in months of practice to perfect Dhoni’s cricketing technique. He has put his life and soul to bring to life the character on screen and does a splendid job by delivering a flawless performance.
Newcomers Disha Patani and Kiara Advani who essay the roles of Priyanka Jha and Sakshi Dhoni respectively have an excellent screen presence and apart from acting very well add freshness to the film. Rajesh Sharma who seems to be improving with every film delivers a knockout performance as young Dhoni’s school coach. Ever dependable Anupam Kher is brilliant yet again though donning the wig to depict a younger man does make him look ill at ease! The actor chosen to portray the young Yuvraj Singh bears an uncanny resemblance to the real man himself!
Points to note:
It is a known fact that every Indian invests a lot of emotion in the game of cricket. As a nation we become one and our hearts and prayers become one especially during the last moments of a crucial match. The director has done full justice to this in the film by vividly capturing the sheer ecstasy and incredible joy on the face and heart of every Indian on winning the World Cup 28 years after 1983… Apart from the characters in the film, every one in the cinema hall also gets to relive this historic moment once more!
At 3 hours 10 min the film is no doubt long but to bring out so many aspects in a biopic and do justice to the person concerned , the film cannot obviously finish in 2 hrs. Moreover since our movies on an average are around 2 hrs 30-45 mins, the film’s length should not be a deterrent. Lagaan had a running time of 3 hrs 45 min, Swades- 3 hrs 51 min, Bhaag Milka Bhaag-3 hrs 09 min, both K3G and KANK– 3 hrs 30 min, DDLJ- 3 hrs 12 min,… and they were all good films… Honestly, not for a minute does one feel bored or find this film long from any angle.
Understandably a biopic is to be viewed with a pinch of salt for though the essence of the character’s life and times is retained in all honesty, some aspects of the events in the character’s life will be altered slightly for a better cinematic experience and keeping in view the box-office angle also. At the end of the day, the aim of the maker is to make sure that the story reaches out to a large audience from every corner of the country.
And yes! the film steers clear of showing any cricket politics or controversies and creditably the makers have taken utmost care to avoid the film from turning into a documentary on Dhoni’s matches. That way the audience would have been robbed of any excitement or emotional involvement with the character. And since every aspect cannot be shown, it is fair enough that some bits and parts of the personal/professional life have been left out.
Both the director and the actor deserve all the accolades for their sincerity and hard work. And the film’s inspiring message as to how we can achieve our dreams with patience, relentless pursuit, dogged determination, unrelenting focus and an unwavering passion for what we want is not just restricted to the game of cricket but can be extended to all aspects of our life as well!
Just go ahead and watch the amazing journey of how a small-town boy from humble beginnings went on to become the country’s most successful cricket captain and scripted a rare and unbelievable chapter in the history of Indian cricket…