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


Synopsis – The untold story of Dhoni’s journey from ticket collector to trophy collector – the world-cup-winning captain of the Indian Cricket Team.

My Take – Making a film based on a sport like a cricket is not an easy job, with its extensive game play and every crucial minute, its hard to pick out what’s required and what’s not. Its obvious how the only successful Bollywood film based on the beloved sport happens to be a fiction tale taking place during the British rule (Lagaan). And after recent debacle of the Emraan Hashmi starrer Azhar, it was abundantly clear that the audience is not ready to except a sports film no matter how popular or controversial the key character is, on the big screen. But with director Neeraj Pandey helming a film based on the beloved Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who played a key role in lifting the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 against Sri Lanka after a long hiatus of 28 years, somehow just seemed like a good idea, especially keeping in mind that Neeraj Pandey’s previous ventures A Wednesday, Special 26 and Baby were highly appreciated by the critics and the audiences. So how does the film fare? Duh, Neeraj Pandey has scored again! The film maker has successfully combined sports, drama, emotion and the right amount of thrills to provide a take on Dhoni’s life without hurting his fans and followers. We get to see how this sports icon of India, grows up as a child in a province which discourages sports as means of making a living, the numerous struggles to gain acceptance, the subtle behind the scenes machinations, political maneuvers, highs and lows, extreme disappointment and despair, the almost drowning like sensation of feeling trapped as a misfit in the stagnant existence and finally summing up the courage to break free. The 190 minutes run time of the film, which is quite long compared to any of the film released in recent years but even then the drama doesn’t falter much and justifies its length. The credit for this goes to the crisp editing and an equally supportive screen writing by Neeraj Pandey and Nandu Kamte.


The story follows Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Sushant Singh Rajput), the current captain of the Indian Cricket team. His story unfolds on screen, right from his birth in Ranchi. He used to love football as a child, especially as a goalkeeper and even when he was asked whether he would prefer to learn and play cricket, he shrugged the idea itself since he felt that what good sport it would be with small balls. His father Pan Singh Dhoni (Anupam Kher) is a pump operator, who as usual parents is very protective about his children’s studies. Dhoni has an elder sister Jayanti (Bhumika Chawla). His mother is a simple housewife, mostly plays the role of a mediator between children and husband. But it was his school’s cricket coach KR Banerjee (Rajesh Sharma) who persuades Dhoni to try his hand in wicket keeping. Although initially he gave Dhoni more opportunities to be a wicket keeper, later he recognizes Dhoni’s potential in striking the ball. With the help of his friends and well wishers, the film takes us through Dhoni’s journey from playing for clubs to his matches as part of Junior Cricket Team in Bihar, Bihar Cricket Team, Jharkhand Cricket Team, meeting fellow beloved future team mate Yuvraaj Singh (Herry Tangiri) for the 1st time, his job stint as a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) at Kharagpur Railway Station, his secret relationship with his deceased girl friend Priyanka (Disha Patani), his first meeting with current wife Sakshi (Kiara Advani) to ultimately leading India as a captain. The first half of the film is that part of Dhoni’s life which we don’t actually know. His childhood, his family, friends and the people around him. And the second half is mainly his personal and love life and his International career as the Indian Captain. Coming to the first half, it is comparatively much better than the second half the sole reason of which being; it is the lesser known part of his life. His struggle has been shown to us in a way that is relatable to the people of all age groups. The biggest plus point of first half are the characters supporting MS Dhoni to reach his goal. The cricketing scenes in the film have been handled beautifully and provide the necessary excitement to the audience. Then comes the second half, although it is entertaining with the two leading ladies adding up to the romantic life of the Cricketer, the film does gradually slow down until the roaring climax kicks in. The director has done a decent job of capturing the emotional hits taken along the journey of life. Right from the start, this is a fairy tale disguised as an underdog story. This is not to say that the film isn’t faithful to the broader details of Dhoni’s life and career. It’s the treatment: the way things fall into place the way they rarely do in real life. When, as a young football enthusiast, he’s first handed wicket-keeping gloves, he drops the first few catches, then latches on to everything after that. Batting in the nets for the first time, he hits the first ball back over the bowler’s head. Throughout the film, there are only a few instances of Dhoni being dismissed; getting out, apparently, is for mortals. Working with co-writer Dilip Jha, writer-director Neeraj Pandey uses the intermission to divide the Dhoni saga (from childhood till the 2011 World Cup) into two halves that could have been titled “persistence” and “payoff”.


We’re shown how Dhoni’s hitting makes him a legend in his school, then in his hometown of Ranchi; how he misses his chance to play for the U-19 team; how he takes a job as a ticket collector in the hope of representing Railways in the Ranji Trophy. As Dhoni’s career seems to grind to a halt—like the trains he’s supposed to keep tabs on—the film stalls as well. But intermissions (and their effect on screenplays) are strange things. When the film resumes, Dhoni is quickly elevated to the India A team, then to the national side. For once, instead of being told how special Dhoni is, we see his greatness reflected in their reactions. Apart from a brilliantly cast Herry Tangiri as a young Yuvraj Singh, the film avoids having actors play the Indian team of the time. Instead, it inserts Rajput as Dhoni into actual match footage. It’s the film’s one big gamble. On the one hand, the makers no longer have to run the risk of looking silly while recreating moments that cricket fans know by heart. Yet, this approach also results in a lack of immediacy. We never feel the heat of the moment, never hear the crowd’s chants as Dhoni would have heard them. The film runs through the major signposts in Dhoni’s career, but we never get a sense of how victory and defeat affected the man or altered his game or personality. The 2007 World Cup loss, after which his effigy was burnt outside his home in Ranchi, is widely regarded as a turning point in his life. Here, it just comes and goes—a little detail in the inexorable rise of Dhoni. It seemed director Neeraj Pandey just wanted Dhoni to be shown a dutiful son, an attentive boyfriend and an entirely successful Indian team captain, whose level-headedness and fierce attacking style on the field wins Indian many crucial games, including the World Cup in 2011. The film is less a study of psyche than of personality. But within its hagiographic constraints, Pandey and lead actor Sushant Singh Rajput assert themselves admirably. The most compelling portions that depict the trudge into the spotlight are all in the first 100-odd minutes, tracing Dhoni’s school-level breakthroughs with the guidance of his physical trainer, and encouragement from a supportive mother and sister and loyal friends. This propels him out of the small orbit of Ranchi into the huge outer world. Sushant Singh Rajput‘s tremendous acting and dedication deserve a big thumbs up. He had a challenging role and his hard work showed in the way he projected MSD, in terms of looks as well as expressions. After delivering a classic performance in last year’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, he shines out this time too. As a lead, his dedication towards becoming Dhoni is fantastic. From gaining the weight as Dhoni to setting a hairstyle like him, he just delivered his best. His 150 days of cricket training clearly speaks out loud when he strikes the ball with a helicopter shot. He is a real actor of today’s generation. Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma, Kumud Mishra and Bhumika Chawala are good in supporting roles. Disha Patani & Kiara Advani do an excellent job. On the whole, ‘M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story’ is a magnificent biopic with an apt screenplay and commendable performances that takes us through one man’s triumph that lead the nation to its much awaited victory. The film should not be missed by anyone who has ever admired Dhoni nor by Sushant fans. Others can still watch it for being a wholesome family product.


Directed – Neeraj Pandey

Starring – Disha Patani,  Anupam Kher,  Sushant Singh Rajput

Rated – PG

Run Time – 190 minutes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.