Indian cricket team, till date, has had 32 Test captains. The team has played 501 Tests, to date. Dhoni captained the Indian cricket team in 60 of them. He retired, from Tests, more than 20 months ago and continues to captain the ODI and T20 teams. So with him still relevant, it is debatable if the biographical movie is all encompassing (in terms of his cricketing career).
That lingering doubt left my mind when a scene in the movie shows a news reader telling the audience that India has bowed out of the 1999 World Cup. As we are shown a teenaged Dhoni taping his bat, the newsreader says that Ajay Jadeja top scored in the game that India lost to New Zealand. The kid said sitting in the next row to me says to his dad, ‘Who’s Ajay Jadeja? Isn’t it Ravindra Jadeja?’
It was in ICC Knock out (present day Champions Trophy) tournament that Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh made their debuts. They shone against Australia and their success, especially Zaheer’s, put the focus on players from hinterlands.
In the same season, Dhoni in his second season of first class cricket, made his first century against Bengal. With the number of teams playing Ranji Trophy, players tend to get lost. With the narrative in the movie, you would be led to think that Dhoni was a force of nature that came good. That is, in part, insulting to the efforts made by Dhoni in the domestic circuit. He was shuffled in the order frequently and the team he represented never made it to the knock-out stages of the Ranji Trophy. He didn’t shift his loyalties.
Coming back to the movie itself, it has Dhoni’s approval and also funded by the management group of Dhoni’s manager. Credit is due to Sushant Singh for incorporating most of the tics of Dhoni. That part of it he cracked. He also cracked the way Dhoni plays – batting and keeping. While the movie starts with a young Dhoni keeping, the proceedings slowly move away from the keeping and drift towards batting. It’s not a surprise then that the quick hands Dhoni possesses has been showcased in one scene and that too in a blink-and-you-will-miss-it montage of tennis-ball cricket tournament. But for a couple of scenes, the movie doesn’t let Sushant Singh Rajput display his acting chops.
How does the movie work then? Dhoni, is the answer. The movie, predictably, rides on his shoulder and for a lot of people, it’s a glance back into the past. Movie begins with 2011 WC final and ends there.
The special effects, in this day, are shoddy, at best. The fact that the face of the protagonist has been superimposed on Dhoni’s in the actual footage of a lot of matches takes the sheen off the proceedings. I mean if you have shown an actor portraying Yuvraj Singh in some parts of the movie, why would you want to show the actual Yuvraj Singh in match footages? They could’ve done the same with Dhoni too
The breakout tour for him was the trip to Africa. There he opened with Gambhir in a few innings. Delving a little bit into the rapport with him might have been good. The movie does show the high regard for Yuvraj. Probably, the makers thought it would unnecessarily lengthen the movie and also they would need to bring in a plethora of actors.
Verdict: While the movie, by itself, is nothing to write home about, the fact that we are reliving Dhoni’s life – a successful part- is enough to give the goosebumps
image courtesy : santabanta.com