Just when you start feeling things came easily to him because he was a natural, things take a turn, and make you wonder what would you have done in the same situation? Like when he misses the train to Kolkata and he has to settle for a government job of a Ticket inspector in Kharagpur, he does so with complete acceptance. Or when he receives news that his young girlfriend has just been killed in an unfortunate accident but he still goes out and plays his game, doing his duty for the country. These things offer a rare glimpse and peek into the life of an enigmatic man celebrated by millions for being their religion and God.
This story is the same as many like him who have seen success after giving hard work and determination it’s required due, but perhaps what sets this particular narrative apart are a few facts and truth which comes across as valuable lessons in this movie. Dhoni is known as Captain Cool and we all know why. Apart from this it is his indomitable ability to be focussed and calm while under high pressure, never reacting and just keeping his eye on the job that needs to be done at the cost of personal turmoil, taking chances and actions based purely on gut instinct that has almost never let him down, giving chances to deserving people, learning from mistakes and never repeating them and above all having the time to turn around to smile and have a word for the lowest of low. That speaks volumes about the worth of a man we celebrate as Captain.
I loved that scene where two of his friends come rushing to tell Dhoni that he has been selected in the national team and they find him playing badminton at that time. He never takes his eyes off his rally while his excited friends ramble on and on. This immaculate focus is what one wants to emulate. Another very stirring scene was when he doesn’t get selected and he buys laddoos for his friends saying this is the day I learnt the mistakes I made and hence I must never forget it! He couldn’t speak English properly at the beginning but it is the same man who faces the Press admirably and holds his own commendably. A look, a smile, a turn of the head and a shrug were all the emotions displayed. No hysterics absolutely and that’s what he carried on to the field to play his game!
The world would go through its periods of self-doubt and call for worry, but Dhoni was and is always a self-assured man. The seeds of these assets in him have been sown early on in the movie and they surface from time to time, giving us a sense of déjà vu and hence it comes as no surprise when the actor apprising the role does the things he does. The World T20 and 2011 World cup wins when seen are a given!
Sushanth Singh Rajput deserves credit for stepping back and not reacting, as this is exactly what Dhoni is about and essaying this role demanded an unspoken, understated elegance which I felt the actor understood and managed to pull off with panache. Yes I did miss seeing the original Captain in places as I can’t imagine anyone else, but it couldn’t have been easy taking on something the whole world would be watching with hawk eyes to pounce on.
What also comes across refreshingly is the selfless part played by close friends and family and how much of a behind-the-scenes role they play in the success of a man. As this Sikh gentleman says in the movie – ‘I could never play, but Mahi can and I am going to do everything I can to make sure he does!’ It is as simple as that! Then there is this other friend from whom Dhoni learns a swing that results in the ball going up to the veranda of a flat outside the ground. Some others wait on a bike for him to finish his exam to rush him to the station so that he could report elsewhere for practice and selection and they also go dig out money from their own kitty to fund his trip to Kolkata for a match. I also loved that scene where Dhoni’s father says – I have never been happier to be proved wrong by my son! These were pure gems. It is indeed important to be surrounded by positive, encouraging people who help you grow and make you the best versions of all that they want to see in themselves. Dhoni’s success would not be complete am sure without crediting this aspect and that collective spirit is appreciated here.
The morphed images of the World Cup, the tour of Bangladesh, Australia and T20 with the actor in place of Dhoni were very realistic and it brought back the rush of excitement along with the realisation that we will always be a cricket-crazy country. Dhoni’s is a lesson about the fact that we cannot just rest on our laurels but set the bar higher every time we achieve what we do. In that this movie was inspirational and will send out the right signals to youngsters in our country about the importance of hard work, determination and self-confidence.
Yes, the movie could have been cut short by at least half an hour or so, but I guess commercial elements like songs have to find a place. In that MS. Dhoni is not exactly a masterpiece but it will go home to the relevant people, as it has for me.