‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’ has received fairly good reviews, although Neeraj Pandey films have received better response from critics in the past. The average rating of the film is 3.2 stars. Pink and Neerja, with average critic score of ‘4’, remain the most critically acclaimed films of 2016.
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M.S Dhoni – The Untold Story Review by Indicine
MS Dhoni is the perfect story material for a Bollywood movie of this scope and size. His story lends itself naturally to the underdog spirit and the director didn’t need to do much to get it right. The lack of a soul is something which is bothersome, but what it lacks in intimacy is made up for by the goosebump moments of Dhoni’s life. The 3 hour plus runtime doesn’t feel too long because there’s so much ground covered in the movie and the expanse is so vast. Everything that needed to be showcased of his life is there. If you’re a fan of cricket, MS Dhoni is a must watch, and if you’re not it still makes for compelling viewing.
M.S Dhoni – The Untold Story Review by Bollywood Hungama
Right from the moment the promos of M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY got released; it had upped the curiosity amongst the viewers about the film. The reason being it promised to highlight ‘the untold story’ about M.S. Dhoni, whose ‘private life’ has been extremely guarded. The film, in totality, does not disappoint even a bit, as it delivers what it promised. What also works in the favour of the film is the fact that, while the film stays true to the title. The film is all about the trails, tribulations, challenges and failures and the eventual success of Dhoni, the very man who captained the nation to consecutive wins at both the T20 and ODI World Cup matches. Unlike other biopics, M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY remains clear of gossips, scandals and rumours in any form. Because of all these feel-good factors, the audience gain a sense of pride and achievement when they see Dhoni and his achievements in the film. The film is an underdog story who which will inspire millions. The film’s screenplay (Neeraj Pandey, Dilip Jha) is extremely well-crafted and inspiring, which keeps the viewers engaged right from the word go. Besides doing complete justice to the life and lifestyle of M.S. Dhoni, the screenplay also helps in successfully mirroring his rise from a small town man to an international star.
M.S Dhoni – The Untold Story Review by Manjusha Radhakrishnan on Gulfnews
It’s surprising that a bold director such as Pandey chose to focus on Dhoni’s personal life rather than his professional. It makes you wonder if he just copped out. Apart from a couple of scenes touching upon Dhoni’s unconventional decisions taken as a captain such as removing a couple of established players from the team, the film doesn’t offer any insight into the interesting episodes on the professional front. We don’t want the dirt, but at least give us the gritty bits. But what elevates the patchy screenplay in the second half is Rajput’s charismatic performance. It’s difficult to take your eyes off him. He’s so assured in his role that it’s compelling to see him transform himself from a diffident ticket collector in an Indian railway station to one of the world’s best batsmen and captain. Give this film a shot for Rajput and the sturdy support that the supporting cast gives him.
M.S Dhoni – The Untold Story Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
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.
M.S Dhoni – The Untold Story Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
M S Dhoni – The Untold Story, cinema’s equivalent of vanity publishing, tom-toms Dhoni’s achievements in life and in the game and recaps Indian cricket’s recent history with the wicket keeper-batsman occupying the prime position. Neither makes for particularly memorable cinema moments. These are anyways too fresh in the public memory to bear repetition, even in widescreen, colour-spangled glory. Watching M S Dhoni – The Untold Story is like being subjected to two films – that is the kind of strain it inflicts. The time that it takes to play out – 190 minutes – is roughly the playing hours of a Twenty20 match. The latter is pure slam-bang. Dhoni’s life on the big screen is a long, tiring ambulation through boredom.
Review by Ananya Bhattacharya on India Today
MS Dhoni The Untold Story doesn’t address any grey areas in Dhoni’s life. The film shows his quite well-known decision to drop Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman from the Indian team, but stops short of pronouncing the names. Dhoni mentions ‘these three players need to be dropped’ to the selection committee. That’s it. No names. No discomfort. No controversy. No rubbing people the wrong way. Because when you’re making a biopic, there’s probably an unwritten rule filmmakers in India swear by: don’t go into troubled territories. 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.
Review by Sreeju Sudhakaran on Bollywood Life
First things first, the movie worked mostly for me, because they hired an actor like Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead. Yes, he doesn’t look like Dhoni even with that long mane, but we forget all that when it comes to his performance and his body language. Be it the lighter scenes where he is pranking his friends, or the dramatic ones, Sushant gives a rousing act that will win your hearts. Check out the scene when he smugly lets his employer take an upper hand during a practice match before hitting him for sixes. Or for the matter, when he breaks down in the middle of the road, when he hears about his first girlfriend’s demise. The man doesn’t allow much room for you to complain when it comes to histrionics. Even though the length of the film taxes your patience, the film appeals to a large extent thanks to Sushant’s performance and Neeraj Pandey’s deft direction. That Neeraj Pandey is an accomplished director is something every movie buff knows by now, and it’s the way he handles some really average writing in here that makes this biopic watchable, especially in the first half. Some of the highlight scenes in the film are in the first half itself, like those scenes where Dhoni had to oscillate between his college exams and his training in a town far away. His first confrontation with Yuvraj Singh, his future rival, is actually the best scene in the film. The casting manager has to be given a pat on the back for roping in Love, Sex Aur Dhokha star Herry Tangri who is so similar to Yuvraj Singh. Even Dhoni’s daily struggles as a TTE at Kharagpur station is well-handled. Another aspect that has to be appreciated is the CGI done in the film. From superimposing Sushant’s face on a teenager’s body a la Captain America: The First Avenger to doing to same on real Dhoni’s face during the real match footage, the special effects team has done a brilliant job. Among the heroines, Kiara Advani scores over Disha Patani (in her debut film), as she is likeable as the cute and clueless-about cricket hotel management trainee, who would later become Mrs Dhoni. Disha is good too, but she is held back by a miniscule role. The supporting cast, played by Anupam Kher, Bhumika Chawla, Kumud Mishra, Rajesh Sharma and those actors who plays his friends and colleagues are all good.
Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times
The first half of this nearly 180-minute film goes into the riveting details of a middle-class boy’s life in the hilly town of Ranchi. People are concerned about each other, and there is a genuine love for talented kids. Nobody is a villain here, not even the cricket officials. Optimism and hard work are expected to take people to new destinations.
Review by Sameeksha on News18
The narrative is lengthy but engaging. The characters keep you invested in the story. While 3 hours is a long time, it is too less to paint the entire story of a man who is still the captain of Indian cricket team. The first half of the film is strong and convincing, the second half looks like a wrap-up of all his achievements. Overall, the film is a must watch for every cricket lover because it aptly tells the tale of an extraordinary man. The struggles are real and so is Sushant’s acting. There isn’t any shocking revelation, just inspiration and determination of a born talent who along with right people by his side, became the legendary captain. This one hits the boundary with Neeraj Pandey’s vision and Sushant Singh Rajput’s knockout performance.
Review by Sarita A Tanwar on DNA India
If you are telling a story about Dhoni, you obviously can’t leave out the personal side of his life. But somehow both the women in his life comes off as needy and clingy who want to get him to propose marriage, while he seems to be awkward and emotionally detached, to the point of seeming cold. Also, the whole scene where MSD got three of the senior players out of the team is half-hearted. It leaves out the names. What was the point of that when the facts are already known? Watch it if you love cricket. Watch it if you love movies. MS Dhoni: The Untold Story leaves you with a high that only a winning match can give you.
Review by Renuka Vyavahare on The Times Of India
However the biopic loses its momentum in the second half with Dhoni’s love life getting undue prominence. Also, the cricketer’s questionable decisions or possible vices are mostly overlooked. His tiff with the senior players (Sehwag, Gambhir), rivalry with Yuvraj Singh, love-hate relationship with the media, team politics and criticism faced on occasions, barely find a passing reference. As a full-fledged biopic, this one-dimensional approach towards the lead character leaves you a tad discontented. But since you see the film through Dhoni’s eyes, it’s justified as one rarely sees faults in oneself. Nonetheless, this cricket movie hits sufficient sixes making the ‘Dhoni Dhoni’ chants reverberate in the theatre.
Review by Raghav Jaitly on Zeenews
If we talk about its star-cast, then we can very well say that Sushant has now finally arrived in the Bollywood and all other contemporaries must not take it lightly. The ‘PK’ hunk has aced the character of Mahi and he was killing it throughout the storyline. Kiara Advani and Disha Patani did justice to their roles. Their screen-time was allotted accordingly. You must keep in mind that the film majorly focuses on the journey of a middle-class Ranchi kid to international cricket legend. So, his love story only occurs in the second half. Director Neeraj Pandey has made sure that the supporting cast looks closer to the reality that is why no huge names were used in the film. The screenplay of ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’ is fine and has its heart-winning moments. Somewhere, we also felt that the flick is a bit too long. It is made sure that the music goes in synch with the story.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
Dhoni’s life is not as dramatic as that of Mary Kom or Milkha Singh or Paan Singh Tomar, so there are limits to the amount of intensity and drama the makers can add to the narrative. The cricket sequences are quite well shot, but again, there is nothing about the controversies that surrounded Dhoni’s life or his interaction and bonding with his team-mates and other things that might have made the film more interesting and multi-dimensional. The one thing that might work against the film is its length as it runs for more than three hours and tends to drag a lot at times. However, if you are a Dhoni fan, you might enjoy the fare- if not, take your chances…
Review by Raja Sen on Rediff
The film doesn’t challenge our perception as much as amiably pat it into place, yet — thanks largely to a remarkably committed performance by the leading man — the film scores like a champ. It feels at times like we’re watching a highlights package of a game we’ve already watched and loved, but sometimes that is satisfying enough.
Review by Mehul S Thakkar on Deccan Chronicle
There are many scenes that make a difference and they stand out in the film. Sushant’s struggle at Kharagpur junction as a TC, his scenes with his father, the first time he meets Priyanka Jha, his comic timing with his friends, all stands out and gives a closer view of the cricketer’s life. The movie ends on a high with Dhoni’s six at Wankhede stadium and it does give you goosebumps. Tight screenplay and good performances makes this one a good watch.
Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
This film similarly attempts to linearly synopsise almost everything about Dhoni — or in the words of Kharagpur DRM Ganguly, “the in-swingers, out-swingers, full-tosses and bouncers that life throws” at him into one film. Frankly, it doesn’t hurt. Because it’s inspiring — and not in a corny, Dhoni ban gaya superstar style. You genuinely care for his peaks and troughs. I know for a fact the young will. In sport, unlike every other profession, one cannot fake greatness. A six is a six is a six — perhaps even more, if hit on the last ball. Would this have been an easy to movie to make, keeping all my initial apprehensions in mind? Far from it. The fact that the filmmakers really pull it off, I’d say, That’s the way, Mahi way!
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Director of films like A Wednesday, Special 26 and Baby, Neeraj Pandey steers this story with the conviction and game of a conveyor belt handler, loading one sequence after the other in succession, with little thought to the overall impact. Seamlessly merging his lead with match footage, he adds a touch of docu-drama to this biopic.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
In cricket when a recognized batsman gets a juicy half volley, the spectators expect a swashbuckling sixer, but even if the batsmen miss times it and the ball manages to cross the boundary line, it’s still a boundary and a moment of cheers. Neeraj Pandey’s MS DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY is similar to this. It is not a bad movie by all means but it’s a miss opportunity to score a significant mark in the world of Indian biopic on screen, looking at the caliber of Pandey as a film maker and potential of MS Dhoni as an inspirational sports phenomenon. Watch it for the love of the game if nothing else.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
Anyway! This fanboy tale drags on through several, no more than several terribly morphed shots of Dhoni into Sushant at different matches. But the film won’t tell you how Dhoni learnt to be the master strategist of the game? Did he sit down to watch his opponents play with someone? You want to know this and you are shown more Bollywood. He meets the girl who he is to marry in the same fashion he met the girl before. Now that’s so Bollywood, you forget to laugh along with the hero worshipping roommate Ritu. What a lovely little cameo.
Review by Subhash K Jha on Bollyspice
MS Dhoni – The Untold Story is an extremely clever amalgamation of two favourite national past times: cricket and patriotic jingoism. Director Neeraj Pandey adopts the voice of a serial director, going through episode after episode in Dhoni’s life with reverence. The Untold Story, some other time.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
There was a slack in pace at the beginning of many sequences. There is attention to detail and there is detail. You can appreciate the simplicity of the clothes that Mahi’s family wears, the pains taken to show a true-blue middle-class household, the characters that make small-town India and so on. The movie fills you with warmth for the hard-working, dedicated working class of India. But the movie also begins to annoy with too much detail. The audience enters almost every scene a little too early. Way too many scenes have a character enter a room, open a door, sit, exchange pleasantries and so on. Precious screen time spent on setting the mood, and it doesn’t really happen.
Best Rated Films in 2016
- Pink – 4 stars
- Neerja – 4 stars
- The Jungle Book – 3.8 stars
- Airlift – 3.7 stars
- Kapoor & Sons – 3.7 stars
- Udta Punjab – 3.5 stars
- Fan – 3.5 stars
- Budhia Singh – Born To Run – 3.4 stars
- Sultan – 3.3 stars
- Dhanak – 3.3 stars
- Phobia – 3.3 stars
- Waiting – 3.3 stars
- Parched – 3.2 stars
- Sarbjit – 3 stars
- Happy Bhag Jayegi – 2.9 stars
- TE3N – 2.8 stars
- Dishoom – 2.7 stars
- Madaari – 2.7 stars
- Akira – 2.6 stars
- Rustom – 2.6 stars
- Azhar – 2.6 stars
- Kabali – 2.6 stars
- Baar Baar Dekho – 2.4 stars
- A Flying Jatt – 2.2 stars
- Freaky Ali – 2.2 stars
- Mohenjo Daro – 2.2 stars
- Housefull 3 – 2.2 stars
- Veerappan – 2.2 stars
- Banjo – 2.2 stars
- Rocky Handsome – 2.1 stars
- Raaz Reboot – 1.7 stars