Outside of Sachin Tendulkar, India’s biggest cricketing superstar is arguably Mahendra Singh Dhoni. From his questionably funky hairdos to the straight-bat style both on and off the field, Mahi is a proven commodity.
One could see, then, why Bollywood would decide to cash in with a biopic. The film, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, releases this Friday and has generated enough buzz to rake in many crores. If the trailers are anything to go by, the film does look interesting. Promising even. But certainly not warranting of the tagline.
Watch the trailer of MS Dhoni: The Untold Story
Dhoni’s days spent collecting tickets at the Kharagpur railway station, his beginnings as a goalkeeper-turned-wicketkeeper and a family-fuelled love story with Sakshi are popular, if not well-documented, and definitely not ‘untold’. And while there is always room for such soapy elements in a Bollywood production, a successful biopic recounts the good, bad and the ugly of an individual.
The faithful chronicling is what differentiates a Raging Bull from an Azhar. And the Dhoni biopic appears to be playing it with soft hands.
The first look alludes to Dhoni’s infamous rotation policy, but in no way appears to be an exhaustive list of his run-ins with the senior players. Don’t wait with bated breath to know what urged VVS Laxman to announce his retirement in ahead of the 2012 New Zealand Test at his hometown of Hyderabad (Dhoni for his part clarified that “you need to ask Laxman about it”.) Or why Virender Sehwag left Dhoni out of a tribute to the captains he’s played under during last December’s felicitation. Or if Dhoni actually called Gautam Gambhir’s “attitude and on-field ethics” as “selfish, hurtful to the team” two years ago. That’d explain Gambhir’s recent tweet saying, “I don’t believe in biopics on cricketers.”
Do expect a retelling of the 2009 World T20 press conference though, where Dhoni brought the entire team and read out a statement of unity.
Then there’s the stuff that’s almost guaranteed to not make the cut, including the can of worms that was the 2013 spotfixing scandal. The film might not put forward Dhoni’s — then Chennai Super Kings captain — take on the episode that led to the franchise being banned for two years, and prompted the Supreme Court to ask BCCI President N Srinivasan to step aside. Murkier still, Gurunath Meiyappan — CSK official, famous “cricket enthusiast” and Srinivasan’s son-in-law — was charged with illegal betting along with friend Vindu Dara Singh, who in turn was filmed sitting in the VIP box along with Sakshi Dhoni!
The film also might not explain captain Dhoni’s purchase (and eventual sale) of the 15% stake in the player management firm Rhiti Sports. Or why he was named the vice-president of Srinivasan’s India Cements.
Taking Dhoni’s life story to the celluloid was an outlandish notion to begin with. The man in question is 35 and looks fit to carry on for several years. With room for a sequel, perhaps the filmmakers are seeing the bigger picture (pun somewhat intended) and saving the juicier bits for later? If that indeed is the case, be on the lookout for M.S. Dhoni 2: The (actual) Untold Story.
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