Movie Review : M. S. Dhoni

M. S. Dhoni-The Untold Story: Sushant makes Dhoni his own & shines…

Cricket & Movies are a religion in India; hence a movie on cricket is always something looking forward to. The curiosity increases if the movie is based on the most successful captain of the Indian Cricket Team Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the director is Neeraj Pandey who has proved his credentials with his last three impressive outings A Wednesday, Special 26 and Baby…

Well “M S Dhoni-The Untold Story” gives a peek on the life of Dhoni before he became the sensation, ms-dhoni-moview-reviewfrom a school boy who was more interested in football and who is pushed to play cricket, from a TC to playing International cricket, to becoming the captain of the Indian cricket team and winning the T20 World Cup and the World Cup in 2011….

Story by Neeraj Pandey and screenplay by Neeraj Pandey & Nandu Kamte, the story emphasizes more on the struggle and tribulations of a young Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his journey from a humble background to becoming a cricket sensation and then the Captain of the Indian Cricket team. It also gives a peek on Dhoni’s personal life and the women who came in his life. The story and screenplay is too staright jacketed and has no layers to it, it barely touches the controversies and the altercations of Dhoni with other team members, it just shows a brief sequence wherein Dhoni as a Captain decides to drop some senior players from ODI, beyond which nothing is explored. In short the story refrains from touching any negative about Dhoni which makes the movie as a fan boy account than a realistic account. Neeraj Pandey shows the various events one after another as sequences in a chronology without giving too much insight, which robs the nuance from the story resulting in a mundane narration. Though the first half manages to capture the emotional quotient very well and thus is highlight of the movie, the narration starts loosing it in the second half when the story delves on Dhoni’s personal life and his women, the climax of the World Cup suddenly comes in the narration and looks as if the writers did not know what to do next and hence bought the climax to end the movie. The script does not have any conflict to spice up the narration; it seems too good to be true. The biggest drawback of the movie is the run time of 190 minutes, which makes it tedious especially in the second half. The beauty of the writing lies is its simplistic style of narration, but I still felt that the writing could have been much better.

Dialogues by Dilip Jha are natural and realistic and lend the required support to lift the otherwise flat script…

It is the performance of the cast which is the highlight of the movie, starting with Sushant Singh Rajput who plays the title role does a smashing job of portraying the legend. It is very difficult to portray a character which is so well etched in the minds of the audience and who is still alive. Sushant gets his act bang on right from getting mannerism of the cricketer absolutely correct to his cricketing style including Dhoni’s famous helicopter shot. It shows how much effort and dedication was put by Sushant to get his act right, undoubtedly Sushant’s best performance till date. Anupam Kher as Dhoni’s father again proves why he is considered an actor par excellence. Anupam underplays his character still shines. Kumud Mishra as the head of CCL who helps Dhoni in playing professional cricket shines, with every movie Kumud is becoming stronger and better. Rajesh Sharma, another brilliant actor who plays Dhoni’s teacher Mr Banerjee who pushes young Dhoni to shift from Football to Cricket, gives a crackling performance. Bhumika Chawla as Dhoni’s elder sister does not have much of a role but whatever brief role she has, she justifies her character well. The two actresses who play Dhoni’s love interest Disha Patani as Priyanka and Kiara Advani as Sakshi also do a commendable job, but it is Disha who scores over Kiara and impresses more… Rest of the cast also do a fantastic job…

Cinematography by Sudhir Palsane is simple as per the narration but yet effective..
Amongst the songs the two soundtracks which impress the most are “Besabriyaan” & “Kaun Tujhe” composed by Amaal Mallik and sung by Armaan Mallik & Palak Munchal respectively….

Neeraj Pandey takes a break from thrillers and tries a different genre for this movie and that to a biopic which in itself is a difficult genre and if the person on whom the movie is based is well known and alive it becomes more difficult, so kudos to Neeraj Pandey for taking that risk with “M S Dhoni”. Neeraj’s style of film making is to make it simple and as realistic as possible and he does not change the style in this movie, but where he falters is the writing which is straight jacketed and a flat script with no variation what so ever. But where Neeraj scores, is getting crackling performance by the entire cast which is commendable. Well this may not be Neeraj’s best movie but it is not that bad either…

If you are a diehard cricket or Dhoni fan and do not mind to sit through 190 minutes of screen time then it is a movie for you, or if not it is worth a watch at least for Sushant Singh Rajput… I will go with 3 stars (One star extra for Sushant Singh Rajput)…

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

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Movie Review : Baby

Baby: Definitely not a Baby step but a giant leap in Espionage genre

Baby PosterThere are few movies which break the mould of your quintessential Bollywood movie and Neeraj Pandey has done it successfully with his previous movies “A Wednesday” & “Special 26”. With “Baby” he takes huge leap with a genre that has not been explored too often in Bollywood, the espionage genre.

“Baby” as a movie has a huge canvas spread across countries like Turkey (Istanbul), Nepal (Katmandu), Saudi (Abu Dhabi) and Story & Screenplay written by Neeraj Pandey himself, tells the story of a secret Intelligence cell “Baby” headed by Firoz Ali Khan (Danny Denzongpa) and with the help of his trusted lieutenant Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar) he unveils a plot of terrorist attack on India planned by the international terrorist group headed by Maulana Mohammed Rehman (Rashid Naz).

The screenplay is gripping and fast paced with every sequence flowing smoothly to other. The characters are well defined and have a purpose in the story. The screenplay is patriotic without being preachy. The “Argo” style climax is nail biting. It keeps you at the edge of the seat throughout its run time of 159 minutes. Where it fails albeit in a small proportion is that it took the complete first half to set up the base and it is only in the second half when the real plot commences. The dialogues are smart and at the same time witty adding to the entertainment quotient.

There are very few films which boast of the fact that it was aptly cast, in “Baby” the biggest highlight is perfect casting done by Vicky Sidana. Akshay Kumar as Ajay Singh Rajput the leader of the mission fits the bill completely. His agility, his demeanor everything is spot on and this performance is one of his best performances as well. Danny Denzongpa as Firoz Ali Khan is brilliant as the head of secret service team. It was good to see Danny after a gap in a role which complements his persona and stature completely. Tapsi Pannu in a small role as Agent Priya Suryavanshi is impressive and creates an impact. Rana Dagubatti as Jai Singh Rathore is good but he does not get a chance to show his histrionics in a brief role. Anupam Kher as Shuklaji gives the necessary punch to the proceedings. Rashid Naz as Maulana the head of the terrorist group gives the necessary chill with his presence. Kay Kay Menon as Bilal shines in a brief role. Another cracker performance was of Sushant Singh as Wasim, he created an impact in a brief role. The rest of ensemble cast Madhurima Tuli, Jameel Khan, Murli Sharma, Mikal Zulfikar do a brilliant job.

Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is another highlight of the movie; he has captured Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Katmandu, Mumbai and Delhi to perfection. Background score by Sanjoy Chowdhury enhances the sequences and adds to the impact. Abbas Ali Moghul’s action is spot on especially the chase sequences, the action is realistic and without the unnecessary frills. Good Editing is one of the pre-requisite of a good thriller and Shree Narayan Sigh does not disappoint, every sequence blends easily to other. Sanjeev Ravade’s production design is realistic and blends with the narration beautifully. Costume design by Falguni Thakore again blends with the narration which is commendable. In a nutshell the technical team put a brilliant effort which enhances the movie watching experience.

“Baby” is another feather on Neeraj Pandey’s cap, making him a well sought out film maker and I feel Akshay Kumar should do more such movies which compliment his persona perfectly…

Kudos to team “Baby”, I will go with 4 stars….

Movie Rating: (4 / 5)

Official Trailer : Baby

After the successful “A Wednesday” & “Special 26” Writer Director Neeraj Pandey comes  with his new offering, Baby-movie-First-Lookanother Thriller “BABY”.

It has an ensemble cast of Akshay Kumar, Rana Daggubati (last seen in Dum Maro Dum), Taapsee Pannu, Anupam Kher, Madhurima Tuli, Kay Kay Menon, Sushant Singh (will be seen after a long time), Danny Denzongappa, Mikaal Zulfiqar (British Pakistani Actor) & Rasheed Naz (Pakistani Actor of Bol fame)

BABY tells the story of the a group of Officers headed by Ajay Singh Rajput who go on a mission to stop a major terrorist attack on the nation masterminded by a International Terrorist group.

It has music by MM Kreem & Meet Bros….

Baby is being produced by T-Series in association with Crouching Tiger, Friday Filmworks & Cape of Good Films

The official Trailer looks promising and looks like a complete action flick. Will Neeraj be third time lucky at the Box Office for that we have to wait till 23rd January 2015…when the movie opens in theatres…till then enjoy the Trailer…..