M.S. Dhoni; The Untold Story is, without a shred of doubt, one of the most keenly anticipated films of the year. The trailer has given the entire nation goosebumps, the songs have hit all the right notes, Neeraj Pandey, the Director, looks to have done his homework, and now the audience is waiting with bated breath for their date with Dhoni and the unknown aspects of his life on 30th September 2016. With a little over two weeks left for the biopic’s release, it would be an understatement to say that the excitement surrounding the film is at an all-time-high.
So what better way to satiate your appetite and make the wait easier than by bringing you some quaint anecdotes from the man who’s slipping into Dhoni’s shoes? In a recent interview with Sushant Singh Rajput, the actor graciously shared some interesting tidbits about his interaction with Dhoni, the skipper’s family and friends, and how he finally managed the helicopter shot. Here are a few excerpts from the conversation:
Why is it Called ‘The Untold Story’
“I was his biggest fan since 2004. I knew everything – the way he plays, the way he carries himself, but I could never understand why he’s the way he is. So that’s the untold story. How does he deal with failure and success? No matter where you are, no matter from which city; privileged, underprivileged doesn’t matter – if you can just dream big and somehow, logically or illogically, if you can convince yourself that can happen, it will happen. That’s the untold story.”
What did He Learn about Dhoni
“If you’re just not there in the future or dwelling on the past over what you did right or wrong, you’re just here, 100%, then it’s completely different, and that’s how he (Dhoni) is. Also, it’s a very strong tendency, when you’re successful, to think that you’re mostly right, and you tend to take yourself very seriously, and everything that you know very seriously. But, knowing him inside-out, I know that he takes his work very seriously, but he doesn’t take himself with seriously.”
On How He Prepared for the Role
“When I started my preparation, he recalled his story from his point-of-view. I was just listening and he was talking. Four to five months into the preparation I met him again for a few days, when I was asking him questions and he was answering them; very patiently, honestly. I also came up with 200-250 multiple-choice hypothetical questions. And he was not allowed to think through, just to understand him better. I also stayed at the places where he stayed back in Kharagpur during his T.T. days. He had a group of friends in Ranchi and a group of friends in Kharagpur, his roommates, and I spent a lot of time with them. Then his family of course. Everything that he did, I did.”
How He Managed to Play the Helicopter Shot
“We had a team. Kiran More (ex wicket-keeper for the Indian team), who spent time with M.S. between 2004-2008 I guess, just before the India-England series, was coaching me. He structured the entire training in a superb way. The first three to four months was not on M.S. Dhoni, it was just proper cricket. Someone looking at you should say that you’re a professional cricketer – the way you play, the sound of the shot; those basic things that come through a lot of practice. The first 3-4 months was just to look and also feel like a cricketer. The first day when I was wicket-keeping, and after ten minutes I got cramps because that’s a very awkward position to be in.
“Then we moved to MCA, where we had a team of analysts and a physio. Then it was all about M.S. Each and every shot that’s he known for, like a helicopter shot, would be given to me in seven different frames. It was also explained when and where the weight transfer is happening. So you’d carefully analyze it, and then Kiran More would set the bowling machine at one spot, and I would be playing the same shot for 3-4 days, 200-250 times a day.”
While we marvel, gape in awe, and get enthralled by great stories unfolding on screen, little do we know of the astronomical preparations and immense hard work that go into researching a film and getting into the skin of a character. With the meticulous care taken by Sushant and the entire team behind M.S. Dhoni; The Untold Story, we’re pretty sure that both his character and the film are gonna rock come D-day.
Images Source: Fox Star Studios