He arrived nearly three hours late, enough for the media to have boycotted the trailer launch. But, such is the charm of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, that when whe walked in, everyone sprung up to their feet, forgetting the long delay and chanting ‘DHONI DHONI’.
He was quick to apologise to the media, that forgave him in a second and thus began the trailer launch of MS Dhoni: The Untold Story.
After a raucous applause to the trailer, Indian ODI (One-Day International) captain was asked about his thoughts, expectations from his biopic. “I have full confidence in the makers, especially Neeraj Pandey. I have seen his work and have always liked the way he puts small things into his film. I never wanted a film that made me a hero or glorified my journey. Cricket is part of my life, but it is not my entire life. Similarly, cricket is part of the movie, but it’s not the movie itself. For me, it is important to show the human feelings, emotions, which this film does.” said Dhoni in a firm tone.
"Everyone knows about my achievements and setbacks, but what is important is to know the small things that pushed me, that transformed me into what I am today. I’ve always maintained that it is important to always live in the present and the movie depicts such moments,” added the Indian ODI skipper.
Dhoni heaped special praise on director Neeraj Pandey saying that he admired Pandey for how he’s projected the main theme in all his films. “Neeraj is hardworking and talented. I have shared plenty of things with him, so he knows me inside out,” said Dhoni.
Captain Cool has always been comfortable in front of the camera, as seen from his ads and award show appearances, which often begs the question as to why Pandey didn’t think of casting the man himself in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. The Special 26 director reminded all that the process of the film had begun back in 2011 when Dhoni was still playing all formats of the game.
“The temptation was there, but we had initiated the film when Dhoni hadn’t retired from Tests. So, it was impossible for him to bide time. However, back then if I were able to choose between Dhoni the cricketer or Dhoni the actor, I would have merrily accepted the former.”
Though the focus was firmly on Dhoni, Sushant Singh Rajput did enjoy his moment of limelight. After all, he’s the one playing the great man. Asked his impressions about Dhoni and the pressure of playing him, Rajput replied, “More than pressure, it was excitement. In 2007, my family and I had the opportunity of clicking a picture with Dhoni. Four-five years later, I’m having an opportunity to not only play him, but I also got a chance to know what goes inside his mind, I got to know Dhoni from inside. This film has enabled me to come out as a truly good human being.”
Captain Cool he may be, but there were times when Dhoni got a bit agitated with the young actor.
“Sushant asks too many questions. At times, he would ask the same question in different ways. After a few days, it would get difficult to answer them and I would tell him that ‘yaar tu bahot sawaal poochta hai', and I would walk away from him. I have spent less time with him, but I must say that his helicopter shot is a replica."
Dhoni’s life has been anything but a bed of roses. Conflicts and controversies are part and parcel of a sportsman’s life and Dhoni is no different. Pandey reiterated that whatever significant things have happened in Dhoni’s life from being a young boy to winning the 2011 World Cup will be shown in the film. That includes some controversies too.
There was much more to ask but the media and a few lucky fans were left disappointed after Dhoni left the stage after answering questions by the emcee and a few chosen contest winners.
For all his landmark achievements, where Dhoni differs from other cricketing greats is his great sense of humour. Post Dhoni’s departure, Cinestaan.com asked Rajput whether he was able to imbibe the cricketer's sense of humour, both into his film and his personality, the actor said, “You will see those fun-filled moments in the film. As for me imbibing his sense of humour, well, he laughed at many of my jokes. So, I’d like to believe that my humour isn’t bad.”
Fun and laughter was the order of the evening, and in the end all left with smiles. MS Dhoni: The Untold Story releases on 30 September, 2016.