The Art of telling an untold story
Dr Sanjay Singh
These days, there is a splurge in biopics on legends belonging to different fields. But what is the reason behind the sudden fixation with biopics? The answer is simple – filmmakers are hooked onto the driving force, the motivation behind these luminaries that made them what they are today.
The recently released film, "MS Dhoni – The Untold Story" had the masses thronging the theatres. Movie goers and cricket enthusiasts alike, were anxious to get an insight into the normally reserved, albeit their beloved 'Captain Cool's' life. Dhoni’s biopic became a huge success at the box office, primarily due to the word-of-mouth publicity. The film has a record collection for a non-holiday release. However, a biopic released on controversial cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin's life a few months ago, garnered poor response.
Even though both the cricketers have had a successful run, Azharuddin's biopic was made a long time after his retirement, which was probably one of the reasons behind its average performance. On the other hand Dhoni, who is currently the limited overs captain of the Indian cricket team, has already achieved global appreciation on many levels, which gave directors an advantage, since he is the only captain under whom India has won two World Cups (T20 and ICC World Cup).
But, what fascinated me most about "MS Dhoni – The Untold Story" is Sushant Singh Rajput's portrayal of MS Dhoni. What both of them – the reel and real Dhoni – have in common is that they belong to small towns, which is one of the reasons why Sushant Singh Rajput was able to do justice to the role. The film is about a small town boy's struggles as he strives to get selected to play for the Indian cricket team and his eventual victory and success.
The film also highlights the plight of small-town talent. It has become a common occurrence to see people from affluent backgrounds and those from big cities making it big in various fields. But, history is witness to the fact that small cities and towns in India harbour a lot of talent, but due to improper guidance and dearth of facilities, they don't receive the luxury of a proper platform to showcase their skills.
The story revolves around how a school coach recognizes Dhoni's capabilities and how the coach's guidance and Dhoni's hard work and perseverance work in his favour, which has earned him global recognition as the most successful Indian captain. The film, in parts, also depicts Dhoni's romantic journey. Anupam Kher who essays the role of Dhoni's father in the film, has portrayed the character with excellence. Bhumika Chawla has been spotted after a long time playing Dhoni's elder sister.Dhoni's capabilities and how the coach's guidance and Dhoni's hard work and perseverance work in his favour, which has earned him global recognition as the most successful Indian captain. The film, in parts, also depicts Dhoni's romantic journey. Anupam Kher who essays the role of Dhoni's father in the film, has portrayed the character with excellence. Bhumika Chawla has been spotted after a long time playing Dhoni's elder sister.
Biopics on other sportspersons have been made as well, including Milkha Singh (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag), which earned a blockbuster status and received immense appreciation and critical acclaim. Milkha Singh is a celebrated athlete of his time, whereas, Dhoni is considered a demigod of Indian cricket; both are established athletes in their respective sport. But, this is where the similarities end.
Though both biopics were made on the lives of living legends, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag showcased a Sikh boy's struggle to achieve his dreams amidst the backdrop of the partition of India and Pakistan during independence. MS Bhaag Milkha Bhaag showcased a Sikh boy's struggle to achieve his dreams amidst the backdrop of the partition of India and Pakistan during independence. MS Dhoni – The Untold Story on the other hand was filmed against the backdrop of contemporary India.
The success of Milkha Singh's and Dhoni's biopics have inspired many filmmakers to create big screen magic based on other sportpersons' life as well, so much so, that Bollywood and sports have become synonymous. Cricketers have been attracted to Bollywood actresses and vice-versa. Tiger Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore's romance and marriage can be essayed in a beautiful film. The blooming romance between bollywood actress Anushka Sharma and the current cricket hearthrob Virat Kohli can also be inspirational enough to make a biopic on them.
The monetary aspect can't be overlooked, either. Mary Kom, Azharuddin and Milkha Singh were paid royalty money by the producers to make Milkha Singh were paid royalty money by the producers to make biopics based on them. But, the amount earned by the actors who portrayed the characters onscreen respectively, was many folds higher compared to what the real sportspersons received. However, sportspersons received. However, Dhoni became an exception to this 'rule' since the real MS Dhoni was paid a higher amount than his reel counterpart.
Will this become a trendsetter or remain an exceptional case? We shall wait and see.