Tribute: Sushant Singh Rajput inspired the youth as M.S. Dhoni – Beyond Bollywood


As a month goes by since the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput (34), a young girl shares her M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story [2016] experience

By Anannya Srusti


A month ago, [14 June] when the media started flashing the news of Sushant Singh Rajput’s sudden death, the nation was left in deep shock.  So was I. I remember receiving a WhatsApp text from a friend that read, “Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide” and the next moment I found myself surfing the internet and reading the same line again and again. Two days ago, I was watching M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story [2016] for the umpteenth time. I was complaining about Star Gold’s [Hindi movie channel] inability to air anything else, but soon surrendered myself to Rajput’s million-dollar smile.

Sadly, later all of his movies started airing on television.  The channel naturally called it paying ‘tribute’ to the actor.  Sushant appealed to me not just as an actor, but also as a human being. He spoke to his audience with his angelic eyes. For someone who was a complete noob in the field of cricket, Sushant still won my heart through the Mahendra Singh Dhoni biopic. I have never watched it as a ‘Mahi fan’, but have always watched it as the story of a small-town boy who dared to dream big.  

The sheer determination which Rajput exhibited as Dhoni in the biopic, it made me believe that the taste of one’s achievements through hard work is unparalleled. Conquering all the obstacles with his optimism and still holding on to his humbleness after achieving huge success. The movie taught me the kind of person that one needs to be.

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Sushant’s method, natural acting struck a chord with the viewers. For me, one such scene would be when while returning to the hotel room [in Pakistan] from a match, Dhoni (Rajput) was told by his friend that his girl friend Priyanka (Disha Patani) has died in an accident. He would stop the car, ask his friends to leave, and then go to the side of the road and cry his heart out. As a fan and as a viewer, I could actually feel that pain in my heart and still do, each time I watch the tragic scene.

There was another very inspiring scene. Dhoni [Rajput] finds himself in a dilemma. It is raining. He is alone perched on a chair at the platform, frustrated with his job [railway ticket collector]. Not that he disregarded the work, but deep within he knew that wasn’t who he was meant to be.  In one moment, he looks all sullen, head down. He watches a train set in motion.  Just a minute ago, he looked forlorn, but the sight of the accelerating train opens his eyes to the reality –  pursue your dream or else your opportunity will go by like this train.  Life is all about taking risks, and in that one moment, Rajput epitomized the dilemma that millions of ordinary young Indians face in their lives.

His body language, mannerism was so Dhoniesque.  If I recall well, the Dhoni biopic came at a time when Sushant Singh Rajput needed a hit.  It was a vital film in the career of Rajput. Had M.S Dhoni : The Untold Story not worked, who knows what would have happened to his career?

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While most people knew about Dhoni and Indian team’s exploits at the 2011 cricket World Cup, but director Neeraj Pandey presented the drama in an engaging, entertaining way.  I liked the performance of the guy who played Yuvraj Singh [Harry Tangri]. He looked like a mirror image of Yuvraj Singh. Anupam Kher was very compelling as Dhoni’s father Pan Singh Dhoni. Disha Patani was commendable in her first film, while after a low-key debut in Fugly [2014], Kiara Advani earned praise for her portrayal of Sakshi, Dhoni’s future wife.

All in all, I enjoyed the film for its inspirational story, fine drama and the brilliance of Sushant Singh Rajput.  I often come across comments that M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story [2016] succeeded more because it is a Dhoni biopic and perhaps Rajput had little to do with its success. However, after watching him perform, I don’t think any actor could have done justice to the role. Like Dhoni, Rajput emerged as a winner through this film. Sadly, Rajput’s short life means that this would perhaps go down as his finest performance.