How can one not love a movie about children crafted with utmost compassion? Dhoni, written and directed by Prakash Raj is a well-intended and sincere film with a good message, and it tugs at your heartstrings.
The film illustrates the conflict of interests of a father and his son; as their aspirations clash. The father wants his son to study MBA, but the boy is more interested in playing cricket and his role model is Indian Captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The film is also a scathing attack on our education system which burdens the child.
Karthik (Akash) is a 14-year old son of Subramaniam (Prakash Raj) a middle class government employee. But there is one thing he is obsessed and passionate about and that is cricket. His inspiration is Dhoni and like him, he wants to be an attacking wicket Keeper- batsman, and his coach (Nassar) sees a great potential in him. At school, Karthik struggles with numbers and to make sense of them, falling way behind his classmates, much to the frustration of his teachers and his father who wants to see his son to be an MBA graduate.
It is one-man show for Prakash Raj who is brilliant as Subbu as he carries this film completely on his shoulders. He delivers a mature and sensitive performance, adding those little touches that make a difference. It is to his credit that he balances his role as the protagonist and director. Aakash as the young boy is spontaneous and everyone in the cast like the girl who plays Subbu’s daughter, Radhika Apte playing a pivotal character, Brahmanandam, Charms are all good.
There are no commercial trappings like fancy camera angles, unwanted songs or clich’d sentiments. The film benefits from Ilayaraja’s inspiring background score which lifts the film.The special song with Prabhu Deva is cute and it goes with the narrative.
Who can’t relate with the Subramaniam, the doting father and Karthik who can’t seem to get his head around his studies? Everyone can relate to the premise of this relatable story as it is a film about parents and children, about the pressures we put on them, about how we push them into becoming assembly-line products instead of encouraging them to find their own unique strengths.
All great, except the dash of seemingly inevitable melodrama, as the climax is exaggerated where Subbu is beaten up and he meets the Chief Minister and has a lengthy conversation. There are a couple of verbose, preachy scenes which are repetitive and could have been avoided.
On the whole, don’t miss Dhoni. The beauty of the narration is that the message applies to everyone and it might change your life.