Prakash Raj, Illayaraja and a wheelchair-bound Kid. It seemed like a perfect recipe for a tear-jerker. The trailer confirmed the fear. Dhoni does pack plenty of those moments, where you’re wiping away at your eyes. Thankfully, those are bittersweet moments, not the depressing variety I was expecting.
The மாதா, பிதா, குரு in today’s Tamil Nadu have an undiluted message for kids today. Excel in studies, everything extra-curricular can wait, or worse, sacrifice them at the altar of academic achievement. How does Subramaniam (Prakash Raj), a pragmatist, navigate this society that demands that his (aspiring Cricketer, Dhoni fanatic) Son perform his scholastic obligation. Even if Subramaniam is forgiving, the School system isn’t. “They claim 100% Success on the same page that reports under-performing Students committing suicide”, Subramaniam wonders.
Have to mention Radhika Apte (Marthi Theater-trained) here. You could have an utterly chaotic scene in a movie and then introduce Radhika to it; she would balance it out without flinching a muscle. She acts as this calming agent exactly when things get crazy. did this well in ‘Raktha Charitra’ and she follows it up here with Dhoni.
The original Marathi film, ‘Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho’ is very light-hearted, its Hero goofy and bolder scenes involving the “Heroine”. Prakash Raj gives Dhoni a more serious and conservative tone, to suit Tamil audience. His lack of in the Tamil box office is apparent with a predominantly Telugu cast.
Yes, Dhoni is a “message” movie and raises some really valid questions for us Parents. Is society ready for us to raise kids who lack mastery over Maths and Science (at best)? Should we let Schools and Teachers turn us against our Kids? When we say, “It’s for your own good?”, does it end up that way?
Dhoni raises these questions with a lot of conviction, but am not sure how deep these sink into our psyche. We will laud movies like Dhoni inside theaters, but we carry on with our lives outside.