Jio Rockers Dhoni – A powerful drama about 17 x 8
Prakash Raj’s ‘Dhoni’ is releasing tomorrow and the film has Puri Jagan’s son Aakash in a pivotal role. Radhika Apte, Sharath Babu, Nasser, Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and a few other prominent actors are part of this movie which takes on the flaws in our education system. Dhoni is inspired by the Marathi film ‘Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho’ which was directed by Mahesh Manjrekar .We have been to a special screening of the movie today so let us see how ‘Dhoni’ stacks up.
Subrahmanyam (Prakash Raj) is a middle class government employee who also happens to be a widower. He wants to provide the best education he can for his kids and he makes a lot of sacrifices to make ends meet. But his son Karthik (Aakash) is least bothered about studies. His passion is cricket and he is a gifted player. A constant struggle between the father and son over poor test scores is always on. Meanwhile, Nalini (Radhika Aapte) is a kindhearted neighbour who takes a keen interest in the well being of the kids.
As Karthik’s marks continue to suffer, pressure from the school management grows on Prakash Raj and he is forced to take drastic decisions. Things escalate out of control over the issue of whether Karthik can answer the simple question, “What is the answer for 17 x 8?”. Tragic events occur and everyone is forced to question their beliefs and their views. Subrahmanyam begins a fight against the system to save his son. He also discovers that Nalini has a dark secret. What is that secret? What are the events that lead Subrahmanyam to stand up and fight against the system?
Plus Points :
Kudos to Prakash Raj for coming up with a solid and meaningful film. He excels not only as an actor but also as a director. Dhoni will tug at your heart strings. Prakash Raj’s direction in the first half is especially good and the story is nicely setup towards the interval.
Aakash is outstanding in the role of Karthik. He delivers a mature performance and the audience will instantly empathize with him. Radhika Aapte is a brilliant actress and she delivers a composed and understated performance. She looks gorgeous in simple cotton sarees.
Gollapudi Maruthi Rao, Nasser, Tanikella Bharani and Murali Sharma turn in good performances. Brahmanandam and Chaams provide some comic relief in the first half. Prabhu Deva makes a cameo appearance in a song.
Sentimental scenes have come out really well and many middle class families will connect very strongly to the movie. Some very valid and concerning issues have been raised about our pressure cooker education system. The scenes where Prakash Raj breaks down in the TV Studio and where he confronts the Chief Minister with the “How much is 17 x 8?” question have been shot very well.
Minus Points :
The movie loses its way briefly in the second half and a few preachy sequences could have been avoided. There are some very idealistic and one sided arguments during debates about the flaws in the current educational system and they have all been seen before.
The emotional conflict that drives Prakash Raj’s change of opinion towards Radhika Apte could have been handled better.
Technical Aspects :
One expects more when Ilayaraja is the music director. Music is strictly average and so is the background score. Cinematography is alright. Prakash Raj’s screenplay is very good in the first half but loses some steam in the second half. Dialogues are good.
Dhoni is a powerful drama that will tug at your heart strings. There are a few preachy sequences in the second half but the film more than makes up for it with some good narration, brilliant performances and strong sentiment. The film’s appeal will be limited to A and B Centers as it may not appeal to hardcore masala film lovers. The movie raises some very valid issues and it is definitely worth a watch. Thumbs up for Dhoni.
Legend: 5 – Flawless
4 – Must Watch
3 – One Time Watch
2 – Wait for the DVD
1 – Stay Away