Cinemimi [Thursday, February 16, 2012]HOW much is 17 times 8? Why do you need to memorise that to pass exams when you have calculators to help with the math?
Why does the system fail a child if he fails his Mathematics but excels in other subjects?
These are the sort of questions 2009 best actor Prakash Raj dealt with in his Tamil directorial debut, Dhoni. It was the first time he had directed and acted in his own film.
If you have seen the trailer, it’s a bit of a spoiler for what to expect.
The story deals with middle-class widower Subbu (Prakash Raj) who struggles to educate his two kids. His daughter is good in her studies, but his elder son is only interested in cricket and wants to emulate his idol, Dhoni, the Indian cricket captain.
When his son fails his exam, Subbu is at his wit’s ends. Only when his son is met with an accident does he realise that while studies is important, it’s not all that essential to succeed in life.
There’s also a touch of humour and romance (through Radhika Apte, heroine of Raktha Charithra) in the movie.
It’s easy to identify with Subbu, especially when his child refuses to study and he has to find ways to finance his daily expenses.
Akashpuri, who plays Subbu’s son, is the son of a leading Telugu film director. He surprises with a confident performance.
Choreographer-turned-actor-turned-director Prabhu Deva appears for a song, yesteryear hero Sarath Babu has an important role, and Nasser plays a cricket coach.
Ilayarajah’s songs fail to impress, though one may appreciate his background score.
The movie, based on the Marathi film Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho (2010), written and directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, is devoid of any sexy scene or double entendre dialogue. Prakash relies on the strength of the story to carry the movie, but it gets a little long-winded towards the end. If only the second half of the movie is as interesting as the first half.
Dhoni comes on the heels of Nanban (the Tamil remake of the Hindi hit Three Idiots, now showing), also about the present educational system that emphasises on mugging for exams. It’s interesting to note a news report that says British universities are dropping Mathematics from degree courses as students simply can’t cope.It’s doubtful, though, if Dhoni will find a big audience as more favour action movies.
Starring Prakash Raj, Radhika Apte, Akashpuri, Sree Teja, Naseer, Brahmanandam, Murali Sharma, Tanikella Bharani, Thalaivasal Vijay
Duration: 150 minutes