Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is applauded by the world for his cricketing skills and trademark 'helicopter shot', is equally brilliant with his acting chops, says Sushant Singh Rajput.
Sushant plays the role of the Indian skipper in the upcoming biopic, "MS Dhoni: The Untold Story". The "Kai Po Che!" star says he realised that Dhoni is a "very good" actor when the duo were shooting for an ad film together regarding the movie.
"He (Dhoni) is a very good actor. If you watch one of the videos we did, where he is asking me what's there in the film, the scripted lines were just five-six. I came up with some lines, just like that and he reacted on them.
"Then I reacted, then he did. So he is a very good actor. If you're listening, you're an 80 per cent actor," Sushant said in an interview. The 30-year-old actor believes if the cricketer ever decides to turn his way to Bollywood, other actors might have to think of an alternate career.
"Well if he decides to be an actor then we need to think of Plan B, because he is very good at whatever he decides (to do)," Sushant said. To slip into the role of Dhoni and to successfully portray it on screen, however, was a task, which Sushant realised early on in the film.
The actor, for whom the happiest moment was "signing the contract" of the movie, had to be careful to imbibe minute details of the cricketer which have made him iconic over the years.
"Normally when we do fictional characters, we don't have a reference point. But when you're playing Dhoni, you have a reference point. Body language, mannerism or may be playing style," Sushant said.
"I had to take care of that too. Because very quickly I realised that I could be very good in the film as an actor, but I could still not be convincing if I don't remind you of him. Those were the things which we took care of, so that there is no jerk," he said.
The actor said the biopic has made him a "better human being" and left him with some memorable moments during his interaction with Dhoni. "I am a big fan, so getting a chance, talking to him, he is answering my questions...in between, in breaks I used to ask him how to hold a bat. MS Dhoni, telling you, it's surreal. There are many things that'll stay with me for a while."
The preparation for the film, Sushant said, was in three different stages. The script, to understand the importance of the story, mannerisms and diction, and lastly cultivating the skill of cricket.
Now that the film is up for release, the actor is confident of a "well made movie" and insists the motive in storytelling is not to over-dramatise any situation. "In the film, we don't glorify anything, or over-dramatise anything. We don't want to hide anything," he said. "MS Dhoni: The Untold Story", also starring Kiara Advani and Disha Patani, is scheduled to release on September 30.