There are few films which come with humongous expectations and every chance of getting trolled, because these films could easily step in the zone of being a caricature. When you have films like the ‘Munnabhai’ series, ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘PK’ to your filmography, there’s by default a boost in expectations because of the people. Rajkumar Hirani – the man who has not only just understood human emotions but also blended them together in his every film and moulding them in a different style. This time he doesn’t get much to fictionalise but is gifted by some real-life events that are worthy enough to entertain the audience.
The story of ‘Sanju’ is divided into multiple parts – the first and most important is, of him getting introduced and addicted to drugs. Sanjay Dutt aka Sanju (Ranbir Kapoor) is out on parole from a case which is explained in the later half. His wife Maanayata Dutt gets in touch with Winnie Diaz who’s a renowned biographer. Winnie agrees to pen Sanju’s biopic only if he confesses every truth of his life.
Sanju starts narrating his past and through the flashback we get introduced to various important characters related to Dutt’s life. Vehement support from father Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal) and unconditional love from his cancer-fighting mother Nargis Dutt (Manisha Koirala) lead to Sanju taking his life for granted. The rest of the story is about how he makes a comeback, dodges the rehab process, gets arrested for possession of illegal arms, is stamped as a terrorist and yet again picks up the broken pieces and fight life.
The media is completely thrashed in the film. Is the film another attempt at redeeming the image of Sanjay Dutt? But, without going into any controversial depths, let’s respect Rajkumar Hirani and Ranbir Kapoor who have come together to deliver us an entertaining film. One of the best things about the film is how Hirani explores every shade of Sanjay Dutt’s life. He’s a drug addict – checked and covered, he possesses guns – checked and covered, he’s not a saint and lives a flawed life – checked and covered.
Sanju as a friend, Sanju as a lover, Sanju as a son, Sanju as an actor and Sanju as a husband – Hirani jumps through the timeline of his life making sure everything is portrayed as it is. ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ was accused of being fake, ‘M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story’ was criticised for glorifying the cricketer’s life but the master story-teller steps in the ring and shows how a biopic is done. Abhijat Joshi and Hirani penning such an engaging script of already known incidents says it all.
When Ranbir made his debut with ‘Saawariya’, he was considered just another star-kid stealing the limelight from others. Doing roles in ‘Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year’, ‘Rockstar’, ‘Barfi!’, ‘Tamasha’, and ‘Jagga Jasoos’ – he has come a long way proving his worth. What he does in the film is not just acting; he has adapted the mannerism of Sanjay Dutt so well, it’s almost impossible to differentiate between both. He’ll always be remembered for being Sanjay Dutt on screen. Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt fills in the emotional gap in the special father-son bond narrated in the film.
Vicky Kaushal is as good as Ranbir Kapoor in the film. He gets every emotion perfectly right. ‘Raazi’, ‘Lust Stories’ and now ‘Sanju’ – Bollywood is craving for someone like Vicky. Anushka Sharma delivers what is required from her and she’s there for a substantial screen time, less than ‘PK’ but more than just terming it as a cameo. Dia Mirza as Maanayata Dutt portrays the simplicity of her real-life character very well. Jim Sarbh is passable, nothing extraordinary; he was better in ‘Padmaavat’. Sonam Kapoor is there just for couple of scenes and is forgettable.
There are just four songs in the film including a closing-credit song, thankfully none of them is just for the sake of it. Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal’s “Tu Badhiya Main Bhi Badhiya” is a quirky take on Sanju’s changing behaviour towards life. Sukhwinder Singh’s “Kar Har Maidaan Fateh” evokes the goosebumps for its situation. A.R.Rahman’s “Ruby Ruby” portrays a stoner’s trip in the most accurate way.
R. Madhavan’s ‘Ramji Londonwaley’ released back in 2004 had cinematography way ahead than its time. The guy, Ravi Varman then carried on with gems like ‘Barfi!’, ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela’, ‘Tamasha’ and ‘Jagga Jasoos’. Ravi’s cinematography in ‘Sanju’ is commendable. He has designed each and every scenario to make it look beautiful after understanding the script and screenplay. As his every directorial venture, Rajkumar Hirani has edited Sanju by himself. He has his master-filter on knowing what to keep and what to skip. Abhijat Joshi and Hirani pen the story of the movie keeping everyone’s sentiments in mind.
On the whole, ‘Sanju’ does not star Ranbir Kapoor, it stars Sanjay Dutt and we’ll never believe there was an actor acting his scenes. What the makers skipped is debatable but what they’ve shown consider every bit of appreciation.