When Rajkumar Hirani announced a biopic on the life of his Munna aka Sanjay Dutt, everybody anticipated it to be a candy floss account of Dutt’s controversial life story. But, Hirani cautioned one and all that he wouldn’t be glorifying the star who had clearly made some wrong choices in the past. The celebrated directed had said that he would touch upon the most sensitive parts of Sanjay’s life as well and with Sanju, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Hirani has done just that.
The film opens with Ranbir Kapoor (Dutt) and Dia Mirza (plays Maanayata Dutt) dealing with the news of his five year sentencing in the TADA case. On March 2013 the Supreme Court had upheld Dutt’s sentence and given him four weeks to surrender. With just a month in hand to complete pending projects, Dutt and Maanayata approach the most famous biographer Winnie (Anushka Sharma) to pen his story, unadulterated and unabashed. While Anushka looks pretty and refreshing, her weird curly hairdo proves yet again that Hirani needs to do better with Anushka’s tresses (think PK). Anyway, coming back to the plot, we're taken back in time to his days of Rocky when an aimless Dutt is being disciplined by his father, veteran actor Sunil Dutt. A lanky Ranbir singing Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai looking at a still camera, while Paresh Rawal teaching him the art of romancing even a tree is a scene that evokes few laughs. Then, even a drugged Ranbir landing up with his friend Jim Sarbh (he plays Zubin Mistry) at his lover Ruby’s (Sonam Kapoor) house late in the night to demand a bottle of vodka from her father is another scene that’s hilarious to the core. But hereon, the movie sets pace for emotionally draining sequences. Be it the death of his mother, yesteryear actress Nargis or his unusual cravings to drugs resulting in his downfall, every scene captures the dark phase of his life and uncovers vivid chapters. Manisha Koirala makes a brief appearance as Nargis but her smile lights up the screen. Paresh Rawal is restrained and magnetic in his portrayal of a father torn between his familial pressures and discipline. Jim Sarbh as Sanju’s druggie friend is enviously good.
Dutts' life also has another interesting and amusing persona in the form of his best friend Kamli portrayed fabulously by Vicky Kaushal. His hilarious Gujju accent coupled with his virgin jokes make him an endearing guy who’s ready to move mountains for Dutt. However, it ain’t an easy job to get Dutt out of his addiction, but Kamli and Dutt’s father together manage to fulfil this herculean task. And even before, a sane Dutt gives a new direction to his life, he gets sentenced to five years of imprisonment for possession of arms in his residence. If this blow wasn’t enough, his father receives another shock after a truck full of RDX is obtained from his residence. Sanjay goes to jail and the bad times have just begun. The prison is not just claustrophobic, it also reeks of human excreta. Scenes that have been shot to give the audience a glimpse into those trying times. Ranbir Kapoor, however, shoulders every scene like a dream. After a while, you forget that it’s Ranbir and all you can see is the story of an imperfect man, adored by millions.
While the first half focusses on his addictions and relationships with his family and friends the second half builds heavily on his jail term and his involvement in the case. His shooting days from Munnabhai MBBS also find a place in the story, but sadly, that’s the only movie that Hirani could think of showing, we wonder why. His relationship with his sisters, or with his newest wife Maanayata find no credence in his controversial story.
This is clearly the story of a man who has accepted his errors and is learning from them and that’s what the makers have lent focus on. But, the way everything has been executed definitely deserves a round of applause because each character has seamlessly helped in providing us with a Bollywoodised account of his life. Throughout the film, you see Sanju crying and screaming aloud that he is not a terrorist and his involvement in RDX is fabricated by the media. There’s severe media bashing here. The post picture credit song which sees the real and reel life Dutt dance together is also about bashing the newspapers for publishing mere gossip to attract eyeballs. Very smartly, Hirani depicts the tale of a faulty man who isn’t really at fault. It’s the narrative and the performances that make this story likable. Who doesn’t like a story that’s full of emotions, drama, and humor? Yes, you’re in for all of these elements and Ranbir Kapoor is surely back in the game.
Watch the trailer here:Read More