Rajkumar Hirani has given us several entertainers in the past few years and as cinephiles, who lap up every amazing movie with sheer delight, it’s a good fortune to come across a story as honest as ‘Sanju’. Right from the time it was announced till the time its release date neared, all people wanted to know was the story that actually made Sanjay Dutt, Sanjay Dutt! And with Raju Hirani at the helm of things, we can safely say that the ace director brings out the best in Ranbir Kapoor, who gives a performance of a lifetime in the semi-biographical. ‘Sanju’ is about a man, who, though born into a family of luminaries, leads a very ordinary life, which turns out to be extra-ordinary in every which way.
‘Sanju’ starts off with a middle-aged controversial star Sanjay Dutt (Ranbir Kapoor), who is about to surrender himself in the Arms Act case, waiting to chronicle his life’s journey into a biography. It is only when a movie writer lets him down, does he turn to an accomplished author Winnie (Anushka Sharma), who agrees to bring his side of the story to the world, which had always looked down upon him and termed him the Bad Boy of Bollywood. As meetings between Sanju and Winnie become more frequent, and several discussions with his wife Maanyata (Dia Mirza) follow, Winnie comes across a man, who did what he thought was right, but it did not conform to the world’s standards.
Sanju starts opening up about his life, and takes us back in time, when he had just begun his career in Bollywood. Being the son of stalwarts, Nargis (Manisha Koirala) and Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal), Sanjay lives his life to the fullest, with little care about the world. This leads him to the wrong side of the law, where a brush with drugs pushes him into addiction even before his first film has released. Things take an ugly turn, when his beloved mother passes away and his father is the sole companion he needs in his desperate times.
Although Sanju comes up trumps, there are other demons he needs to fight to keep moving forward. But then, tackling them all together – alcoholism, guns, girls and gundas – is no mean feat for a man, who was always in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
‘Sanju’ is a film that brings out the best and the worst side of an actor, whose life was always mired in controversy. Rajkumar Hirani puts in all the efforts to pinpoint several important chapters in Sanjay Dutt’s life that needed to be told from the man’s own point of view. While Hirani omits Dutt’s many secret love affairs (which were blatantly mentioned in the trailer) and the birth of his first daughter Trishala, he combines drama and humour in the narrative, which make the biographical more enjoyable. While the first half establishes how Sanjay Dutt falls into an abyss and keeps sinking in further, the second half discusses his many court cases and the changed man he later turns into, with a wife and children to care about and a career that has slowly started to look up. But amid all these elements, it’s his relationship with his father that truly touches the heart. Essentially a film about a father-son relationship, it is here that ‘Sanju’ scores a few more points.
It goes without saying that Ranbir Kapoor has excelled as Sanjay Dutt, getting his mannerisms and his body language spot-on. But what stands out is his sheer acting talent that is matchless and how effortlessly he slips into another man’s character, outdoing his own self. Ranbir is a natural and his honest act as Sanjay Dutt reminds us of the man himself. The trailers looked promising and Ranbir makes sure he entertains and amazes his audiences all at once in the film. He is the star of the show and deserves all the accolades. Anushka Sharma, Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Jim Sarbh and Manisha Koirala support the actor well, delivering what was asked of them; but Vicky Kaushal and Paresh Rawal need applauses too, for standing tall against an actor, who plays the central character and hogs the limelight all the time.
Technically the film is sound, with moments that take you back in time frequently. The cinematographer recreates the bygone era with ease and does a fine job. Songs are situational and blend in well. A crisp editing saves the film from bordering on boredom and a screenplay that is cleverly woven with the script makes it worth a watch.
All in all, ‘Sanju’ is a clear winner, with Ranbir Kapoor shining the brightest, scoring all the plus points as the man, whose life is more a controversy than a fairy-tale!