On 24 April 2018, Rajkumar Hirani registered an explosive comeback with the release of the much talked about movie teaser Sanju, a film based on the life of one of the most controversial actors of the industry ever, Sanjay Dutt essayed by suave actor Ranbir Kapoor. With the introduction of the teaser, we’re in on one fact: Sanju is going to be be a roller-coaster ride.
Sanjay Dutt’s life is an ideal premise for a promising, lip smacking biopic: be it the drug phase in his life, or the arrest for illegal possession of arms during the Black Friday blasts or 1993 or his tumultuous marriage life: it sounds too fantastic to be true. Yet, we can’t help but agree with the opening lines of the teaser: Sanju’s life has been a literal full Saanp-Seedhi maafik (Like the game snake and ladder)!
Besides, Sanjay Dutt has been a brilliant actor as well. In a film industry, where mediocrity has been given preference over talent, Sanjay Dutt has consistently tried his best to keep the count of mediocre films in his profile low. Be it the movie on the lives of Indian immigrants abroad, i.e. ‘Naam’ , or his portrayal of a differently abled, but dedicated lover in ‘Saajan’, you name it and Sanjay Dutt has done it.
He is one of the very few versatile actors Bollywood can be proud of and it almost amounts to a sin if you haven’t seen his legendary portrayal of the ruffian Murli Prasad Sharma who gets even with a doctor in his quirky way in ‘Munnabhai MBBS’. On a lighter note, he is also a lawbreaker who at least accepted his flaws and made an honest attempt to serve the sentence due , and not create absurd theories and excuses to prove himself innocent, as one of his best friends is quite notorious for. Need I remind you of the black buck, dear Bhai fans?
Jokes apart, as apt is a biopic on Sanjay Dutt, equally apt is the decision of choosing a filmmaker like Rajkumar Hirani to portray his life on silver screen. Rajkumar Hirani is one of the few directors who let the quirky but clean content do the talking. From ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ to ‘3 Idiots’; there is hardly any film of Hirani which hasn’t left a profound impact on the masses. As such, if he has decided to make the biopic on Sanjay Dutt, we can be sure that he will make an honest attempt to portray what Sanjay has faced in his road to success.
Equally apt is the decision to cast Ranbir Kapoor as the happy-go-lucky, carefree Sanju. The phenomenal actor that he has been, Ranbir has proved his acting chops in films like ‘Rockstar’ ‘Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year’, ‘Barfi’ and ‘Rajneeti’. He has proved himself as a worthy progeny of the illustrious Kapoor clan who has ruled over Bollywood with elan. The dedication to the role of Sanjay Dutt looks from the teaser itself and one must appreciate Ranbir for that level of dedication, something hardly seen in the current lot of actors of Bollywood.
However, there is one thing that we are afraid of turning true. While it is commendable that Ranbir has got into the skin of Sanjay Dutt, we can’t help but wonder if it is a genuine biopic, or an attempt to whitewash his dark past, something on the lines of the rather horrible movie ‘Azhar’, where the notorious captain was given an absolute clean chit by this movie.
Our fears are not unfounded, for Sanjay Dutt, though likeable, is certainly not someone to be idolized and deified. He is a convicted felon for smuggling arms illegally during the 1993 blasts, whatever the motive. His relations with the ‘D Company’ aren’t something that many would be proud of.
In ‘Azhar’, the makers attempted to whitewash every crime of his, as if Mohammad Azharuddin was some noble soul, wronged by the thankless masses of India. Is life that black and white?
As the movie releases on 29th June, we hope that Sanju is not just a PR exercise but actually shows the highs and lows in the tumultuous life of Sanjay Dutt, and present him in the most realistic way possible.