The much awaited Sanjay Dutt’s biopic Sanju recently hit the theatres. The film is directed by Rajkumar Hirani and written by Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. The film follows the life of Sanjay Dutt, his relationship with his father, descent into alcoholism and drug addiction, arrest for involvement in the 1993 Bombay bombings, comeback in the film industry, and eventual release after completing his jail term. Ranbir Kapoor stars as the eponymous character, along with an ensemble cast which features Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, Vicky Kaushal, Manisha Koirala as Nargis, Dia Mirza as Manyata Dutt, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Jim Sarbh.
There is a scene in the film, where Ranbir Kapoor (as Sanjay Dutt) talks about the women in his life. “Prostitutes ko ginun ya? Nai unko alag rakhta hun. 308 tak yaad hai. Chalo aap safety ke liye 350 likhlo,” a rather composed Sanju tells Anushka Sharma (who plays the role of Winnie Dias, his biographer) upon being asked about the number of women he has slept with apart from Manyata Dutt, his third and present wife. The sheer pride with which Ranbir shares this information with her, the scene became an instant hit amongst the cine-lovers since the trailer first appeared and it is still evoking laughter in theaters. This scene gives us the reality of our Indian society. The Indian popular culture – sexually active men are studs while sexually active women are instantly termed as sluts.
— Neetu Verma (@Neetu26Verma) July 11, 2018
Bollywood has always been under the line of fire for its portrayal of women as objects of desire. From ‘Sheila Ki Jawaani’ to ‘Munni Badnaam hui’, it is usually women who are utilized as objects of desire and sexual objects. The situation is same in Indian society where birth of a girl child is like a taboo in some parts of India and even among elite and educated Indians. The most appalling thing in the movie is that Anushkha sharma who is well known for being a feminist, looks amused during the scene as if the number of women Sanjay Dutt has slept with is some kind of an achievement. And Dia Mirza , who is playing the role of Sanjay Dutt’s wife, seems totally unaffected during the scene as if it’s no big deal. This gives us a glimpse of a house wife in our society. No matter what, a sanskari wife should always stand by her husband!
Well after the scene, I couldn’t help but wonder how the audience and our Indian society would have reacted if a women protagonist of some film would have a similar scene where she would have been the one confessing something about her personal life similar to Sanjay Dutt. Probably this wouldn’t have been an ‘A’ grade movie at all.
Why don’t Indian movies capture the woman’s journey with the same mind set? It would be wonderful to watch a movie where female characters have the same number of highs as lows in their lives. In Indian cinema a woman’s life is always surrounded by her marriage or her family. Bollywood has always portrayed itself as liberal but then with Sanju we can see their double standards.