Sanju helmed by Rajkumar Hirani takes you on a whirlwind, engaging journey into the topsy turvy life of Sanjay Dutt which is taken several notches higher by the impeccable act of Ranbir Kapoor and its ensemble cast especially Vicky Kaushal. When one of the most intelligent film maker of today's times i.e. Hirani decided to make biopic on Sanju Baba (as Dutt is fondly known as) , it was bound to create ripples as Dutt's tryst with controversies is well known. Many were skeptical that the movie might be a P.R. exercise for Sanjay comparing it with the biopic made on Mohd. Azharuddin which tanked at the box office. But, all those speculations have been laid to rest after release of Sanju. Hirani had decided to make this movie after listening to Sanjay Dutt's side of story and that empathy is visible throughout the movie. Though, Hirani has taken liberties with certain true events of Sanjay's life to enhance the emotional quotient of the film but he has nowhere tried to project him as a Hero and that is what makes this biopic different, engaging when compared to movies of same genre giving it an authentic look. With Sanju, Hirani has offered a perfect blend of humor, emotions and entertainment in his own indomitable style.
The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by RajKumar Hirani along with Abhijat Joshi. Together, both of them have woven a bit fictionalized but compelling storyline around real life story of Sanjay Dutt, who started experimenting with drugs even before his first film 'Rocky' hit theaters and almost a decade later faced trials and tribulations in the Arms act case relating to 1993 blasts. Though, there is so much to offer in Sanjay Dutt's life story yet Hirani has focused on two major parts ; his addiction to drugs and how he overcame it and secondly his tryst with other side of the law. Sanjay was once branded as a terrorist and put behind bars under TADA act. He fought a long legal battle and the film goes on to establish that he wasn't a terrorist and was only convicted under the arms act for which he has duly served the prison term. Hirani has scored brownie points by showing the humane side of Sanjay and his relationship with his father (played by Paresh Rawal) and his best friend Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi "Kamli" (Played brilliantly by Vicky Kaushal). There has been so much in Sanjay's life ranging from his drug abuse, rehabs, womanizing, death of his mother, visiting strip clubs, wobbly stardom, tryst with law, links with underworld, prison term, death of his first wife, divorce with second wife that can't be shown in run time of 160 minutes. Presenting a biopic on a man with so many tribulations is no mean feat, so Hirani has meticulously woven a tale showing young Sanju as a guy who weighed down by the legacy of his parents foolishly fell into the trap of drugs. And, almost a decade later Sanju's love for his father and his family coupled with his insecurity to protect them led him to his worst decision of keeping illegal arms at home. While, many would mock at Sanjay for throwing away his life despite being born with a silver spoon to celebrity parents, Hirani emphatically looks at the insecure and vulnerable characteristics of Sanjay. It is only Hirani's craftily writing and skillful direction that not only makes you invested in the film but also makes you believe how some of Sanjay's foolish decisions wrecked his life. Watch out for the scene where Vicky Kaushal confronts Paresh Rawal and tells him that Sanjay might die before Nargis Dutt buoyed by the pressure of his legacy. He pleads with him to be friends with Sanjay and tell it's ok to be ordinary, it's ok be just Sanju. This scene not only tugs at your heartstrings but also sums up the basic tenor of the film.
Ranbir Kapoor has simply nailed it as Sanjay Dutt in the movie. Ranbir is bang on in emaluating the persona of Sanju be it his mannerisms, body language or tread. It is very difficult to portray a living actor but Ranbir has done it with so much of effortless ease that it is commendable. To his credit, Ranbir has portrayed the character so diligently that after some time you fell like that you are watching Sanjay Dutt on screen and not Ranbir. He has truly delivered an award winning performance.
The surprise package of the movie has turned out to be Vicky Kaushal as Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi "Kamli". As the star struck Gujju friend of Sanju, Vicky has delivered some of the finest scenes in the movie. Vicky has got typical Gujju diction so right that it's hard to believe that he is a Punjabi and not Gujju. When he goes to a strip club with Sanju to the scene where he hears Sanju sing "Tera Jaisa Yaar Kahaan", Vicky is at his best. Mark my words, Vicky Kaushal is a talent to watch out for.
Paresh Rawal excels while portraying Sunil Dutt in the movie. Mind you, it's not a mean task to portray the legendary Dutt Saheb but Paresh does it to perfection with dash of subtlety. His emotional scenes with Sanju might bring tears to your eyes.
Amongst the ensemble cast Manisha Koirala as Nargis Dutt, Dia Mirza as Manyta Dutt, Anushka Sharma as biographer, Sonam Kapoor as Ruby and Jim Sarbh have given praiseworthy performances.
The musical soundtrack of the movie is a disappointment with just one song "Kar Har Maidaan Fateh" sung by Sukhwinder Singh being an exception. The background score has been composed by Sanjay Wandrekar along with Atul Raninga which enhances the visual proceedings on-screen. The cinematographer of the movie is S Ravi Varman who has done a swell job at capturing the visuals. The movie has been edited by RajKumar Hirani who has kept the runtime to 160 minutes. His editing is crisp with no dull moment appearing on screen throughout the movie. As a director, RajKumar Hirani has hit Bulls eye once again. Though, Sanju might not be in league with his previous films yet Hirani has done full justice to this biopic. Hirani once again reaffirms the tag of being a master storyteller that has been bestowed upon him. He has skillfully explored the dark sides of Sanjay Dutt's life leaving the razzmatazz behind so much so that he shown glimpses of only two of his movie's namely Rocky & Munnabhai. It is Hirani who with his able direction has presented the dark chapters of Sanjay's life into a tale filled with optimism, grit and humor.
Sanju is one of the finest biopics that perfectly blends emotions, humor, drama in a riveting manner making it an engrossing entertainer. Whether you a are a fan of Sanjay Dutt or not, this movie won't disappoint you.
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