Director – Raj Kumar Hirani
Cast – Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal, Dia Mirza
Sanju explores some of the most crucial chapters from movie star Sanjay Dutt’s dramatic and controversial real life. It gives a lowdown on his tryst with drugs and his trials and tribulations in the Arms Acts case and the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
The first 90 minutes of Sanju, however, belong to the heart-warming bromance between Ranbir as Dutt, and Vicky Kaushal, as his friend from the US, Kamli. It is through their friendship, and Dutt’s relationship with his father, that the plot of Sanju unfurls.
Sanju presents the intimate details of Sanjay Dutt’s life in a typically Hirani style.
There’s an emotional message in every potential scene; the film doesn’t attempt to decode Sanjay Dutt or justify his life. Neither does it try to whitewash his flaws. Credit to Hirani for not painting Dutt with larger than life strokes. But there is a Bollywood-ish tinge to every scene.
Through his first shot in his debut film, and the songs he sings with his girlfriend Ruby (Sonam Kapoor); through his fight with drugs and his stint in the US, where he spends his last few moments with mother Nargis; through his moments of friendship with a real friend (Vicky Kaushal) or a fake friend who gets him hooked onto drugs (Zubin Mistry, played by the wonderful Jim Sarbh) — Sanju is a Bollywood-ised account of Sanju Dutt’s life. It’s dramatic, calculatingly exciting and yet, cinematic.
Sanju‘s biggest accomplishment are undoubtedly its performances. There are genuinely some shots where you won’t be able to tell you’re looking at Ranbir Kapoor, and not Sanjay Dutt. Vicky Kaushal shines, holding his own in the fun moments as well as serious scenes.
Thanks to Ranbir’s nuanced performance, you stay with the movie.
The director has tried to bind the screenplay with songs but instead of adding intensity to the film, they break the flow. On the topic of intensity, Sanju seems like two different films from the perspectives of Hirani and Ranbir. While Hirani’s Sanju is about the paradoxical life of a star, Ranbir’s is much more deep and complex.