Filmfare Middle East rating:
Directed by Rajkumar Hirani
Produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani
Written by Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi
Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Manisha Koirala, Anushka Sharma, Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Jim Sarabh
Raw, vulnerable, unmasked yet extremely endearing and funny – Sanju is Ranbir Kapoor’s best till date! Manju Ramanan
Sanju exposes the character of ‘the deadly Dutt’ in his raw, vulnerable, unmasked, immature, impulsive, excessively indulgent yet extremely generous, warm, loving and flirtatious avatar.
A man who is ruled by his heart and its passions rather than his mind. A near biographical story played out with humour as its over-riding essence. The story omits quite a few aspects of Sanjay Dutt’s life focussing on a few – losing his mom- the legendary actress Nargis Dutt, his battle with drugs and his father Sunil Dutt helping him out of it, his involvement with the underworld, his jail term and his return to films.
Ranbir Kapoor makes a thunderous comeback into his kind of cinema with this film. Daring to be vulnerable, embodying Sanjay Dutt’s mannerisms, his swag, voice, style and demeanor – Ranbir becomes Dutt. Sanju is created through an oral narrative of some of his closest people. Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt , who, as his anchor and rock solid support makes you cry in some of the film’s most poignant scenes. Vicky Kaushal stuns with his performance as Kamlesh, Sanju’s Gujju close friend Paresh Ghelani, Dia Mirza, as the quiet and supporting Maanyata Dutt, makes an impact and so does the blue-lens- eyed Anushka Sharma – who is the ‘spirit character in the film’ as she has instagrammed recently. Jim Sarab as the drug peddler turned builder friend who lisps, takes over part of the narration.
Some Hirani regular elements – hospital scenes, radio broadcasts etc played with as part of a brilliant script by Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani. Manisha Koirala plays the doting mother Nargis Dutt who is shown to be a brilliant actress off screen as well. The film’s highlight Kar Har Maidan Fateh filmed on her and Ranbir encapsulates the film in a nutshell.
During the press conference of PK, fresh from the Birdman premiere at DIFF in 2014, I asked Rajkumar Hirani why his characters, though flawed were always presented with a heart of gold and never in shades of grey. Vidhu Vinod Chopra answered the question on his behalf saying that, it is the way Hirani looks at life and the reason his characters are all shown to court good over evil. The endearing Sanju explores the darker side of Sanjay Dutt’s life yet keeps him in the Hirani world. It is a hatke Hirani film in that sense.
The media bashing song concludes the film – is an interesting element as well.
The three ustads in the films will be your take away from Sanju.
A film to watch several times!