Sanju: A Must Watch

Honesty in the narrative, excellence in performances and delivery of emotions in the best way make this film a memorable watch. One would surely feel sorry for Sanju Baba for the way life had treated him for years

Sanjay V Shah

Living life of Sanju means Sanjay Dutt is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. So is bringing it to life on the silver screen. Rajkumar Hirani, probably India’s best Hindi filmmaker today, along with Ranbir Kapoor and Abhijat Joshi, the trusted and equally imaginative cowriter of Hirani for years, does justice to this task with élan. Watching Sanju is surely not like watching just another Hindi movie. At the same time, it may not be as great a movie as 3 Idiots or that of Munnabhai series but, Sanju certainly leaves you speechless, emotional, happy and thinking, all at once. What a depiction of the life of a man who is still around us, to whom we know as an actor but failed to know as a human being! 
Sanju begins with a day in Sanjay Dutt’s (Ranbir Kapoor) life after marrying Manyata (Dia Mirza), pursuing relatively easier days and with his quest to find out a suitable writer who could do justice to his life by writing an autobiography. As he meets Wini (Anushka Sharma) who has doubts about Sanju’s readiness to share truth, he assures her he would bare it all. She asks couple of questions that leads the man into his past. The past when his best friend Zubin (Jim Sarbh) drives him into the world of drugs and when his father Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal) looks forward for a successful beginning for the son’s career as a hero with Rocky. 
It’s late 1970s and early 1980s when Rocky, Sanjay Dutt’s debut movie directed by his father, was in making and eventually hit the big screen. Sanju is in love with one Ruby (Sonam Kapoor) but fails to marry her after getting into drugs. Soon, Sanju becomes a hardcore drug addict, which starts taking toll of his career as well as personal life. 
During his visit to the USA for treatment of his mother Nargis (Manisha Koirala), he meets Kamlesh Kapasi (Vicky Kaushal), who would become his friend for life. Kamlesh, along with Sunil Dutt, does his best to bring normalcy to his life. This happens only after Nargis dies and several months at a rehab centre. But then, the most unfortunate serial bomb blasts shake Mumbai, in 1993. Sanju, fearing threat on the senior Dutt’s life, gets hold of an AK-56. Soon, news spread in media and Sanju goes behind bars the moment he lands in India from Mauritius. And then, charges of terrorism, rumour of cops finding a truckload of RDX from his house and other incidents follow. Sanju’s life becomes a roller-coaster ride. Facing law, losing father, living under threats and most importantly, finding himself completely at the receiving end due to media’s portrayal of him as an anti-national figure, nothing goes right for the man, adjudged as a wrong man by one and all…
Sanju has certain honesty, integrity and clarity in the storytelling. Like all Hirani films, it has gripping moments from the word go. Without being opiniated, it tries its best to remain true to incidents as they may had happened, including unashamed confessions of the man: That he had tried almost all drugs available in the market, that he had slept with hundreds of girls, that his acts ruined his career more than once and that, he proved to be a very bad son of a very noble father. Emotions run high in so many scenes in the film that most viewers are going to have teary eyes at least once. 
Another best part of this memorable film is performances by almost all the actors. Ranbir Kapoor enlivens Sanju Baba as is he is his alter ego. With exact mannerisms and dialogue delivery, Ranbir manages to bring Dutt to life. He is so effective as Sanju that within few frames, we forget that he is not the real Sanju. This film should renew his career with another important innings, starting with Sanju. Paresh Rawal as the senior Dutt is as real as it could get. Vicky Kaushal as Sanju’s US based Gujarati buddy Kamlesh steals hearts. He is remarkable in many scenes, but the best is when he discusses Sanju’s life with Sunil Dutt after downing couple of pegs. Anushka Sharma as Sanju’s biographer Wini leaves an impact. So does Manisha Koirala as Nargis Dutt. Sonam Kapoor as Ruby, Boman Irani as Ruby’s father, Dia Mirza as Sanju’s wife Manyata are flawless. Even Sayaji Shinde and others who come and go within one or two scenes add value to the narration. 
Sanju on technical fronts is mostly a usual affair. Cinematography S. Ravi Varman and art by Prajakta Ghag fulfil need of the narrative. Music by Rohan-Rohan and Sanjay Wandrekar is average, but songs like Main Badhiya, Kar Har Maidan Fateh and Sanju Baba in the climax create some impact mainly because they go with the flow.
But Sanju is certainly not the best work of Hirani. It has its own limitations. Even after a runtime of two hours and 40 minutes, it lets many aspects of Sanju’s life untouched and unexplained. That, however, should not be a constraint or a reason to ignore Sanju. For, you seldom get an opportunity to enjoy a film so well-made, so clear in its intention and so perfectly put together by actors and technicians. Being Indians, we love emotions like anything and Sanju’s emotional quotient is super high and right in all sense. 
In the end, one must feel sorry for Sanju, even if not so that he was completely clean and faultless. Sanju brings to us an overview of life we hated so much, loved so much and yet, know so less till date. 
Go, watch it today!