Sanju movie review: Hardly a biopic
Why this Ranbir Kapoor starrer fails to impress in spite of best intentions.
Sanju is Bollywood's most controversial star Sanjay Dutt's journey. It traces his life from his debut film to his drug addiction days, him being labelled as a terrorist to finally getting his name cleared. And yes, they forgot the first daughter, Trishala, and his two other wives.
The film had all the right ingredients - the winning combination of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Raju Hirani and co-writer Abhijat Joshi, who entertained us with films like '3 Idiots', 'PK' and 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai', a brilliant actor in Ranbir Kapoor, an ensemble cast - but something is still missing.
Many had reservations about the film being sympathetic in portraying Sanjay's life, and it does fall into the trap. In the first five-minute conversation of Sanjay Dutt with his wife we are introduced to the thought that his life has been wrongly reported in the media. Now, he seeks an author to write his biography.
Enters a dolled up Anushka Sharma with her blue eyes, big wig and a sprinkling of accented words. She is dressed up in her best even while visiting him in the jail and sheds a tear or two while listening to his saga.
Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt adapts the star's mannerisms, voice and body language but comes across confused in a few scenes. You might even forget that he is an actor playing the role of Sanjay in a few scenes - which is a win for him as an actor.
Paresh Rawal ably portrays the role of his father but seems like the makers might have taken some liberties in portraying this bond honestly. There might have been some friction, heated moments in their relationship which we don't get to see.
While Sanjay repeatedly fails in his life, his father stands by him like a rock but there aren't any stand-out scenes that we took home with us. In fact, a speech in the film that is meant to be a closure for the troubled father-son relationship fails to connect. Ditto with few other dialogues in the film - they are lazy to the point where actors like Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal deliver them without much conviction.
Vicky Kaushal shares most of the screen time with Ranbir Kapoor in the film. We are introduced to a stranger in the States, who goes on to become his best friend. He makes regular appearances in his life, mirroring the wrong doings and tries to correct him. But he shamelessly plays to the Gujarati stereotypes of saying 'snakes' instead of 'snacks' and 'sex-speare' for 'Shakespeare'.
The film repeatedly engages in media bashing till the last song, 'Ab Bas Ho Gaya' where Sanjay Dutt makes an appearance himself. Sure, while few sections of the media do engage in spicy gossips, that can't be the central theme of a mainstream Bollywood film. After all, he isn't a villain only because of media.
Overall, Sanju comes across as a patronising film and the team happily skips the portions they don't want us to peep into.
Raju Hirani is a fantastic storyteller but leaves us half-hearted with this one.
The movie Sanju can be labelled as a ?reconstruction of some Sanjay Dutt's life events' but surely not a biopic.
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Dia Mirza, Jim Sarbh, Manisha Koirala, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, Boman Irani
Showing in theatres near you.