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SANJU - A purposefully made, mediocre film that literally gets saved by Vicky Kaushal and Paresh Rawal along Ranbir Kapoor. (Review By Bobby Sing)

29 Jun, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / S

The fact that Ranbir had put in an outstanding effort in his amazingly similar portrayal playing Sanjay Dutt on screen got easily proved by the promos itself before the much awaited release. Hence that wasn’t the only exciting feature of SANJU for me to be honest.
What I was actually eager to see in the film was that:
How a director known for his light hearted, message oriented movies conceives a bio-pic on probably the most controversial actor of Hindi cinema with a dark, scary history?

How he manages to cover his so happening life in just three hours?

How much he reveals about his various chapters of life including drugs, sex, affairs, family, wives, kids, films, underworld and the so serious charges of terrorism?
Is it just another deliberate attempt to clear and create a strong positive image of the STAR in front of the new generation or public, similar to the previously attempted AZHAR back in 2016? and

Whether Ranbir had to offer much more than just a perfect mimicry act as seen in the film’s impressive promos?
Unfortunately I didn’t find much of the content I was looking for in the carefully directed attempt and SANJU too turned out to be just another ‘Image making PR activity’ approved by the man himself, but at least far better in execution and performances in comparison to AZHAR.
Beginning with the answers to the questions mentioned above, Hirani right away begins his film with a supposedly funny but silly kind of sequence (insulting an author) bringing the humour in and then continues doing the same at regular intervals just to maintain the light hearted feel (he is known for)….. even in the damn serious sequences of Nargis suffering from Cancer. And that honestly appeared to me as knowingly meddling with the personal tragic story of the family just to maintain the entertainment value of a project for the obvious reasons.
Frankly you cannot go an adding comic touches just anywhere and everywhere ruining the basic essence of the story and that too when it’s a bio-pic talking about real people, their lives and their unexpected family tragedy.
Secondly, focusing entirely on Sanju’s drug addiction days in the first half, Hirani talks about one of his early affairs but completely avoids mentioning his first and second marriage, the first wife’s death and their daughter, who is now a grown up lady living abroad. So the supposedly bio-pic straight away begins from Sanju living with Manyata, his third wife and two kids, conveniently skipping the chapter of his first two marriages for reasons better known to the writer-director or Sanjay himself (as he might have not approved it).
Thirdly, post making a good mention of his first film ROCKY, Hirani again skips talking about Sanjay’s later film career, the major films done, the big hits, the famous intense affairs with his co-stars and other filmy references of even his most important film VAASTAV (that only gets remembered with the cameo of Mahesh Manjrekar in another funny scene).
However, despite missing everything mentioned above, the first half still keeps you engaged mainly due to the performances and entertaining interactions as always there in a typical Hirani film. The friendship between Ranbir and Vicky Kaushal keeps you glued to the seat and surprisingly its Vicky who truly excels in their sequences together making the best use of the opportunity given.
Post intermission, the narration entirely moves towards Sanju’s grave mistake made during the Bombay bomb blasts, his sudden arrest, the continuing court cases, jail terms served and the humiliation faced by the family in the years ahead. The heart-touching, unbreakable bond between the father and his immature, indecisive son takes the center-stage bringing in many emotionally moving moments and Paresh Rawal unexpectedly turns out to be the lovable winner in this particular section of the film enacting Sunil Dutt.
But at the same time, you also get to see a clear, purposeful attempt of building a positive image of the protagonist in this final hour of the film as earlier seen in AZHAR. Sanju reveals his side of the story with due explanations and justifications as the jail’s radio jockey and the viewer accepts him to be an unfortunate victim of the circumstances having no evil intentions. So the purpose of making SANJU gets solved right there when the people start sympathizing with him along Vicky and Anushka listening to the radio broadcast. And then the film ends missing the expected high or crescendo with another item song featuring both Ranbir and Sanjay together.
SANJU undoubtedly works due to its three lead performances (on the cost of ignoring everyone else) and also in its inspiring reference of old Hindi films songs and their iconic lyricists (informing the youngsters). So you have an extraordinary lead act by Ranbir Kapoor, which is thankfully not just an exceptional mimicry act enacting his senior in the field. Ranbir plays Sanjay Dutt following his famous body language and mannerisms, but keeps the Ranbir intact in it too, once again proving his gifted legacy and talent. 
The second charismatic performance in the film is of Vicky Kaushal, who successfully manages to outshine both Ranbir and Paresh Rawal at times coming up with probably the finest act of his career till date. SANJU actually becomes worth watching due to this underrated youngster to be fair, besides Ranbir Kapoor. 
Rejected by almost everyone as a wrong choice to play Sunil Dutt on screen, Paresh Rawal does take time to sink in as Sanju’s legendary father, but then slowly makes an impact towards the intermission. Post interval he truly comes in form, becoming the third strong pillar of SANJU, majorly contributing in its overall impact (though his repeatedly saying 'Puttar' was quite teasing).
Regarding the supporting cast, this is probably the first film of Raj Kumar Hirani, where you don’t see supporting actors shining bright in their small roles. For instance neither Diya Mirza, Boman Irani, Sonam Kapoor, Sayaji Shinde nor Anushka Sharma are able to make any kind of instant connection in their brief acts. Both Piyush Mishra and Prakash Belawadi remain wasted, whereas Manisha Koirala as Nargis, keeps trying her level best in the few given scenes. On the other hand, Jim Sarbh once again grabs your attention in his different appearances in the film as the drug peddler.
Featuring multiple composers in the music department, a few songs do set the mood in, but we once again do not get something to take back home with an urge to hear it again. Both Cinematography and Background score certainly add a lot to the emotional story progression, but the visual description of drug addiction on screen remains questionable raising many valid doubts.
Sharing my personal opinion, renowned and responsible filmmakers should not portray 'drug addiction' sequences in their films with pleasant colourful graphics, flowers and more in an inviting manner. Such sequences should ideally be shown with scary, dark and ugly kind of depiction on screen that should not be inviting or influential for the young minds in particular..... in any manner. 
The grave mistake was earlier seen this year in Saif Ali Khan's KAALAKAANDI and it now sadly gets repeated in SANJU, with Censor Board making no objection of any kind, where they ideally should.
Summing it all, SANJU is not any great bio-pic as projected, but a film made on selected chapters of Sanjay Dutt’s life, leaving out many important ones, including his two marriages, a daughter and later on also strangely forgetting his supporting sisters. The film also doesn’t get involved in any detailed references of his friendly relationships with the underworld dons as reported and makes just a fleeting mention of it all in a couple of minutes in a carefully hushed up manner. In reality it’s an emotional story of two friends and the unexpressed loving bond between a father and his son more than anything else. 
SANJU is also not any great bio-pic of an established star-son actor of Hindi Cinema. Because if you are not interested in talking about or even mentioning all the major blockbusters of his career (only featuring your self-directed films like Munna Bhai) then it logically cannot be called a bio-pic of a renowned Hindi film actor, made with a biased outlook. 
Beginning with a disclaimer, it still remains an ‘image-making exercise’ for Sanjay Dutt made in a light-hearted manner, whereas the real-life story happens to be all dark, scary and disheartening with many emotional twists and turns. Keeping the actor’s public image in mind, Hirani intentionally conceives it in a light comic manner (forcibly cursing the media for every mess in his life) with some impressive emotional peaks that actually restricts the film to go deep into the life or psyche of the real Sanjay Dutt
That is the reason at times it all looks like caricatures emoting on screen instead of seriously tensed real life characters fighting with a situation. 
Putting it differently, effortless humour has always been a key feature of Hirani's films witnessed in the past. But here in SANJU, the humour is all intentional kept at regular places in the script, in order to make it entertaining throughout. Sadly the effort clearly remains visible and repeatedly gets caught, unlike Hirani’s earlier gems.
Signing off, I was personally expecting Sanjay Dutt to come on screen in the end addressing the youngsters, requesting them to SAY NO TO DRUGS with folded hands, giving the example of his own life, as seen in the film.
The actor did come in the end……….. but he came for an item number instead dancing with Ranbir.
And that should say it all to the gifted thinking minds.
Rating : 2.5 / 5 (including 0.5 for the splendid valuable support of Vicky Kaushal)
Important After-notes
Note 1: As a young film-enthusiast (born in 90s or post 90s), even if you don’t know about the legend Sunil Dutt, the film tells a lot about him and his social persona. But if you do some research giving your valuable time, you will realize how we are completely confused about our icons or real heroes too in the present media-guided era taking us in the wrong directions……. since it was SUNIL DUTT who actually deserved a detailed, eye-opener bio-pic and not Sanjay……. Sad, disappointing but true!
Note 2: For a moment just assume, the infamous case of SANJU happening with a young, similarly innocent, unaware boy in PUNJAB in the late 80s or early 90s. Just assume it for a while, giving yourself an honest answer keepin in mind the terms such as 'Mistake', 'Forgive', 'Victim' ,the film cleverly plants in your mind throught its effective, emotional sequences.  
(Friends born in or post the 90s, can easily google the #Punjab scenario then in that particular time period.)
Note 2 : Following the same old exploitive practice, the ticket prices were yet again raised by the multiplexes for SANJU too and therefore a big one gets deducted for the ratings as BTC’s revolt against the same raising a lone voice. 

So the net ratings of the film is : 1.5 / 5

Tags : Sanju Movie Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Raj Kumar Hirani Sanju, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing
29 Jun 2018 / Comment ( 2 )
Vikas Saitya

Dear Bobby,
This movie is fixed, first we have matches fixed but now a days movie fixing on the rise. Well it really a concern a person of Raju Hirani caliber  is involved in this shameful act in this tasteless,weird mess. One thing which i felt after watching a movie, Sanjay Dutt may be mere criminal before watching the movie but now i'm it appears  he is a Terrorist. Best Regards Vikas Saitya  

Bobby Sing

Dear Vikas,
"This movie is fixed" - this is really a perfect phrase to describe the film. And yes I was really not expecting this kind of move from Raj Kumar Hirani.
In fact, this might be the first step of Sanjay Dutt starting his political journey following his father. May be he is thinking of a career in there and this was specifically made for that.

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