Sanju – Movie Review

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Sanju is doing excellent business at the box office. But it has been accused of white washing Sanjay Dutt’s crimes & not being an authentic biopic. Is it true? Read our review to find out!

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Anushka Sharma, Vicky Kaushal Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Boman Irani
Genre: Biopic, Drama
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Producers: Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani
Written By: Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani
Running Time: 161 mins


The movie starts off a few days before the TADA judgement. Sanjay Dutt(Ranbir Kapoor) – the hindi film superstar is pronounced guilty & is sentenced to 6 years in jail. His wife – Manyata Dutt(Dia Mirza) asks him to meet Winnie Diaz a noted biographer. She initially refuses to write his biopic owing to him being a terrorist, but thanks to their interaction agrees to take it up. The first half deals with Sanju’s drug habit & his battle to get over it. It briefly touches upon his equation with his celebrity mother during her last few days fighting cancer, his fear of his controlling, strict father – Sunil Dutt(Paresh Rawal), his fiancee – Ruby(Sonam Kapoor) & how he became friends with Kamli(Vicky Kaushal). In the second half the movie then moves on to his most defining moment – his TADA case.The second half also deals with the rough patch his career hit in between & its subsequent resurrection thanks to the Munnabhai franchise. The movies ends with a tearful reunion with an estranged friend & putting the blame squarely on the media for tarnishing his image.


Abhijat Joshi, who is director Rajkumar Hirani’s frequent collaborator is the writer of the film. His previous work with Hirani has lead to magical results on screen & at the box office & he doesn’t disappoint this time around either. While the first 10-15 mins are a bit slow, there is no looking back once the story gathers steam. Paresh Rawal is good as Sunil Dutt. He doesn’t try too hard. Vicky Kaushal too is good as Sanju’s best friend – Kamli. But his role frankly doesn’t offer him too much scope. His work in movies like Raazi, Masaan etc is way better. The ladies – Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor & Dia Mirza have roles with no depth. They have been cast just for their glamour quotient or resemblance to certain people. In fact it is Manisha Koirala as Nargis, who manages to make an impact.

Ranbir Kapoor is a gifted actor. He was known for his unconventional movie choices. While they worked wonders for him initially, it backfired later on. But no one has doubted his acting talent. He delivers a fine performance in this one. Sanju is a Ranbir Kapoor film all the way. His resemblance to the real Sanju is uncanny. He hard work is adopting Sanjay Dutt’s mannerisms shows on screen. Thankfully he doesn’t end up mimicking him. We won’t be surprised if he wins several awards for this performance. But the real hero of the movie is the director – Rajkumar Hirani. The movie wouldn’t have been half as good had it been helmed by anyone else. While Ranbir is winning accolades, it is Rajkumar Hirani who is the true genius. Be it scripting, editing, directing Rajkumar aces it & proves that his previous successes were no fluke. Hirani could have made the movie with another actor, but Sanju wouldn’t have been half as good without Rajkumar Hirani helming it.

Many are accusing Sanju of being an attempt to white wash Sanjay Dutt’s heinous crimes, namely his terrorism charges & association with gangsters. The movie portrays that Sanjay Dutt just wanted to keep the guns for safety, owing to threats to his father’s & sisters lives. But unluckily for him he bought the guns from the very people who were involved in the 1993 bomb blasts. As for his association with the underworld he reasons that he met & spoke to gangsters owing solely to fear. While a lot of people are sceptical, we too do not believe in the movie’s narrative. Very few people can say no to a Dawood Ibrahim or any other gangster’s “request” to meet them or attend a function organised by them. Celebrities either have to choose to toe their line or risk getting killed by them. But then as per tapes of phone conversations between Sanjay Dutt & Chota Skeel suggests, they were on very good terms with each other. It doesn’t sound like Sanjay Dutt was scared of the notorious gangster. On the subject of storing arms, we think Sanjay Dutt was stupid, but is definitely no terrorist. But then again why is he speaking to people behind the bomb blasts?

There are no weaknesses in the movie. After all it is a Rajkumar Hirani movie! He is the best in the business. But we were hoping to see more about his dalliances with famous actresses, which did not happen. There is no mention of his daughter, who is settled in the US either.

Do watch this movie. Do not miss it. Watch for Ranbir Kapoor & mainly because it is a Rajkumar Hirani film.

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)


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