Rajkumar Hirani directorial 'Sanju' is a biographical drama based on the real life of Bollywood's most controversial actor Sanjay Dutt. No doubt the film is one of the bravest attempts to present a point of view no one has ever asked.
Including a stellar cast up-front with Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt, Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, Manisha Koirala as Nargis Dutt, Vicky Kaushal as Paresh Ghelani, Dia Mirza as Manyata Dutt, Sonam Kapoor as Ruby, Jim Sarbh as old friend and Anushka Sharma as the biographer, you are assured of a gripping feature film with everyone's relevant screentime. Moreover, the film does have a lot of cameos as well. We see Mahesh Manjrekar himself during the days of Zinda, we see Arshad Warsi as Circuit, Boman Irani as Sonam Kapoor's Parsi father and Karishma Tanna as Paresh Ghelani's girlfriend. Such a wide ensemble cast comes up together to unwind a story that nobody bothered to seek.
The film majorly revolves around Sanjay Dutt's controversial 1993 Tada Case that also alleged the actor to be involved in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case as well. The film begins with Sanjay Dutt waiting for the Supreme Court verdict and speaking his heart out to the International Biographer Vinnie Diaz played by Anushka Sharma. Hirani clearly opts the tone of this film a bit light-hearted but there are some intense emotional scenes out of Dutt's real-life instances that may just give audience a loud pinch. Unwinding the smooth narration of flashback, the first half takes us back to Sanju's 'Rocky' days and how an alcoholic, drug addict Nomad actor Bollywood ever got. While the depiction hides no demons, Hirani clearly mentions all the sins of Sanju's life and how casual and cliche Sanjay's life went out to be. The first half ends with the perfect point of questioning Dutt as a terrorist raising the curiosity meter and the second half literally ends on mocking down media by pointing out its bad side and unethical reporting. With not giving away much of it lets talk about the performances that will be cherished for so long.
The film embedded three personified compelling relationship in this Dutt's biopic - A 'Father-Son' chemistry, 'Friendship' bond beyond words and a 'Wife' standing tall with her man. Ranbir, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal and Dia Mirza are the four pillars of this constraining feature film and we are mesmerized by these performances as they will remain in our head for a long long time. Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt plays identical to their real-life role and the care, the look-after, and the surreal fatherly feelings have been portrayed with a lot of grace by Hirani; so leniently that audiences actually wonder are they real-life father-son. Their singing jugalbandi as Sunil Ji suggests him classic songs to calm the storms in his life is not to be missed. Friendship plays an important element in films and real life as well. This one too had it and had it shining above all. Vicky Kaushal nailed it with yet another masterstroke delivering his magical acting prowess playing a funny Gujarati guy from the USA with his lame English accent and selfless caring for his friend Sanju. We do see a lot of emotional and funny moments of friendship which lights us up completely. Dia Mirza playing Sanjay Dutt's wife got minimum of dialogues, but her presence and gestures with those serious little stares or the tears dropping down from the eyes are performed magnificently.
Now, What about Ranbir? We don't even need to ask that."Tune toh sixer maar Diya Puttar'' and yes RK, the dialogue got meaning in real-life after leaving us with his career-best performance till date. Ranbir portrayed Sanjay Dutt's phases of life with a lot of versatility and authenticity. Right from his good old days while filming his debut movie Rocky to him serving in Yerwada Jail, to filming for gangster flicks like 'Zinda' and 'Kaante', to his Munna Bhai MBBS. Although the only thing audiences missed was his 'Vaastav' appearance that Hirani missed out completely. The emotional scenes with those high stormy eyes and similar body language were mastered by Ranbir. It is one in a lifetime role that Ranbir slays and plays with the touch of the original 'Sanju Baba'. With special mention of Manisha Koirala as Nargis Dutt who played the late actress with a lot of commitment and covering her shades from late 90's, Manisha smiles in pain and delivers the most impactful role with minimum screen-time.
Though there were very few songs, but their enticing visuals and positive vibes kept it going. Begining with the first song titled 'Main Badhiya, Tu Bhi Badhiya' by Sonu Nigam which is a fun song that has Ranbir as Dutt proving his father wrong that he can lip-sync smoothly. The next song 'Kar Har Maidaan Fateh' showcase Dutt's battle against drugs back from the days in rehab and remembering the words of his mother who always had a smile upon her face. This Sukhwinder Singh track is full of energy and has some picturesque visuals of the United States of America. Surprisingly, the film's end credit scene has Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir Kapoor's rap number and they both are bashing media in this quirky song.
Talking about technicalities, it is a Rajkumar Hirani flick and perfection comes from the name itself. Superb continuity creating late 90's perfectly with those vintage cars and minuscule of details like the old plugs, television sets, opera player, the vintage Dutt look and much more than that, a shout out to the Production design head Shashank Tere. Speaking in an interview, Hirani said that he loves editing more than direction and in this case both aspects derive perfection and finesse at its best. The screenplay was subtle and precise though not compelling unlike the rest of Hirani films which had those multiple watch factors. Persuasive and visually appealing cinematography by S. Ravi Varman that captures some outstanding outdoor sequences. Like any other Hirani movie, this one had a topic to talk upon. It is unethical media reporting that the film takes a strong dig on.
Overall, Sanju is not a multiple time watch film but its a definite watch for the sake of mighty performances that you will surely be blown away with.