He has been accused of it numerous times but Sanju director Rajkumar Hirani had steadily denied that he tried to create any sympathy for Sanjat Dutt through the film. He always insisted that he stuck to facts. He said that he was just filming it based on what Sanjay revealed about his controversial life.
However, now the truth is out. Rajkumar Hirani recently admitted that he made a conscious effort to garner sympathy for the formerly troubled actor. He also says that the film was changed and re-shot in portions to create a sympathy wave for Sanjay Dutt. The director made this startling revelation as he was in conversation with writer Anjum Rajabali at Indian Film and TV Directors Association’s (IFTDA) special masterclass on Wednesday. He said he had shot for additional portions for Sanju starring Ranbir Kapoor to create empathy for the actor after people “hated” him in test screenings.
Hirani said the initial edit featured the actor’s story as it was and thus was not liked by people. “During the shoot I felt ‘What am I doing, I’m going wrong.’ In fact, when the first edit was ready and we screened for people, they hated him. They said we don’t like this man, we don’t want to watch him,” he said. “Because I wanted to do a true story, I didn’t create any empathy towards him. I said let’s not create empathy and show (him) as he is. But later I understood that he is our hero, we need some empathy for him,” the director told PTI.
Hirani said he had to add a certain scene in Sanju to create empathy for its lead character, which was not there earlier. “The scene where he tries to kill himself after the verdict is out; which he had mentioned to me but we didn’t put in the film, I shot it later. It was not in the original script. I thought through this some empathy will come... The initial test reactions were like ‘naah we don’t like this guy...’ Every film is a journey. Some things work and some don’t. I still see flaws in the film but you try your best and hope your best is good enough.”