Sanju: A Look Back at Ranbir Kapoor and Raju Hirani’s Film on Sanjay Dutt, One Year On
Sanju was released one year ago and here’s a look back at Ranbir Kapoor’s film on the life and times of Sanjay Dutt and what the film’s legacy has been
Sanju was released in 2018 and was directed by Rajkumar Hirani and written by Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. It was jointly produced by Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The film follows the life of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, and the trials and tribulations he has had to face during his life time. Ranbir Kapoor stars as Dutt. Sanju is considered to be one of the best films of modern era.
To celebrate reaching the one year mark, Vicky Kaushal posted a sweet message on his social media, Instagram account. He captioned the post: "1 year. The first time I heard people calling me by the name of my character. Thank you for all the love! It means a lot to me, #Sanju."
The central theme of the movie revolves around the Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt. The film deals with the issues he has had with drug addiction, his arrest for the alleged association with the 1993 Bombay bombings, his relationship with his father, and his eventual comeback in the industry, the subsequent drop of charges from Bombay blasts, and his release after completing his jail term.
Apart from Vicky Kaushal and Ranbir Kapoor, the star studded cast of the film also included Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, Manisha Koirala as Nargis, Dia Mirza as Manyata Dutt, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Jim Sarbh.
In the opening scene of Sanju, Sanjay Dutt reads a chapter of his own biography written by a friend. The friend compares him to Mahatma Gandhi in the book. Dutt is doubtful at this comparison because he feels that his friend has made him out to be someone he’s not. When Dutt wants his friend to read out the book, he calls all the domestic helpers in his house. He even addresses one of them as “mausi” and asks her to sit on the couch with him and his wife.
From the first scene itself, the writer Rajkumar Hirani reveals exactly how he wants the audience to perceive Sanjay Dutt: as a very self-aware man, one who produces organic praise from friends, and one who treating those “below” him as equals. That is the pattern the whole film follows. Dutt’s best friend Kamli shows perpetual loyalty to him regardless of what he does. Despite seeing some of his worst behavior, Kamli fights for his friends by going to Ruby, Dutt’s fictional girlfriend to get her to marry him. This shows us that Hirani is telling audiences; Sanjay Dutt was a large-hearted, good man who inspired such devotion.
In Sanju, the antagonist is played by the media at large. Hirani ingeniously exploits public distrust of the media in India by claiming that everything they said, wrote and published about Dutt was mere speculation and claims based on assumptions only to sell copies.
Through Dutt’s recurrent and repeated allegations that the media knows nothing about him, Hirani wants the audience to believe that the entire fourth estate can’t be counted on to be objective. Alternatively, the audience is encouraged to take Dutt’s word on his own crimes and misdemeanors as the only one that is believable and viable.
The film was considered to be one of the best films of the modern era. 'Sanju' was a massive success at the box office as it managed to rake in Rs 341.22 crore at the box office.
Watch Sanju trailer here: