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July 4, 2018

A look at the controversial life of Sanjay Dutt


July 4, 2018

Long-awaited director-screenwriter Rajkumar Hirani and producer Vidha Vinod Chopra's Sanju came out on Friday June 29. The film is now playing here nationwide.

We have seen few biopics, even fewer good biopics and just a handful on contemporaries (The Queen, Iron Lady).

Sanju brings Sanjay Dutt, his parents Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt on screen with a nostalgic look, down-the-memory lane feeling since both Nargis and Sunil Dutt are no longer with us anymore. The plot takes care of Sanjay Dutt six parts-his initial career, stardom, demise of Nargis (and later Sunil), failed relationships, drug addiction, gun saga and imprisonment. The screen adventure is seen starting from film Rocky. Demise of Nargis and Mumbai blast show Sanjay not as a criminal (though media munched on his underworld connections) but as a victim and this is hammered all through the second half of film where the whole thing comes close to looking like a PR exercise. He takes up drugs to attract girls (on selfless friendly advice from his loyal and dedicated school friends). Nargis had earlier warned him through his sister to stay away from cocaine, heroin and bod boys but would he! His addiction to drugs in school became so known that his sister was called "Charsi ki behan". Later, he went on with the addiction and producers provided him with the stuff on the film sets to avoid production delays.

All during the film, Sanjay admits that he took drugs through medicines, needles and smoking. When he visits his ailing mother in New York, he is not even allowed to donate blood due to his drug consumption. The doctors later told his father that only rich (and heavy) Indian food finally saved him from the dead end. I still do not find the connection. His breakup with girlfriends and family disconnection brings him into AK 56 rifles as well and ending up in prison.

Credit for ‘Sanju’ must go to where it belongs: director-writer Rajkumar Hirani, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra, leading actor, Ranbir Kapoor, and two supporting players, Manisha Koirala as Sanjay's mother Nargis and Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt (all at their best). Makeup, wardrobe, hairdressing and production design for recreating period details are excellent. Music has no contributing factor. The composers and playback singers should not have been there at the first place. According to Ranbir Kapoor, the drug phase in the film was most difficult to recreate without exaggerating and being subtle. The tag line on movies posters "One Man many lives" also reminds us of Chinese saying (curse) "May you live in interesting times". Screen icon Nargis who won fame in the fifties (Andaaz, Awara, Chori Chori, Mother India) was a dedicated mother and she invented ‘Sanju’ for Sanjay. She kept Sanjay away from the fact that she was terminally ill with cancer. Even on her deathbed in New York, she pleaded Sunil Dutt to take good care of Sanjay. In 2019, many awards are expected to be grabbed by

this biopic but Sanjay Dutt oblivious of awards does not care about it "Awards are the love and admiration from film goers." However, he did cry after the special screening of the film.

The film bowed in 4000 and 1300 screens in India and overseas respectively. It minted 35 crore on the biggest opening and brought 3.2 crore on the first day in Pakistan.

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Script: Rajkumar Hirani-Abhijat Joshi

Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt

Paresh Rawal: as Sunil Dutt

Manisha Koirala: as Nargis Dutt

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