Granted, it’s always difficult to make a biopic about someone who still is very much in the public arena; and while ‘Sanju’ ticks off a lot of boxes, it falters at a fair few as well. Much as its protagonist’s story.
The movie is a mix of good, bad, and ugly. Both in respect to Sanjay Dutt’s life and the narration. The movie tries to give in a very one-sided view of the actual story of Sanjay Dutt, but maybe Hirani thought that we’ve gotten enough from the other side (‘the press’)- which he attacks from a couple of fronts in the movie. It’s just a bit ironic that in the age that every other news is being branded as ‘Fake News’, in here, they have put in a symbol in the form of a ‘question mark’ (quite literally) to brand most that had been sprouted by the media as lies. But that’s the creative freedom which we need to give the story-teller, and even if you aren’t completely ecstatic about this, you can respect that.
But there were a couple of things that massively exasperated me in the film. The first being the use of stereotypes, time and again. The scene with the Parsi family kept stretching on and the whole Gujju thing has been done on-screen for countless times already, man, you really cannot add anything on the subject at this point in time. And for the second- the use of ‘Kamli’ in the film, at times comes out to be taking the easy route, used for nothing but a prop to propel the story forward.
Personally, I would have liked this story presented as more of a grey macabre than a black-and-white mural, a show with some added nuance, a hint of secrecy, and some unanswered questions. The best thing about it is the performance of Ranbir Kapoor, who does his reputation of being the finest Indian actor of this generation no harm- his performance is nothing short of brilliant, Paresh Raval, who made us want a movie about Sunil Dutt’s life, and a mention has to go to Vicky Kaushal’s portrayal of the slapstick comedy dude, ‘Kamli’.
It was a decent movie, but it’s for the masses and the box results of ~300 Cr. speaks plenty of the chord it has stuck with them. I just wish it had prodded and poked a bit more.