Ranbir Kapoor Plays Sanju Better Than Sanju Himself
From Dutt’s characteristic walk to his way of speaking, Ranbir has literally melted into this role.
Sanju Movie Review
Camera Person: Shiv Kumar Maurya
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Producer: Abhishek Ranjan
If you ever wondered why Sanjay Dutt isn’t playing himself in a movie based on his life - watch Sanju! Because if there is one person better than Sanjay Dutt to play “Sanjay Dutt” it is Ranbir Kapoor!
The way he transforms on screen - from the “look” with the hair and make up always perfect to nailing Dutt’s characteristic walk; slouching shoulders and droopy eyes and way of speaking, Ranbir has literally melted into his role.
The evidence offered by its theatrical trailer suggested as much but Ranbir never once lets his impersonation of Sanjay Dutt undermine his unflinching grasp over the character and that makes for a riveting watch.
Dutt’s story is one we are familiar with. The heady highs and abysmal lows have always been analysed under intense media glare. What makes Sanju special is that apart from the humour and heart, there is Hirani and his unique and endearing style of story telling makes us chuckle in one moment and tugs at our heartrings in the very next.
It’s interesting, though the aspects of Dutt’s life writers Abhijat Joshi and Rajkumar Hirani choose to gloss over to keep the focus firmly on how a well-meaning young man lost his way thanks to naivety and circumstances out of his control. For instance, there is no mention of Dutt’s first marriage and his daughter Trishala whom he expressly forbade from joining films. Dutt’s sisters and their very public fall out is also never so much as hinted at.
And if you expect some “chatpata gossip” about his many affairs with the leading ladies of his times then even that is hard to come by. Not a total hagiographic account but the intent is clear – to have us root for Sanju throughout and explain his mistakes as a result of his childlike trustfulness.
The show stealer is Ranbir Kapoor who completely erases the boundary that separates the actor from his character and is ably supported by the supremely talented Vicky Kaushal. As Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi, Kaushal plays Sanju’s loyal friend trying to help him through his messy phase with drugs. Their easy charm and ‘dosti’ is reason enough for cheer.
Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, his father, has a significant presence and it is this father-son relationship that is the soul of the movie. The casting overall is on point. Manisha Koirala as Nargis is great in a brief role. Dia Mirza has a strategically placed mole to help her ace Manyata’s look but has hardly any dialogues. Sonam Kapoor has a couple of scenes and does what is expected of her quite well. As for Anushka Sharma she has very little scope and is mostly wasted.
Anushka plays Sanju’s biographer in the film – one beseeched to get his “real story” to the masses who Sanju claims misunderstands him. Some would say that in the real world Hirani seems to be doing exactly that. But we aren’t complaining as Ranbir’s class act keeps the film buoyant.
4 Quint’s out of 5!
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