Sanju Review: A Biopic with a myopic view; great performances but slow pace

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The much hyped and much awaited Sanju as we all know is a biopic on Sanjay Dutt. Well .. almost a biopic I would rather say.

Sanjay Dutt, who has been the original bad boy has had a roller coaster of a life adorned with controversies, highs and lows, girlfriends and goons, drugs, love, hate, admiration and antagonism.

The story has been penned by Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi very carefully. While it touches upon the most controversial aspects of his life( drugs and underworld connections), as truthfully as possible, they have tried to do it in a very balanced way, not showing Sanjay in a negative light. It wasn’t a lame reputation salvaging exercise as in Azhar but does manage to show us a human side to his follies.

The story was more from the perspective of his relationship with his parents and his best friend (A Gujju from New York) who stood by rock solid with him during his dark encounters with drugs and goons.

The movie is in the form of his story being narrated by himself to a world famous biographer played by Anushka. The story begins with the start of his stint with drugs during his “ Rocky “ days. The drugs continue as he deals with the death of his mother and leads him to lose his girlfriend too. With help of his father Sunil Dutt and his friend Kamlesh, he eventually overcomes the drugs but years later, falls into a bigger trap of legal hassles because of the gun found in his possession and underworld connections. The rest of the movie tells us about how he fights through his jail stints and media biases and injustices.

While we can appreciate the truth and balanced view of what’s shown, what leaves an incomplete feeling is an absolute absence of any other references to his life. There’s no mention of his first wife Richa or his daughter Trisha. Nothing about his Bollywood life, controversies during that era, his intense popularity or rise as a star. No mention of his relationships or friendships in the industry.

All that buzz of Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan or Kumar Gaurav ‘s characters were mere rumours.

Apart from Maanyata Dutt, Nargis & Sunil Dutt, Priya Dutt and one scene of Mahesh Manjrekar and Tabu playing themselves, there is no direct or even indirect reference to any other real-life person.

In that aspect Raju Hirani has accomplished a major feat, steering clear of any controversies or hurt sentiments but of course, it leaves the audience feeling incomplete.

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Talking of performances, it’s a Ranbir Kapoor film through and through. The man has done a marvellous job resurrecting Sanjay’s life, his struggles, his weaknesses, his confusions, his failures. He has almost perfected the trademark body language, gait, his typical twist-of-the-lip kind of look.

Manish Koirala was superb as Nargis Dutt, so full of life and such a fighter. Paresh Rawal gave a restrained and appraise worthy performance as Sunil Dutt. Both Koirala and Rawal drew a lot of empathy and emotional appeal by their performances.

Vicky Kaushal as Kamlesh was good. It was good to see him in something other than the dark and sober characters he usually plays.
Jim Sarbh was good as usual in a grey character.

Anushka was good as a smart and sassy London based world famous journalist. She looked the part every bit.

Music was a big disappointment. Except for a song sung by Sukhwinder “ Kar har maidaan Fateh “ rest two were big duds and pace breakers.

On the whole, the movie was entertaining and a good one time watch. Do not expect it to be great or with a wow factor. You might find the pace slow as it just concentrates on two major phases of Sanjay’s life. But it keeps you engaged and does have emotional appeal in bits and pieces.

For Ranbir fans and Dutt fans, its a must watch.

Score 7 on 10


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