Sanju: Khalnayak to Hero

Sanju: Khalnayak to Hero

You can break the law, do drugs, get sentenced to jail, and even be involved with the Mafia. Still, the seamier life of yours will be celebrated if you are a Bollywood Superstar. The trailer of Sanju, a biopic on Sanjay Dutt, who spent years in prison after being convicted under the now-lapsed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, has been hailed by his fans, movie critics, and the celebrity fraternity. Praise has come for the acting of Ranbir Kapoor, who plays the protagonist.

From the trailer, it is evident that even if the movie doesn’t glorify Sanju’s life, it will justify his actions, like the possession of a deadly gun, AK-56. He admits he is a drunkard, womaniser and a drug addict. But he vehemently denies that he is, or was, a terrorist. He knew the Mumbai Mafia, spent time with the gang lords, but was never involved in violence. It was just that he was helpless when confronted with the violence of his interrogators. He admitted to his guilt.

To understand this biopic, through only the trailer of course, it is crucial to know the film-maker, Rajkumar Hirani, who gave us hits like 3 Idiots, Munna bhai MBBS, and its sequel. At the peak of his acting career, Sanju did Hirani a favour by ageing to don the extremely-popular role of Munna bhai. It’s pay-back time, or so it may seem. Hirani claims that he has merely shown the truth in Sanju, and it’s up to the viewers to decide whether they like what they see or not.

However, the trailer has set the mood. Already, the audience has decided that the movie will become, even as the man becomes the movie. The lines between real and reel will effectively blur. You can see this in the comments like “we love you”, “Sanju Sir struggled a lot”, and that the people respect Sanju, aka Sanjay Dutt. For both Sanjay and Ranbir, this is God-sent.

Ever since he was released from the prison, Sanju’s career is over. In the recent past, another Sanju, i.e. Ranbir’s professional curve has taken a dip with movies that weren’t hit. Now, if Sanju takes Sanjay to newer heights, the former will also add wings to Ranbir. They will soar together, hand-in-hand. One will get back his respect, the other his fame and money.

For those who understands the politics, and not the economics, of Sanjay Dutt, and his family, it will be important to note what the movie may not show. The role played by a Maratha politician, who wished to extract his revenge from the Dutts. The role played by a father, Sunil Dutt, who did everything he could, to save his son. Both succeeded in their own ways.

By Vikas Jha

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