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Movie Review: “Sanju”

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“Sanju” is a hit Bollywood movie which was released on 29th June 2018. It is a biographical film in Hindi language directed by Rajkumar Hirani and written by Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. The film is about a famous bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt a. k. a Sanju. Actor, Ranbir Kapoor plays the role of Sanju in the movie. He is supported by other characters like Sanju’s mom (Manisha Koirala), dad (Paresh Rawal), wife (Dia Mirza), best friend (Vicky Kaushal), and famous New York writer (Anushka Sharma). The film revolves around the personal and professional life of actor Sanjay Dutt. Dutt being the beloved son of famous Bollywood legends, Nargis Dutt and Sunil Dutt (also politician and social activist) had a very tumultuous life. His early struggles and stardom as an actor in Bollywood, his mom’s death and drug addiction, failed relationships, his alleged conviction in the Arms Act case and the 1993 Mumbai blasts, his life in prison and eventual release at the end of his term.

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The film entails drama, intrigue and a bit of comedy, to lighten the tone of the movie. The movie begins with the Supreme Court’s judgment on the 1993 Mumbai Blast case convicting Sanjay Dutt to 5 years in prison. He wants to tell his journey to the world, hence, looks for a writer. Sanju’s wife then approaches an acclaimed new your writer- Winnie. His mom and dad being constant guiding figures launch him into Bollywood, which doesn’t go so well. Later, his mom’s cancer diagnosis and death fueled his alcoholism and drug addiction. With much persuasion from his dad and best friend, he joins a rehabilitation center in the U. S. After a long rehabilitative struggle, he returns to India and takes to body building and focusing on his film career to stay away from drugs. The second half of the movie is narrated by Sanju’s best friend, leading to the movie’s climax. Due to the political turmoil in some parts of India in 1992 and Sanju’s father being a member of parliament, his family receives death threats. To protect his family, Sanju acquired arms and ammunitions from a famous smuggler, which gets him into trouble. Sanju gets arrested and his best friend severe ties with him, believing him to be guilty of the charges. After his release from prison, Sanju resumes normal life by getting back into the movies. The court cases on his still continued, keeping him in and out of prison. The movie concludes by the court finding him not guilty and freeing him of all the charges. Indian movies are embedded with songs and background score to enhance the storyline. Music by famous musician AR Rahman sets the mood right.

The drugs infused phase of Sanju’s life is the most impressive and it has been portrayed with the right amount of sensitivity. It has some fantastic visuals and some crazy emotions too. The 90’s era was well depicted with the appropriate costumes, cars, homes, etc. Actor Ranbir Kapoor’s impersonation of Sanjay Dutt was impeccable. It showed his months of hard work and dedication towards the character by his stance, vocabulary, physique and candor. The director, Rajkumar Hirani, with his signature direction style blends humour with drama effortlessly. It tells a strong story of an unbreakable bond between a father, son and a best friend. In fact, Sanjay’s relationship with his father forms the major part of this story and some of the most heart wrenching and touching moments in the film belong to both of them. Sanju’s mother has a brief role, but the scenes between the father, mother and son move you to tears. There’s also his best friend who’s one of the most important characters in the graph of the story and he leaves a solid impact. His wife’s strong presence is felt right throughout the film, but his previous marriages have been completely left out of the narrative. Ranbir delivers the central character’s swag and nonchalance in the most effortless manner. Whether he’s dancing like a hysterical man, with bloodshot eyes under the influence of drugs or he’s the broken, emotional wreck just staring blank, Ranbir portrays a variety of emotions and grey shades with flair. He’s the heart and soul of this film. One of the finest performances in the film comes from Sanjay’s best friend (Vicky Kaushal) who stands by him like a rock.

The first half is extremely gripping, with Sanju struggling with his inner demons. The second half is spent on elaborating his court cases and it reiterates the thought that he’s not a terrorist. The fact that Sanjay Dutt’s real life presents great material for a story on celluloid is unquestionablePresenting a biopic on a man with so many shades and one who’s lived a life of such extremes is a no mean feat. The director, Hirani, in his signature style, takes you through Sanju’s remarkable journey with the finesse and commitment it needs. In the film, Sanju’s wife says that he’s the king of bad choices, and Hirani’s idea of making a film on his life has certainly paid off. Yes, there’s a lot missing, but even then, this is still an incredible story of a man and a movie star who made massive mistakes, walked through fire, survived it and lived one heck of a life.

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