Sanju – Made from the heart, but is this only the first part?

The last time we saw Ranbir Kapoor (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil) he was still in his never-ending phase of playing Man-child roles and lip-synching heartbreak songs that top lists. His talent remains unquestionable despite his choices. So when Rajkumar Hirani announced a biopic of his most favourite actor with RK, it was the best of both worlds. The first look of Sanju had the fans, critics, and media going berserk with praises.

The three men of Sanju are outstanding – Ranbir Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal and Paresh Rawal. If it was called a father-son drama or a friendship story, it would be fine. But here’s what has led to my disappointment.

What you see in the powerhouse of a trailer –

  1. 5 looks of Sanjay Dutt from his teenage to adulthood, nailed by RK
  2. Count of his sex life + 1 GF+ 1 wife
  3. Psychedelic life + Jail time+ ‘I am not terrorist’ struggle
  4. A glimpse of Father –son chemistry
  5. A friend who stands by tough times

What you see in the movie – Only all of the above, very slowly

Whether what we see in theatres is completely true or not is up for debate, but what is undeniable is that the 3 hours long screen time barely captures a small ‘cherry on top’ part of the huge mixed flavour drug infused cake that was promised. Several exciting anecdotes with immense cinematic potential have been conveniently skipped. Most of the episodes covered play the ‘victim of circumstances’ card to explain wherever our hero lands up. His drug abuse is justified with personal loss, his rehab is glorified with a motivational song and mountain climbing, his sex count is cute and honest with the wife smiling in the same frame and much more.

In all the bad times he mostly does have a shining halo on his head, somehow the devil keeps winning.

Hirani’s finesse of storytelling cannot be escaped despite the limited exploration of Dutt’s life. Some Powerful scenes and heartfelt performances partially make up for the dishonesty. Senior Dutt’s references of old songs for life lessons, Kamlesh Kapsi’s sincere Gujju idiosyncracies and of course Ranbir’s pulling it all together through his physical and emotional transformations as Sanju.

Sanju is one-dimensional, detailed in parts and disappeared in rest. I left the theatre feeling half entertained and half cheated. Someone else working on part 2?

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