Thursday, 30 June, 2022
HomeOpinionRanbir Kapoor as Sanju doesn’t portray Dutt but Munna bhai

Ranbir Kapoor as Sanju doesn’t portray Dutt but Munna bhai

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An unbiased biopic is an oxymoron, and Sanju is no exception.

If the title of the film is any indication of the endearment the director has towards his protagonist, then the rest of the two hour and 41 minute-long movie won’t be surprising either.

‘Sanju’ is the apple of everyone’s eye. Drugs, women, an AK 56, the mafia are just chapters in the life of a misunderstood actor, or so the film will tell you. Even as ‘Sanju’ garlands Ruby (Sonam Kapoor) with a toilet seat in a drugged state, she requests his friend to not tell him about the episode when he comes to his senses or his heart will break.

While there is absolutely no doubt about Ranbir Kapoor’s acting prowess and loyalty to the character he plays, one may leave the theatre thinking that Kapoor was not playing Sanjay Dutt, but Munna bhai. The larger-than-life portrayal, the redemption of the fallen hero, and the mission to spread happiness are strings that Rajkumar Hirani has already played in Munnabhai MBBS.

What subtly aids this deification of Dutt is the accompanying music. Music can change the context of a scene without it having been explicitly said. When Dutt is arrested under the TADA Act, the film plays an emotional music in the background, promptly leading the audience to feel sorry for him rather than see him as a criminal.

Imagine the music for a Salman biopic then!

Sanju, predictably, is about the actor and his relationship with his father – sometimes too strained, sometimes an emotional puddle. Dutt is scrambling to fit into his father Sunil Dutt’s large shoes and keeps failing at it. All through the film it feels as if Sunil Dutt’s sole mission in life is to help his son who, no matter how old, acts like a child and has a justification for his acts, which include stashing AK 56 rifles illegally.

Lost in this father-son story are the two sisters of Dutt, who are mere accessories, have barely half a word in terms of dialogue, and are frozen in the narrative.

The men in the story – Jim Sarbh as his drug dealer, Vicky Kaushal as his best friend, Boman Irani as Ruby’s father and underworld don Bandu dada – are fleshed-out characters.

The women – Anushka Sharma as author Winnie Dias, Dia Mirza as Maanyata Dutt, and Manisha Koirala as Nargis Dutt – make little contribution to the story. They portray rigid characters and fail to convince. They play mere transitional roles – connecting scene A and B – and are never central to the plot.

The media is the big bad bully in the film because newspapers have ruined Dutt’s life. The question marks in the headlines have prosecuted the actor, leaving him helpless.

But what about the giant question mark the film leaves in the minds of the audience? Was Dutt really innocent, what about his many liaisons, did he have just one brush with the underworld?

No matter the intent behind a biopic, it will always be biased and leave out several aspects of a character. An unbiased biopic is an oxymoron. Sanju is no exception to this. At the end of the film, many viewers clapped, others had a smile, while several like me were confused if what we saw was a biopic or an ode.

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  1. News paper or tv news should never use????? Sanjay dutt was innocent….the timing was bad for him….he could have gone the wrong way & easliy finish himself …he is still survivng that’s great…

  2. Oh The print is here to narrate, to summarise the story of the film what a great headline “Ranbir doesn’t potray Dutt but Munna Bhai”.

  3. Extremely well put article! I had the exact reaction to this innocuously innocence that was portrayed in the guise of a man-child actor. Oh the innocence! Oh how incorruptibly innocent (NOT)!

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