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Sanju - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Curated Look at the Controversial Life of Sanju!"

Directed by the acclaimed and celebrated director Rajkumar Hirani, Sanju starring Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role is a 'biopic' of the controversial yet admired film star Sanjay Dutt. The film explores the early days of his film career, his drug-addiction phase and his involvement in the 1993 Bombay bombings.

The film opens up with the Supreme Court of India announcing that Sanju (Ranbir Kapoor) should, in fact, serve his notice in jail and offers him 30 days to surrender so that he can complete his unfinished projects. Sanju then meets the admired biographer Winnie Diaz (Anushka Sharma) to pen his notorious life story and despite few issues, they decide to work together as Sanju starts his story remembering his time on the sets of his first film Rocky (1981).

Alright, let me start by saying this, this is not your traditional biopic where it encompasses the complete story of Sanjay Dutt, they're many uncharted territories that you expect answers from, but Rajkumar Hirani focuses more on the moments which made or destroyed Dutt's career. The timeline is almost non-existent in the film, we jump from incidents out of the 80's to the 90's and to the 2000's and I felt like large chunks of details were left unexplained.  I understand that the makers cannot cram everything into the two-hour-forty-minute runtime but I found myself out-of-the-loop trying to piece together the plot regularly. Moreover, few scenes in between these timelines were almost hard to believe. Maybe the man truly had such an outlandish lifestyle or maybe it's fictionalized, we never know.

The first half focuses on the early stages of Dutt's career from the 80's and more on his reckless and slapdash attitude and how he's not able to focus on his career, family, and life. But, I might be in the minority for saying that I didn't like the approach that the writers took to infuse comedy into serious moments. Like, he obviously did some awful stuff, but the way it was told or portrayed was a bit nonsensical.

But, one of the main aspects that shines the most throughout the movie was the relationship that Dutt had with his father Sunil Dutt and his dear friend Kamlesh. They're extremely emotional, genuine and made the film feel very special. The concern that these guys showed towards Dutt at the darkest times of his life was well showcased and made the lead character look endearing.

Advancing to the performances, Ranbir Kapoor is in top-form here and he transformed himself into Sanjay Dutt when it comes to the physical transformation, facial expressions, voice, mannerisms and I didn't feel even for a second that I was watching Ranbir Kapoor on-screen. But, Vicky Kaushal as Dutt's friend Kamlesh is the show-stealer here and made his character delightful to watch. The Gujarati accent, innocence, and the earnest gratitude that he had for his best friend was heartwarming and Kaushal made sure to knock it out-of-the-park in every single scene. Other notable performances include Paresh Rawal as the loving father and Anushka Sharma as the no-nonsense biographer, both their characters had equal importance in the movie with much significance.

Overall, Sanju felt less like a biographical drama and more of a story that Dutt wanted to tell the audience through his point of view. Disgraced by negligent journalism, Dutt answers most of the significant questions about his drug use, involvement with the terrorists and his asinine behavior but I felt like many phases of his life are still left unexplored. But then again, the performances were top-notch and the relationships between the focal characters were remarkably displayed which makes Sanju an engaging film from beginning to end.

My Rating - 3/5 | Grade - B (Worth a Watch!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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