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What exactly is the point of Sanju (besides watching Ranbir Kapoor do a fabulous job)? The movie aims to promote #TheKingOfWrongChoices and succeeds…almost.
At one point in the movie, Sanju cries out to his father, “You deserved a better son”.
Likewise, the audience deserved a better picture. Not this plastic pathos which touches you fleetingly but never stirs you to the core.
Period! There is not even a Question Mark here.
Sanju is a clever movie about an eternally erring man-child who seeks redemption from the very medium he castigates for sullying his character. It is always the outside evil world that tempts this simple-Simon Munna and sets him up to commit please-brush-under-the-carpet-wala-crimes. He always has good intentions, you see. Halfway through the flick though, any half-witted brawny beefcake will easily tell you that Sanju was #TheKingofWrongChoices and that the stupid world had little to do with all the hell that broke loose and singed his dear ones.
It does raise a lot of questions, eh?
Does Sanju get away with playing the long-suffering victim targeted by the hungry press?
Are Dad’s towering moral presence, Sanju’s naiveté, and his bluster, the real culprits that lead to his twisted destiny?
Okay, he sells! Dare they make moolah out of his discovery of TADA?
Kya is Maidaan ki Fateh hogi? (Will this premise sell?)
These are the dilemmas a viewer would try and figure depending on his/her devotion to the Tinsel-God.
Does this commissioned whitewashing work because the world had always painted him black?
It doesn’t, for me. A biopic should tell the story without any biases, while treating the subject as humanly as possible. But when you start off with a template that Sanju Baba is grossly misunderstood and it is the instant-justice delivering media at fault, it gets jarring.
Drugs, Sayx (Sex), backstabbing of the loyal friend are all dealt with perfunctorily, almost benignly – all this is OK, it is Sanju Baba. All will be forgiven eventually and all the sulkers will come around after an FM broadcast!
There is never any deep remorse felt by Sanju, whether it is for the repeated jail terms or the havoc unleashed on family. He just sails through stuff. Everything is touched upon superficially. I guess this 70mm life needed a deeper introspection, though many important points of his life have been left untouched.
One thing’s for sure. Anoushka’s wild hairdo will either scare you off perming for life or scar you forever. Her accent vacillates from London to Ludhiana. I thought I saw two fledglings flying off her ghosla of a hair by the time she finished writing Sanju’s biography.
Bas ek Kwahish hai Godji! Har ekko zindagi mein ek Kamli miljaye bas safar haste katjayegi! The actual takeaway is the beautiful friendship between Sanju and Kamli. Kamli spends 12 years by the Enfant-terrible’s side, through thick and thin, giving up only at the time of riots.
Also, the seriously somber moments are actually the rib-tickling ones. Jibes about the 91-year-old naked lady aren’t so kosher though.
yo see it for the terrific duo of Ranbir (You are still the Rockstar!) and Vicky Kaushal because Ranbir gets into the skin and tone of Baba, picture perfect. He walks the talk, literally.
Kyunki kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna? (Cos, it’s people’s nature to talk, amirite?)
I couldn’t help smirking for one thing though; after the National Anthem, the ubiquitous Rahul Dravid Ad against smoking comes where The Wall ploughs on in his Vindhyan Hindi. Almost immediately, Sanju starts suttafying! Therein lies the utter irony, of a movie that appears to be a cautionary tale and yet aims to make the same vices comes as across hippy and stylish.
I am partial here but I loved Mahanati, the biopic on Savitri more.
First published here.
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Anupama Jain is the author of 'When Padma Bani Paula', a breezy novel about second
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