SANJU – An ode to Sunil Dutt

It was 2013. The release of Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani had marked the 3rd straight successful year for Ranbir Kapoor – commercially and critically.

The previous 2 years had seen him sweeping major awards, including consecutive Filmfares for Rockstar and Barfi. Both the movies had earned great returns, with the latter breaching the coveted 100Cr mark.

YJHD was his 10th movie and it went onto become one of the highest grossing Indian movies. Ranbir catapulted himself into the league of bankable stars. He was touted as the next big superstar of India. He was living his dream.

……..and then came the slump.

2013, the year that had witnessed his most successful film also marked the beginning of his losing streak –Besharam, Roy, Bombay Velvet (lost around 60 -80crores) and Tamasha. Films continued to fail, year after year. Producers lost whopping amount.

 Ae Dil Hai Mushkil came as a relief, but then came Jagga Jasoos, for which Ranbir had turned a producer. Jagga lost around 40 -60Crores at BO.

When you see Ranbir Kapoor in his recent interviews, you can’t help but notice the melancholy in his eyes. Is it melancholy or is it the metamorphosis that he has underwent while reprising the role of Sanjay Dutt in Sanju?

Dutt’s life is filled with unbelievable tales of ups and downs, where he has hit more troughs than peaks. Did Ranbir take a leaf from Dutt’s life?

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What is SANJU – the movie all about?

It’s the tale of Sanjay Dutt – son of famed Sunil Dutt and Nargis. It’s a tale of his tryst with drug addiction and his fight against it. It’s the tale of a man who was charged under TADA act for his role in Mumbai Serial Blasts case and his acquittal. It’s about a man who was jailed under the ‘Arms Act’ and served 1400 odd days in prison.

Above all, it’s a tale of a father, who stood by his son in all his hardships. When the movie ends, whom do you fall in love with? Ranbir as Sanju or Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt?

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RANBIR as SANJU

In a career spanning over 11 years, Ranbir has largely played similar roles – a man in his soul searching journey. That makes Sanju a tailor made role for Ranbir. It’s his comfort zone.

However, the role has brought in its own baggage of hurdles and challenges.

When you are acting in a biopic, irrespective of the magnitude of your role – lead or just a supporting cast, you are bound to invite comparisons. The challenge intensifies, when you are reprising the role of someone living.

Sanjay Dutt is a star who has acted in over 150 movies. We have seen him through years – young, old, in his teen cheeks and in his silver beard. Hence, our subconscious continues to draw comparisons. There was always a danger of loss of ‘empathy’ for the protagonist, because the mind is too busy playing the game of comparison.

However, Ranbir hasn’t blindly tried to ape Sanjay, rather he has transformed himself into Sanju. He has picked few mannerisms that look more implicit than explicit imitation.

As a result, barring few segments, we live the experience of Sanju – the character and not Sanjay Dutt on whom the character is based on. That’s where Ranbir’s success lies. He becomes increasingly convincing. He makes us cry, he makes us laugh. He makes us cringe and gets us upset. He earns the empathy of the audience that lasts until the credit list rolls.

Sanju is not only the redemption of Sanjay Dutt, but also of Ranbir. He has regained his lost sublime form. The film is not only going to set the cash registers ringing, but will also fill his drawing room with few more awards. He is back into business.

(With the much hyped ‘Brahmastra’ on cards, he could be the next superstar that everyone wanted him to be)

Paresh Rawal has played the second fiddle, rather beautifully, making us fall in love with the endearing and much revered Sunil Dutt. (After watching the movie, I ended up spending few hours reading about him)

Vicky Kaushal’s would be another noteworthy performance.

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RAJKUMAR HIRANI – The man with the Midas touch

5 movies in 14 years looks a strained effort. It’s the fact that all of them have been blockbusters, which transforms the stats into an enviable track record. Sanju is looking in all good shape to extend his blockbuster streak.

He along with his writing companion – Abhijat Joshi, has retained their entertainment formula. Every scene should either make audience laugh their lungs out or make them empty their tears (joyous tears most of the times).

Hirani movies don’t exist in real plane. It exists in a dramatic space – filled with larger than life characters that look more real than fiction.

Despite being a biopic, he does no different in Sanju. The real characters look larger than life, yet so real. There are places where you feel things going little over board and growing dramatic, but then that’s the space in which the movie is set. You might call it flaws, but they are the flaws that you could live with.

He appears to be certain about the kind of movie that he wanted this one to be – a Bollywood film. He didn’t want to make an “Aviator” for sure. He has used all the right ingredients and to its perfection.

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BOTTOM LINE(s)

Apart from his drug addiction and his jail episodes, Hirani hasn’t delved deep into other aspects of his life. He has not touched upon all his love episodes, his childhood, his film career, failed marriages etc.

Well, there’s too much drama in Sanju Baba’s life to accommodate in 160 minutes, isn’t it?

Few episodes look exaggerated. Few look fabricated or should I call them ‘exercise of creative liberty’? But who cares, as long as we have 160 minutes of pure entertainment on plate.

At the end of the movie, we can’t help but sympathize with him.

Sanju is perfect monsoon gift from Hirani. Watch it for the remarkable performance of Ranbir and the unbelievable life that Sanjay has lived.

Watch it for the beautiful tale between the father and the son.

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BOTTOM LINE

Sanju is Hirani’s ode to Sunil Dutt. It’s redemption of Sanjay Dutt and that of Ranbir.

-CHAN

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Dear Zindagi – A Detailed Analysis

 

It’s been long since I have written a detailed analysis of any movie – could be because none of the watch was motivating enough for me to write or could be that I haven’t watched some of the best movies that got released in the recent past.

“Dear Zindagi” – The latest offering from Gauri Shinde, stands as a testimony for the earlier accolades that she had received for her first outing – “English Vinglish”.

Being an ad filmmaker that she is, it’s for sure that every frame of the movie would be tidy – spick and span, Abundance of light and props only adding to the aesthetic decorum.

The movie might not be inspired from them, but it does remind you of “Good will hunting” and “Dead Poet’s Society” in parts.

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Plot:

The movie revolves around the life of a female cinematographer Kaira (the loveable Alia), going through a phase of “Distress and Desperation” and how she, with the help of a psychiatrist Dr Jehangir Khan (our dear SRK) manages to overcome it.

It’s this very one lined plot of the movie, which manages to strike a chord with the audience with it’s personal touch.

“Phase of distress and desperation” is bound to visit everyone’s life, every now and then. The unwelcomed guest that it is, it does no gender biasing – treating men and women alike. That said, even I am not spared.

It’s highly improbable to prevent its visit, but what you could certainly do is – Mastering the art of getting yourselves out of it, as soon as you get into it.

At the surface layer it would appear that “Dear Zindagi” is trying to give life lessons on how you could help yourselves get out of the phase. But what it does in real is, asking us to identify our own specific ways of overcoming the distress.

Everyone has his/her sources of distress – job, love life, family, economy, social stigma etc. For Kaira, it’s her failed relationships and a childhood deprived of parental love.

Some of us are Kaira, some of us are Jehangir Khan and some of us are both of them. I think, audience identifying themselves with either or both these characters, is Gauri’s biggest victory as a writer and filmmaker

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Performances:

Time and again, Alia has reminded us that she is one of the best actresses that we have got. This movie is no exception. Wide range of emotions that she has brought on the screen, seemingly natural and pulled off with so much of an ease, proves her mettle as a brilliant actress.

Nothing could be more delighting than watching Shahrukh in such performance oriented roles – maintaining a good hand distance from his stardom. I can’t speak for others, but as a die-hard fan of his, I found him excellent in this role.

Angad and Kunal manage to impress in their brief appearances.

Yashaswini as Jackie, is also someone who might stay in your mind for quite some time, for her cute performance.

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MUSIC:

Amit Trivedi has worked magic with some of those numbers – that have shades of his earlier works in Lootera.

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WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN IMPROVED?

It’s of my personal opinion that the cinematographer part of her character has not been effectively written/ brought out. Several forced “superficial” elements put in to justify the cinematographer aspect. But that hasn’t done the movie any damage.

Her “childhood deprived of love” could have been much effectively depicted.

I don’t know if it exists for real – but the melodramatic family that she has including her uncle and aunt, appear far from real. I would discount that, considering it to be a creative liberty taken to entertain the audience.

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Bottom line:

You “might” like this movie, if you have loved – Good Will Hunting, Dead Poet’s society, Highway, Devil Wears Prada, Wake up Sid.

I wouldn’t say that every one of you might love the movie – A family that sat next to me, had their fair share of complaints.

But it’s certainly one the beautiful cinemas that I happened to watch in the recent past.

For the love towards SRK and for the love of Cinema…….!

-Chan