"If you have a movie with an original subject, half the battle is won"
The search for great stories is the longest journey a filmmaker has to endure. Indian film industry for decades has struggled with originality in content. Since 3 Idiots which was Rajkumar Hirani's first outing with a novel written by Chetan Bhagat (who to my mind is a bad writer with ok ideas), Bollywood has scene a lot of films which derive its story from originally published content. Films like Vicky Donor, Madras Cafe, Guru, Parmanu etc are like a breath of fresh air. But even so the industry could'nt get a legitimate biopic of its own tribe.
"Sanju" based on actor Sanjay Dutt's life is a big leap forward in storytelling. Although the movie releases after a week, one gets a sense of story telling after its numerous trailers and songs have hit the screens. The interesting about this film is its subject, the man "Sanjay Dutt" himself.......
This post is about Sanjay Dutt and the need for more stories like this to be told.
Bollywood's original inheritor/survivor/former bad boy and alleged terrorist..
To make a film on a man who in roughly sixty years of his life has seen jail several times, declared as an accomplice to a terror attack, born into Bollywood royalty, delivered biggest blockbusters, fought drug addiction and mental disorder, has survived scores of girlfriends and is currently in his third marriage, and till today has enough star power to get good work and finally is looked upon as an icon is no mean feat.
Sanjay Dutt is the soul of India. He is imperfect, he is imbalanced, he gets adrift frequently, he faces dire consequences and yet he survives and thrives. Isnt he like a normal Indian who goes through dozens of struggles daily to get meal for his family. Well he isnt exactly that.......but he comes from a caged rosy life which was no less than that of a prince but was thrown into absolute hell by his own actions.
Dutt's life is more of survival rather than that of atonement. Unlike other star kids, he never had it easy, he lost his first wife to cancer and has till since fathered his daughter Trishala. His father Sunil Dutt was a staunch Congressman respected by millions of Indians from across the world. He was a statesman , former Sheriff of Mumbai, Member of Parliament and a crusader of human rights. So in many ways, Sanjay tarnished the image of his father. But even then, he rebuilt himself and came out victorious from nowhere. I think the relationship between Sunil Dutt and Sanjay will be the key ingredient in the look and feel of "Sanju". Although Paresh Rawal in no ways looks like Sunil Dutt, i hope Hirani is up to something new in this choice.
The Master Of Adaptability
Sanjay Dutt can be easily classified as an adaptable human being in almost any situations. To be fair if the leading man of a biopic has lived many lives in one life, it gives the numerous shades and variations. If one looks at the trailer of "Sanju", it shows Ranbir Kapoor who portrays Dutt playing 6 versions of him!
A prisoner, a teenager, failed husband, his adventures across the globe and more.The only reason why all these promos look great is because Dutt's life was like an open book. You know exactly what was going on and you would know most of what will play out in the movie but even then it gives goosebumps to all film lovers.
The Difference between a subject like "Sanju" and other biopics in Indian films
One can argue that Bollywood has been making biopics like "Guru" which is based on Dhirubhai Ambani's life who too was a legendary figure. These have been good efforts but they dont have the range of emotions as "Sanju" promises to have. Its this sheer range of shades in the story which will make "Sanju" far more compelling. Dutt has been a loser, winner, loser again, lost and so on......
The only stereotypical move can be to get not so great actors to play the female leads such Anoushka Sharma (a highly over rated actress), Sonam Kapoor(Horrible is the word) and Dia Mirza (Who just re surfaced) . Hirani is a sensible filmmaker and i hope these wax dolls emote well. And Hirani doesnt use too much of music to amplify the melodrama.
Hollywood has been making movies like this for decades. In my opinion "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers", " The Doors", upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic"Bohemian Rhapsody" are all films which explores people with similar traits to Sanjay Dutt.
The idea is to tell a real human story while still keeping the grandeur of a legend and i think "Sanju" should do that.
I just hope my bravado is not dumbfounded.