Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor Superb But Rajkumar Hirani Stumbles In Parts

Movie Name
Rajkumar Hirani
Drama, Biography
02 hours 41 minutes

Sanju Review

The masterly touch of writer-director Rajkumar Hirani is most evident in the performances he cajoles out of his actors.

Within minutes into the film, Ranbir Kapoor is Sanjay Dutt, from the gait to the voice. Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt and Manisha Koirala as the ailing Nargis Dutt become the family that everybody has known and admired for long. Add to it Vicky Kaushal’s perfect turn as Kamli, his best friend in the US, Sonam Kapoor as Sanju’s first girlfriend, and Anushka Sharma in a cameo as a writer, and you have a first-rate orchestra of actors with Hirani leading the symphony.

Hirani’s collaboration with Abhijat Joshi in the writing department has the comforting mix of amusement and sentiments that make for perfect entertainment.

Sanju’s debut film Rocky that had the lovely RD Burman number Kya yehi pyaar hai is re-picturised cleverly, packing in the entire plotline. Some shots make you giggle, at the same time you sense the father-son friction and you see how easily the young actor is led astray at a vulnerable moment. 

The introduction is strewn with Hirani’s trademark humour where he plays with accents for laughs. Boman Irani is the next-door Parsee and Kamli is the Gujju in the US who still says ‘snakes’, ‘hole’ and Sex-peare for Shakespeare. It’s a bit stale, they’re Gujju jokes one heard decades ago, but it lightens the atmosphere. The black humour around Irani’s dead body also amuses even as it spotlights the dark days of Dutt’s drug addiction.

Apart from performances and the humour, a major attraction is the father-son equation that Hirani and Joshi dwell upon with great effect. The scene where Sanju learns about his mother’s cancer is particularly moving. And Sunil Dutt’s predicament, his untiring efforts to get his son out of legal trouble is palpably relatable. 

However, Sanju has its fault lines.

One, the music without melody doesn’t stay with you.  

Two, there are glimpses of Hirani’s tendency to bat for one community in the way he handles the riots and bomb blasts that shook Mumbai. 

He also gets derailed in pushing a one-sided narrative of Sanjay Dutt’s TADA case. ‘Why did I come back from Mauritius if I was guilty? I only had an AK 47 for self-defence and protection,’ are his lines of defence. One isn’t debating any of it but they’re what Dutt has been trotting out the last two decades. What’s new, Raju? The second half may therefore fail to evoke sympathy from many because it’s so completely slanted without talking of the perks, the privileges and the comparatively lighter sentence which forms the other side of the story. 

The third point that rankles is that, according to Team Sanju, the real criminal in the TADA case was the media. While a comment here and there may be justified, Raju has laboured the point to such an extent that even the end-titles roll with Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir ramming the media and tearing up newspapers as so much garbage.   

The irony is that it is the ratings from the same media’s reviews that this team will use to further promote the film.  


  • Dialogues
  • Story
  • Music
  • Screen Play

The Verdict

For a film that makes a promising start and has worthy performances but loses the plot after half-time, Sanju gets a 3* rating.


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