Rajkumar Hirani is a brilliant moviemaker who has given Indian cinema many amazing movies. Naturally, when he announced Sanjay Dutt biopic it caught the audience’s attention. Everyone eagerly awaited its release. Post the release, the movie surpassed the expectations of many with Ranbir Kapoor’s portrayal being infallible to a great extent. But there were many whom the movie left disappointed. A large part of the audience thought the movie was a whitewash to fix Dutt’s controversial image.
Finally, the doubt that lingers in many hearts seems to be getting some validation. Yes, and the validation comes from the director Rajkumar Hirani himself.
Recently Hirani spoke at a master class organized by the Indian Film and TV Directors Association. There he revealed that the first test screening of Sanju did not go well. People who saw the screening had negative reactions towards Sanjay Dutt.
This is what the Rajkumar Hirani reportedly said:
“During the shoot I felt ‘What am I doing, I’m going wrong’. In fact, when the first edit was ready and we screened for people, they hated him. They said we don’t like this man, we don’t want to watch him.”
Since the audiences felt negatively towards the protagonist, Hirani changed a few parts of the script to create empathy. While he set out to tell a true story without creating artificial empathy, the end result wasn’t the same.
The director further added:
“Because I wanted to do a true story, I didn’t create any empathy towards him. I said let’s not create empathy and show (him) as he is. But later I understood that he is our hero, we need some empathy for him.”
From what we understand the director admits to inducing empathy for Sanjay Dutt for the sake of his movie. But then he goes on to maintain that it wasn’t to sort Dutt’s image out. Confused?
This is what he reportedly said about the term ‘whitewash’ being used to describe his movie:
“We made a commentary about certain section of the media and the term ‘whitewashed’ came into play. Everywhere I go people say I have whitewashed him but I haven’t. A journalist asked me, why did you whitewash Sanju and I asked what was Sanju’s crime? I am not defending the man but myself and the film. He kept a gun, destroyed it too, lied to his father and was arrested. I showed it all, his drug phase and the way he treated people. So where have I whitewashed?”
The director defends every bad decision Dutt made through his life claiming he is a good man. Well then, guess being a good person makes up for doing something (or many things) horrible. Just saying! What is your take on the claims that Sanju is (or isn’t) a whitewash job over the Dutt brand name?