We are a nation where fans live and breathe Bollywood. Hence it is common for an actor to become a way of life for fans. Sanjay Dutt is no exception. He enjoys a loyal fan base which is evident from the success of his just-released biopic ‘Sanju‘.
But Sanjay Dutt’s journey has been peculiarly hellish, even though most of it was of his own doing. The actor struggled with drug abuse for most of his career and his criminal acquaintances didn’t help either. Nonetheless, there are many die-hard Sanjay Dutt fans who would do anything for the actor.
And recently Bollywood Life asked one such Sanjay Dutt fan, Suraj Rajouria, to review the movie Sanju. And what the fan thought of the movie will give a surprising jolt to many. First, let’s see what the fan had to say about his love for Sanjay Dutt:
“I smoke Marlboro cigarettes. It’s because Sanjay Dutt smokes them. I dabbled with Pinky Vodka because that’s his favorite liquor. When I wear my white shirts and blue jeans, with 3 buttons open and the trousers tucked in slightly high waist and walk after being drunk, I feel I am Sanjay Dutt. I was in school when Khalnayak released, had stood in the line outside Metro Theatre for hours to watch the film first day first show. Grew my hair in college and got a gym membership because he had long hair and bigger muscles.”
He further added about his admiration for the actor:
“I thought I was the biggest Sanjay Dutt fan till I grew out of school went to hostel and met people from various parts of the country, smaller ones, and boys who had stories of how they tied bandanas and carried hockey sticks to watch Sadak (1990) or how they walked out of Saajan (1991) just before Sanjay Dutt gives Madhuri away to Salman Khan as a sacrifice because in their minds the film ends with Dutt driving off into the sunset with Madhuri. I realized this man is a phenomenon.”
Like a true Sanjay Dutt fan, Suraj is also possessive of his idol. The first ‘Sanju’ trailer left him depressed that he’ll have to share his idol’s life story with others.
However, the real disappointment came after the release of the film:
“Reluctantly I went and watched the movie simply because it is a Rajkumar Hirani film. What I witnessed was beyond blasphemy. As a lifelong Sanju fan (even have the same tattoo as him, and still smoke Marlboro) even I didn’t expect the sort of whitewashing that happened in the movie.”
The Sanjay Dutt fan further expressed how the movie was a bitter experience:
“What should have been a film about the man and his life became a soapy father-son saga. It felt more like a Sunil Dutt bio-pic. I understand that when you choose to tell a story of a man’s life, even if it is “inspired by true events” and not a bio-pic, it is the story-teller’s prerogative to choose to include and exclude whatever he / she feels is the best tool to tell the story.
As a fan, though I think I deserved to know about Richa, and his supposed treatment to her. His first daughter Trishala was completely left out, along with his second wife Rhea. They had got married on a whim on Valentine’s Day. Sanju sleeping with his best friend’s fiancee was passed off in humour. What happened to the bro code of a man’s man? The poor friend remained single forever.
It would have been great to include his comeback in the form of Naam or how he bagged Vidhaata after supposedly Sunil Dutt had to request filmmakers to cast his now free from drugs son and how that film became a massive hit. Some scenes during the making of Sadak and Khalnayak, would have been so intriguing to watch but no they chose to show how Munnabhai MBBS got made instead, another landmark film in his career nonetheless.
Even though Suraj realizes that criticising the film is pointless at this point, it still doesn’t change the fact that movie is dismissive of Sanjay’s real story:
“In the end, Sanju does redeem himself (in what I think is the best moment of the film) when he says “Dad, you deserved a better son”, but alas! that is spoilt by the dialogue too culminating in “but no son could have loved you more than me”. I know any criticism of the film is null and void and totally pointless. The film is well on track to score a net box office of a whopping 175 crores and a record breaking lifetime collection. Har maidaan toh fateh kar hi liya … (this song only reminds of me of that shot where Sanju propelled by the great Nargis’ ghost, makes it to the top of the peak ala Stallone’s Rocky.)
The movie has been a colossal disappointment for the Sanju that I love, and follow since I was a little child. His real story deserved to be told, sans the whitewashing. All is well though.”