Earlier, superstar Sanjay Dutt was the unofficial ‘Bad Boy’ of Bollywood due to some undesirable circumstances. Obviously, it was anticipated that a film based on his life would be an explosive story. Director and co-writer Rajkumar Hirani takes liberties with true events for the purpose of strengthening the film's emotional appeal, but he does not let Sanju turn into a mere cinematic apologia for a temperamental movie star's numerous indiscretions. Together with screenwriter Abhijat Joshi, he crafts an intelligent script that highlights the upheavals unleashed in Dutt's life by drugs, alcohol, girls, guns and goons. The movie is marked by both empathy and surprising straightforwardness. Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi have concentrated only on selected parts of his life. They ran the fear of many legal notices and defamation suits which is why none of Dutt’s 350 dalliances, including those with reigning Bollywood queens of 90s ever make it to the frame.
The movie starts off with Sanjay (Ranbir) getting ready to surrender to the police for his alleged involvement in the 1993 bomb blasts and persuading author Winnie (Anushka Sharma with a ridiculous wig) to present his side of the story in a book. The movie then takes the viewer on a journey through Sanjay’s life- from his days as a drug addict to his struggles with rehab to his role in the bomb blasts case to his final redemption, his relationship with his parents Sunil Dutt and Nargis (Paresh Rawal and Manisha Koirala) and friend Kamli (Vicky Kaushal) forming the backdrop.
From Ranbir Kapoor's stellar performance as Dutt to Vicky Kaushal acing his act as Dutt's close friend, the audience cannot stop raving about the cast who have come together to put up a great show. Ranbir has enthralled everybody by his remarkable performance. Ranbir has given his heart and soul to the role and it is obvious in the way he has portrayed Sanjay Dutt, right from his swagger to the way he tilts his head in the middle of saying something. But mimicking the body language is not just enough and Ranbir magnificently projects Sanjay’s helplessness and his susceptibility through his eyes.
Apart from Ranbir, the movie stars many other actors, but noteworthy amongst them is Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, Manisha Koirala as Nargis Dutt and Vicky Kaushal as his reliable friend Kamli (Kamlesh). Sonam Kapoor, Jim Sarbh, Boman Irani and Dia Mirza are good enough. No one knew who is Kamlesh and what role did he play in Dutt's life - no newspaper articles and no records. Essaying a character that doesn't have any reference is no cakewalk for any actor - but Vicky has gone out and out to give his best foot forward for his role in the movie. As Sanjay's friend in the movie, Vicky has delivered one of his career-defining performance.
Filmmaker and director Rajkumar Hirani proves again that when it comes to story-telling, he has no match. Some viewers may criticize that the movie only focuses on his drug abuse, his role in the blasts and his relationship with his friend and father. Rajkumar Hirani has wisely ignored his several affairs and has concentrated on the few dark phases of his life quite well. It is well-known fact that it is quite difficult to make a biopic on an alive person and Hirani deserves due credit for making the movie entertaining, captivating and touching at the same time.
Overall, Sanju is a praiseworthy film due to stellar performance of Ranbir Kapoor and its entertainment quotient.