Sanju – Film Review

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

What’s it about?

Sanju is a Hindi film directed by Rajkumar Hirani. It stars Ranbir Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Anushka Sharma, Dia Mirza and Sonam Kapoor among others.

Based on certain events from the life of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, the film follows his life as a youngster who  descends into drug addiction due to the loss of his mother, and his subsequent rehab and comback into the world of films. It also touches upon the various run ins he had with the law, his connections with the underworld, and his struggle to shrug off the terrorist tag that the media had bestowed upon him after his links to the Mumbai blasts and riots were exposed.

What’s Good?

The first half does a good job in showing Sanjay Dutt’s decent into drug addiction and his subsequent triumphant march to sobriety. What the film also gets right is its treatment of the many relationships in Dutt’s life. The tender emotional bond he had with his mother and the emotional and strong friendship he shared with his best friend is developed very well. But the true soul of the film is his relationship with his father. Some of the scenes that show this bond is sure to bring a tear to the eyes of even the most hardened cinema critic.

The build up to and the picturization of the song Kar Har Maidan Fateh is truly rousing, as is the song as well. The art direction is good as it manages to successfully recreate the 80’s and 90’s in a believable manner. Ranbir Kapoor’s make up team deserves special mention as they have managed to create an uncanny resemblance to the real Sanjay Dutt.

What’s Not?

The second half of the film does a mediocre job of explaining the legal problems Sanjay Dutt had leading up to his imprisonment. It also does an unconvincing job in showing Dutt’s benevolent intentions in having connections with the underworld. There is no mention of his two failed marriages or of his Casanova ways other that a few throwaway lines. Music is mostly mediocre barring one song. The ending of the film feels extremely contrived and does not have the emotional impact that one comes to expect from a Raju Hirani film.


Ranbir Kapoor has given the performance of a lifetime. He is absolutely riveting as Sanjay Dutt and is the heart and soul of the film. He successfully brings to life the craziness, the playfulness and heartbreaking vulnerability that the character demands. Vicky Kaushal is also in excellent form and steals most of the scenes that he is in. Paresh Rawal does not resemble Sunil Dutt in either looks or mannerisms, but brings a quiet strength and dignity to his role. Manisha Koirala, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor and Dia Mirza have bit roles and do full justice to them. Rest of the cast are good in their respective roles.

Final Word

At times heartbreaking, at times bland, this is a film is a definite one time watch for Ranbir Kapoor’s towering performance as Sanjay Dutt.

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