Is Sanju trying to White Wash Dutt’s Image?


Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir Kapoor
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  • Written by:

    Pratibha bissht

    pratibhabissht@mtkenyatimes.co.ke   

    Sanju is a 2018 Indian biographical film directed by Raj Kumar Hirani and written by Raj Kumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. It was jointly produced by Raj Kumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Sanju is a biopic on controversial star Sanjay Dutt and this movie is minting money at the box office. It has earned Rs 186.41 crore in first six days of its release. Ranbir plays Sanjay Dutt in the film. Ranbir Kapoor has earned praise for playing Sanjay Dutt in Sanju movie. This movie was titled “Sanju” because Sanjay dutt’s mother Nargis used to call him Sanju. This movie was released worldwide on 29.june.2018.

    Sanju is a blockbuster movie but still there are some facts and figure which are overlooked by director Raj kumar Hirani.

    The film begins by comparing Sanjay Dutt with Mahatma Gandhi and ends with the actor doing ‘Gandhigiri’ inside Yerawada perison. Sanjay Dutt is a son of the screen legend Nargis and the much-respected actor-activist-politician Sunil Dutt. The film skips Sanjay Dutt’s childhood and takes us through his work on his debut film, his mother’s illness, his relationship with his father, his alcoholism and drug addiction, the allegations of involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, his arrest under the draconian and now lapsed TADA, the acquittal on terror charges and conviction under the Arms Act, his jailing and eventual release after completing his jail term.

    Raj Kumar Hirani has tried to whitewash Dutt’s image and it’s not just in the context of his association with the underworld, most of his filmography is also absent from Sanju. Sanjay debuted in Bollywood with Rocky (1981), He went on to work over hundred films in next thirty 37 years of his career, but none of these films made it to Sanju and then Munnabhai directed by Hirani, is the second film mentioned in the biopic, as if no other film mattered in his life, not even “Vaastav”!

    Is it because the movie could have brought the focus back to his underworld connections? Sanjay Dutt was in touch with Karachi-based gangster Chotta Shakeel even after he was released on bail. The controversial audio tapes of 2000 are not touched upon either, where he was allegedly in conversation with underworld figure Chotta Shakeel, who is based in Pakistan, Besides, if he was so scared of gangsters, why was he shopping for them? In a chat transcript Sanjay Dutt mentions a T-shirt which he had bought for Chotta Shakeel!

    However, the film fails to mention that he had also gone on the record to admit that he already owned three licensed fire arms which, he reportedly told the police, he purchased because of his love for hunting. So why did he need any more weapons? (He later withdrew the latter statement.).

     In Sanju: There is no friend like Sanjay Dutt and he proves that by showing what a loyal friend he is Kamlesh Kanhaiyal Kapsi but the reality is Sanjay Dutt put several friends in trouble. He gave theatre owner Ajay Marwah a 9 mm pistol during the 1993 Mumbai riots. Marwah had to make rounds of the TADA (Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (Prevention)) court for 13 years before being acquitted .Another friend, Yusuf Nalwala, was sentenced to five years in prison for going to Dutt’s home, taking the AK-56 and disposing it on the actor’s instructions

    In Sanju: Sanjay Dutt got bail, but it does not mention how that happened but the bail did not come easily. Sunil Dutt, Sanjay’s father and a Congress politician, pleaded with Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray (politician) to get his son released. Maharashtra was then ruled by the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition and Bal Thackeray ran the state government by ‘remote control’. He personally intervened in the matter and had Sanjay Dutt released. In return for Thackeray’s favour, Sunil Dutt did not contest the next Lok Sabha election from the then Mumbai North West constituency.

    Some of claims made in the film are hilarious. For example, he is forced into drugs by a man called Zubin Mistry. At one point, the film says that Zubin Mistry himself used glucose powder while giving hardcore drugs to Sanjay Dutt.

    In Sanju: Sanjay Dutt is a family man who loves his sisters but in 2009, after his father’s death, Sanjay felt he was the rightful heir and stated to the media: There is only one Mr and Mrs Dutt in our Pali Hill house: That’s me and Maanyata.

    He perhaps said it in the context of his sister Priya Dutt who married Owen Roncon in 2003, but did not change her surname.

    Sanjay Dutt went a step further and declared: ‘Even Indira Gandhi dropped her father’s surname after marriage.’

    In Sanju: Sunil Dutt was threatened by ‘Mastan’, a Bombay gangster who told him not to marry a Muslim woman, Nargis.

    We can assume that the ‘Mastan’ mentioned was Haji Mastan Mirza, the late smuggler-turned-politician. Nargis had a relationship with a married Hindu (Raj Kapoor) through much of the 1950s, but no one seemed to have a problem with that. So why would ‘Mastan’ have an issue with Sunil Dutt marrying Nargis?  Moreover, in 1958 -the year Sunil Dutt married Nargis — the Bombay underworld was not that powerful. Besides, Haji Mastan had an adopted son, Sunder Shekhar. If he was so communal, would he have adopted a Hindu? Towards the end of his life, Mastan floated a political party, the All India Dalit Muslim Suraksha Mahasang. If he was so communal, would he form a party that went beyond Muslims, and included Dalits.

    In between, the so-called biopic blames everybody but not the actor himself for all the wrongs that have happened in his life. There are spoilers ahead, so proceed at your own will. Hirani portrays the “sensationalist media” as the real culprit for whatever happened to Sanjay Dutt, as if it was the media and not Sanjay Dutt who made the mistakes. In today’s scenario, blaming the media is just convenient. The media may be sensationalist, sure, but it cannot be held responsible for your misdeeds. Mistakes you made may be covered, but it also gives you the opportunity to be heard. It works both ways. The critics also took issue with the ease with which the media was painted as a “villain”.

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