wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

An engaging 2.5+ hours with a film that might as well have been titled Sanju ke baba or anti-medianama. Enjoyed it better by not thinking of him as Sanjay Dutt but more as a shameless, callous, blame-shifter manbaby.

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Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Running time: 160 minutes
Genres: Biography
More Movie Info

Sanju - Preview

The good news is and the bad news could be that Ranbir Kapoor looks mind-blowingly like Sanjay Dutt. As a basic requirement, Ranbir Kapoor would have to look like Sanjay Dutt and be able to emulate his mannerisms. So far, so brilliantly good. But now, over the 2-3 hour span of the film, Ranbir Kapoor has to be able to make us forget how well he has transformed so that we feel like we are watching Sanjay Dutt himself.

Other than that, as intriguing as Dutt’s life has been and as balanced a view the trailer makes it out to be, maintaining that balance would be an uphill task over the length of the film. At the same time, even though we are used to Rajkumar Hirani’s films being message films, the message of this film might quickly just become, “My name is Sanjay Dutt, and I am not a terrorist.”

I am really hoping the movie will go beyond being just another hagiographical account, that too one in which the hero of the story had many a vice.

Sanju releases on 29th June 2018.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Sanju reminded me of the famous ‘mausiji’ scene from Sholay. Our hero is a self-confessed drug addict, womanizer, listless, brazen brat. But, like Sholay’s true friend, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajkumar Hirani is trying his best to convince us, the audience (mausiji) of the friend’s innocence. Only that this 2 minute 55 second scene is a 2 hour 40 minute film. However, like the scene, the film builds up and keeps you engaged. It really helped that I tried to forget that this was a celebrity’s story who society has already judged one way or the other.

I don’t remember the last time a film made me analyse a flawed character so.

Stripped off the celebrity status, Sanju is the story of a troubled child who seems like he needed parenting at least until he was 44. This child had self-esteem problems induced by daddy issues. He became a rebel. When a gullible, clueless, rich brat becomes a rebel, he ends up making the wrong friends and taking up self-destructive habits. The first few times he used drugs, there were triggers. And then he became an addict. Till here, the story sounds like it could have happened to any family. Under pressure, a child took an escape route. Sure not all people who disappoint their parents turn to drugs. But some do. And he was one.

When this child, now a man, was accused of storing arms, he accepted the charge and said he had his reasons. And ever since, the man says, the press blew it out of proportion. Sure, not everyone who has their reasons store arms, I don’t know if some of them do, but this particular character did. However, it all comes across as pushing the blame to the situation, a bad choice in friendship, an excuse that seems absolutely acceptable in the situation and so on.

And just when I was about to dismiss the character as a blame-shifting loser, I realised, that he does own up to some of his greatest flaws – not being loyal in his relationships and not being professional. The audacity is appalling and unacceptable. And also, at these times at least, he does not try to shift the onus elsewhere. It does seem like the man’s self-esteem issues continue though, for he has a film made about this life to prove things to a world he claims to not care about.

I don’t remember the last time a film made me analyse a flawed character so. Now, you add on the Sanjay Dutt layer and it only makes you wonder about the things deliberately kept out of the film. It almost certainly is deliberate about leavin his love life out. The man has been married thrice. It doesn’t even talk much about the person he might be to the people around him. He must have some redeeming factors, right? He seems to have a supportive wife and people who like him enough to have a film made with the sole purpose of proving his innocence. So, hagiographical the film is certainly not.

Well, at least not about Sanjay Dutt. Sunil Dutt, his father though, is put on a pedestal like no other biography could. About a fourth of the film seems to be dedicated towards how great the man was, even if he wasn’t the best of fathers to a young Sanjay Dutt. And towards the end it actually seems like Sanjay Dutt’s intention was to pay a tribute to his father through a film. Yes, it is difficult to suppress the feeling that our hero is still trying to please his father.

Likewise, the film spends quite a lot of its energy by being shockingly vocal about the protagonist’s angst against the media. At first, you empathize with him. Then they point a finger at you, the audience who consumes whatever is dished out by the media. And then it gets so intense by the end of the film, that you wonder if it weren’t for the media, would Sanjay Dutt have not been a drug addict or not store a fire-arm, out of innocence or not. At the end though, if the film has convinced even a fraction of the audience that it shouldn’t believe everything it reads or sees, it would be a great service to humanity. It is a message film, after all. So much so that wonder if the film is even about Sanjay Dutt.

Stripped off the celebrity status, Sanju is the story of a troubled child who seems like he needed parenting at least until he was 44.

Rajkumar Hirani has made some very bold choices here. Sure, in a way it is understandable even if not acceptable, that his Sanjay Dutt’s first two wives are barely mentioned. Similarly, we can also take in stride why the film is mum about Nargis Dutt’s role in her son’s childhood. It might help that I am not even remotely curious about Sanjay Dutt’s life. But we have to admire the things that made it to the film. It must have been tempting to squeeze in some of the Sanju-baba-lovers into the film, even if it was an fellow-inmate that he was nice too. It must have been tough call to be so in-the-face and unabashed about Sanjay Dutt’s promiscuity and disloyalty. It does create a love-hate relationship with the character.

Of course, a lot of how the film engages comes from the actors. Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal and Jim Sarbh anchor the film, even though their accents slip every once in a while. The women don’t really have too much of a role to play in this film, don’t know about Sanjay Dutt’s life. Ranbir Kapoor is uncannily similar to Sanjay Dutt in looks and body language. There is this one very short scene when he is given a slo-mo and I smirked at the exaggerated Sanju-baba gait. Only to realise that is how the man walks, at least in his films. Sure, he slips and it feels like he is trying to hard at times. It throws you off when you realise it is not Sanjay Dutt after all. Also, the drug addiction scenes don’t convince you how down and out Sanju is. The drastic actions don’t tie in and feel episodic. Now, I haven’t been able to figure if it is because of the actor, the writing or the direction.

We do know Rajkumar Hirani has a tendency to keep things light, even in the most serious situations. This might as well be the disconnect between the character’s actions and the situation. Or it could be a lack of even pace between times of rehabilitation and usage. He seemed more sober than stoned. Fortunately, the story is gripping enough. If nothing else, you wonder if it will show the kids why they shouldn’t do drugs, without it becoming a lecture. Oh there you go, another message. And let’s not forget the parenting tips slided in.

In Sanju though, Hirani goes a step further in how the story is presented too. It could have been a straightout chronological account or a narration from the horse’s mouth or his best friend through out. But, the non-linearity adds value to the film. It is not used as a mere tool to keep things interesting.

I also like the way Rajkumar Hirani weaves songs into his films. There is something very Hindi-filmy and fresh about them. Even the unnecessarily nasal ones. Yes, you wonder if Sunil Dutt actually chastised Sanjay Dutt or was it just Hirani’s way of paying tribute to Sunil Dutt’s lip-syncing act in ‘ik chatur naar’ of Padosan.

There are many details in the film that will widen your eyes with disbelief, “No, that didn’t really happen! Did it?” They might be true, they might be embellished truth or pure altered for dramatic effect. But, it worked in keeping me engaged about a character that I otherwise wouldn’t care about in a film and don’t really care about in real life. Well, at least through most of it. So, whether or not I am sensitized to Sanjay Dutt’s plight, I had a good time in the theaters.

- meeta, a part of the audience

26 reviewers(?) - 15 yays 9 so-so 2 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, SANJU is an entertaining saga that blends emotions, humour and drama in adequate doses. It is powerful, engaging, emotional as well as compelling. The combination of Rajkumar Hirani and Ranbir Kapoor works like a dream. At the box office, despite not being a ‘typical Rajkumar Hirani family entertainer’, SANJU will score tremendously and emerge as a Monstrous Hit! Don’t miss it! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Tushar P. Joshi, Bollywood Life : ...Sanju is undoubtedly Ranbir Kapoor’s career best performance and will fetch him all the awards and recognition. Don’t go looking for a fair and accurate depiction of Dutt’s life and you won’t be disappointed. Watch it for the sheer entertainment it provides and the unmatched versatility of Ranbir Kapoor. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...Watch Sanju—it’s an emotional roller-coaster that will give you the satisfaction of having read a bestseller. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Sanju tells you superstars are humans too. They can make bad, even horrible decisions -- like every other human being on earth and we shouldn’t be quick to judge them. Rajkumar Hirani, the director has made a hugely entertaining film for the audience. And for his friend Sanjay Dutt, he has given a vehicle to finally tell his version of events and say to his detractors -- bas ho gaya yaar! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Swetha Ramakrishan, FirstPost : ...Ultimately Sanju is Ranbir Kapoor and Vicky Kaushal's film. Both actors pull even the flawed parts of the film together, and neatly wrap the histrionics with flavour and variety. Sanju is an entertaining film, and has all the elements of a blockbuster — but one wishes the honesty and nuance went beyond just the performances. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Samrudhi Ghosh, india today : ...It is not child's play to make a biopic, particularly on someone whose life has been splashed all over the tabloids, in excruciating detail. Given the kind of biopics we have seen in commercial mainstream Bollywood so far, Sanju has definitely raised the bar. Watch Sanju for Ranbir Kapoor, Rajkumar Hirani, the laughs, the tears... in a nutshell, everything. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Nilesh Ramchanadani, Kia Gia : ...On the whole, 'Sanju' does not star Ranbir Kapoor, it stars Sanjay Dutt and we'll never believe there was an actor acting his scenes. What the makers skipped is debatable but what they've shown consider every bit of appreciation. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Sanju entertains, surprises & blows your mind. Ranbir Kapoor stays in the zone & rules it. Vicky Kaushal is going to fly high after this one. Rajkumar Hirani achieves the excellence 5th time in a row! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Komal Nahta, Komal Nahta : ...On the whole, Sanju is a definite blockbuster. It will work wonders for Ranbir Kapoor and Vicky Kaushal in particular. It will also boost the image of Sanjay Dutt in the public eye, which will help in Dutt’s future career. It can easily cross the Rs. 250-crore mark in India. It shouldn’t be a surprise if it even joins the 300-crore club, making it one of the biggest blockbusters of Hindi cinema!! Its business in multiplexes will be HUGE. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...Sanju will make you laugh and will also bring a lump to your throat and I bet that Ranbir Kapoor will walk away with all the possible awards this year. This weekend, do yourself a favour and go watch Sanju.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Writer Abhijat Joshi should be credited for rhyming ‘hopeless’ and ‘topless’ while furnishing a context that isn’t forced. A scene worth mentioning features an odd exchange between Dutt and a certain politician. As Dutt apprises him of his situation, the latter dozes off mid-conversation, only to wake up seconds later to pick it up from where he left off. Some may complain that Sanju makes light of the convicted actor’s inglorious misadventures. But if one really hoped for a bittersweet account, we’d watch an Anurag Kashyap.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Sanju is the film that it is because of the infectious energy Ranbir Kapoor injects into the film. An absolute must-watch. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Ranbir covers a wide range of Dutt's changing physicality -- the minutest of details are captured in his shoulders, eyes, frame, voice -- but it's the internalisation of Dutt and the intelligence to know what to highlight and where to hold back that lends candour borderlining on conceit such awe-inspiring authenticity. ... full review

Thumbs up, Sify Movies : ...Overall, Sanju with a special emphasis on the father-son relationship, as well as his bond with his friend Kamli, is a heart-warming tale, honestly told. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...Hirani's idea of making a film on his life has certainly paid off. Yes, there’s a lot missing, but even then, this is still an incredible story of a man and a movie star who made massive mistakes, walked through fire, survived it and lived one heck of a life. ... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...Signing off, I was personally expecting Sanjay Dutt to come on screen in the end addressing the youngsters, requesting them to SAY NO TO DRUGS with folded hands, giving the example of his own life, as seen in the film.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...In the end, the blame for all the trauma the family faced is laid at the doorstep of a sensation-seeking media; there’s even a song to that effect with the end credits, when the real Sanjay shakes a leg with his screen avatar.... full review

So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...In totality, Sanju can be your weekend pill of entertainment. Watch it for some really good performances. You might give some sympathy to the controversial star. ... full review

So-So, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...Sanju belongs though to Ranbir Kapoor who drowns out his own personality so completely in favour of the Baba persona, that in that closing song when he appears as himself – slim, handsome and not looking ravaged like his character – I had to remind myself that this is in fact what he looks like in real life. ... full review

So-So, by Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times : ...Sanju is another gem in Ranbir Kapoor’s repertoire, but the same can’t be said about Raj Kumar Hirani. Sanju is watchable but a very average fare. ... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Still, what we get, and how we get it, in Sanju, is mostly engaging, and some of it good enough to make you laugh out loud in pleasure, especially when Hirani is killing it. But you wonder too what the film chose to leave out, and you wonder if this would have been more of a film if those things had been in here. ... full review

So-So, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...It makes sense that Hirani would get Ranbir Kapoor—whose characters are often directionless—to play the ultimate lost boy of Hindi cinema. The imitation (astonishing at times) takes over the performance; I found myself more impressed than affected by it.... full review

So-So, by Mohar Basu , MiD DAY : ...These are glaring hiccups in an otherwise watchable and frankly, very enjoyable film. Just don't hope for a warts-and-all biopic. I guess that one Dutt is taking to his grave because this easy-to-offend world we live in doesn't have the objectivity to stomach that tale.... full review

So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...Despite the creepy similarity to the real Sanju baba, this film remains what it is, a pig.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Kaushal’s terrific performance overshadows Paresh Rawal’s one-note turn as Sunil Dutt, and if there is anybody in Sanju who steals some of the attention from Ranbir Kapoor, it’s him.... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Ultimately, the film is not as much about the flaws in the hero as about him being wronged by the media which is yet a convenient villain.... full review

114 tweeters(?) - 104 yays 3 so-so 7 nays

Zaynifsid: Just watched #Sanju, Brilliant acting by #RanbirKapoor , awesome direction as usual by @RajkumarHirani and a very g…

YOGESHNEHRA14: #sanju movie is a nice movie and i salute its director that he has made a such a great movie on Sanjay Dutt's lift.…

yashkkansara: Watched #Sanju! how brilliant Ranbir Kapoor is as an Actor. Simply Incredible! Vicky Kaushal too. Very nice movie

VirkSh786: You know what’s ironic? That now Rat fans will likely take the credits away from the biggest director of India just…

UjjwalK81042180: Sanju is a very special nd emotional movie, what a father can do for his son, revealed by seeing this movie, Ranbir…

TiwariJagadish: Wonderfull content, excellent #biopic #RajKumarHirani another master #sanju salute #ranbir

thisisnageshwar: #Sanju is an OUTSTANDING film, @RajkumarHirani is a GENIUS .This film will give you goosebumps, Smile on your face…

tanejamainhoon: Finished second half and have cried another bucket. I have so much to say and write about this film and one tweet i…

SunidhiChauhan5: #sanju is MUST watch!! Thank you @RajkumarHirani and #RanbirKapoor for this experience.#respect

SRKsMoin: Just One Word #SanjuReview "Kar Har Maidan Fateh" Sureshot Blockbuster! What a Performance Man...RK You Nailed it.…


sreeparnas: Cnt imagine anyone else pull off #SanjayDutt th way #RanbirKapoor has done! #Sanju is a #MustWatch for…

sirilpalreddy: #Sanju Has been watched. Amazing story telling. Ranbir kapoor take a bow. @RajkumarHirani you r a master story tell…

siraj_majhi: #Sanju from is temporary class is permanent proved #Ranbir

sidhantaagarwal: Everyone must watch Sanju and acknowledge two facts: 1. Baba is an inspiration 2. Ranbir is mind-blowing #sanju

ShubhoBoidya: just saw #Sanju Honestly review : _★★★★★ #Ranbirkapoor sir u killed it.. love your acting.. very emotional Heart t…

SHIVAPURI12: Must watchable movie eyes r wetted with full of tears.... Every sene is very emotional......... Close to heart

sharma99126: #Sanju what a movie speechless... everyone performance is phenomenal #RanbirKapoor nailed it @RajkumarHirani sir ha…

shadow9880: #Sanju yeyyy!!

sbhangs: What a solid comeback by Ranbir Kapoor!Absolute pleasure to watch him portray #Sanju so effortlessly!!

sarkar_suparno: Here's my Sanju review. A must watch film 4.5/5 #Sanju #SanjuReview #RanbirKapoor @duttsanjay @ibtimes_india

sanooberroohi: #ranbirkapoor #sanju Sanju movie... one of the best movies I have watched ever. Every character was acted well by a…

SanjuMovie_FC: Music composer-singer Palash mucchal IGed...... "First day first show... Outstanding" #Sanju #RanbirKapoor

sainikhilreddy7: All awards of this year will be bagged by #RanbirKapoor . Deserves a national award tooo. He is no more a normal ac…

rucchitamishra: What an amazing movie #Sanju! You will be spellbound by the performance of #Ranbirkapoor @RajkumarHirani is a man w…

RKsVishakha: SANJU :- #RanbirKapoor is a treasure of talent. so much similarity, so much alertness while playing dutt. This mov…

RaviS_2012: Awesome movie #Sanju ! @RajkumarHirani @duttsanjay #RanbirKapoor @SirPareshRawal @mkoirala @vickykaushal09…

RaviAKP: #Sanju .... An emotional ride ... Excellent... Must watch

rao_goka: #Sanju is Brilliantly Executed & Superbly Performed Film. #RanbirKapoor You are Just OUTSTANDING

RanbirK23164231: 2018 ki sabse badi film hogi sanju #RajkumarHiraniFilms sir aapki mahnt dekh rahi h es movie me aur sir sare actor…

ranbir29june: #Sanju There was pin drop silence at every emotional scene though the theatre was house full. It is only possible…

rajinderrawatss: #sanju the movie Every father must watch it. Every son must watch it Father Coz U haven't created a soul in you…

RajendraGunjal_: I rated 4.5/5 for sanju on #SaridonHeadacheMeter

rahulkumarsaho1: I think @aliaa08 is lucky for #RanbirKapoor. #Sanju ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Rahulah50025557: #Sanju superb acting #ranbirkapoor #pateshrawal and @vickykaushal09

rahula2z: Ranbir Kapoor nailed it... superb performance. The Reel Sanju changed the perception of Real Sanju #Sanju…

rahul439verma: You enter the theater as the fan of Ranbir Kapoor. You exit as the fan of Sanjay Dutt. Awesome work Raju Hirani and…

RaghavPurohit7: Never loved or cried this amount the amount I I did for #Sanju . Awesome movie, gr8 work by @RajkumarHirani Ranbir and all the cast.

prof_mshukla: #Sanju Absolute class ! acting and direction ...Ek number Hatsof to #RajKumarHirani and #RanbirKapoor #SanjuReview #SanjayDutt

pritiarora1995: #Sanju What a film ... @iamRanbirKapoor Love you

paponmusic: #Sanju is a treat! It made last night so special! Big love to @RajkumarHirani #RanbirKapoor and of course to #SanjuBaba

nihal32: Sanju is awesome..What a story..what a film!.. Outstanding performance by #RanbirKapoor as @duttsanjay .. Phenomena…

navjyotslambor: #Sanju What an amazing movie with brilliant performances by #RanbirKapoor #PareshRawal . Purely intriguing story an…

Nandu_4everPK: Superb Emotional Ride #Sanju

MSD7Ronaldo: Sanju is a Masterpiece..#SanjuReview #SanjuReview

MituRohit2: #Sanju is an mind blowing movie.This film will give you Smile on your face & tear in your eyes.outstanding perform…

MeeJabraFan: #Sanju deserved EID release , B grade #Race3 ne acchi release date waste kr di .. last year bhi Tubelight ne Barbad ki .

ManojUnnik: Watched #Sanju . Great direction and play. @iamRanbirKapoor has completely done justice to the character of…

mahwashajaz_: #Sanju is masterful storytelling, @RajkumarHirani knows cinema like no one else in #Bollywood. #RanbirKapoor is at…

Madanadhikari24: Watched #sanju . what a film.after seeing #sanju i added one more person i my life. i became a fan of @duttsanjay .…

lost_boy23: Just watched #Sanju wht a movie Ranbir kapoor just nailed it oscar level performance proud fr been his fan #SanjuReview

Losereshwar: What a film, #sanju is extra ordinary. #lovingit #firsthalf #SanjuReview

kunalv1981: #sanju @RajkumarHirani एक बेहतरीन फिल्म के लिए आपको धन्यवाद। रणबीर से बेहतर कोई दूसरा संजू नहीं हो सकता था।…

Komalka39935494: What a magical performance by #ranbirkapoor as #sanju loved the movie

KM_RISHABH: Finally a good movie to watch/enjoy #SANJU

KhannaPreeti: #Sanju what a spectacular movie. A must watch. Ranbir Kapoor .... speechless.

KhalelKhazi: M-I-N-D-B-L-O-W-I-N-G Outstanding, @RajkumarHirani has again proven why is the master story teller. #Sanju

Keshab64782956: Brilliant direction sir, everybody nailed their roles, the real justice is given by u to sanjya dutt by sanju movie…

karkiDk17: Awesome movie #Sanju #SanjuReview #SanjayDutt

kanishka_Samrat: Brilliant performance by #Ranbir Can’t get out of the emotion of #Sanju Undoubtedly, one of the best biopics ever

jsifti: #Sanju is a treat to #RanbirKapoor from @RajkumarHirani ...A turning point....

johnsoncinepro: When you've set your goals firm, there's no way it goes missing. Congrats #RaviVarman for proving it over n again.…

JITENDRAm18: Powerfull Perforamnce ! Great Acting | Great Direction | Good Reviews | Result

jignashaax: #Sanju WAS SUCH A GOOD MOVIE. God bless Ranbir Kapoor and Paresh Raval

itz_vj: #Sanju 4/5. Emotional roller coaster ride, the life and times of #SanjayDutt, told beautifully by @RajkumarHirani .…

itsmesadath: For #Sanju just one word.... AMAZING... This film will make you laugh, make you emotional and will make you die fo…

isalilsand: #Sanju is a must watch!! #RanbirKapoor and #RajkumarHirani need a standing ovation!!! Can't describe in words how the film Is!! #SanjuReview

imrrpandey: #Sanju first half completed...FANTASTIC #Ranbirkapoor nailed it. @RajkumarHirani

imfurkanpatel: #Sanju fantastic movie. superb acting by #RanbirKapoor . Just loved it #karharmaidanfateh @duttsanjay

ImAlthafHussain: #OneWordReview : Brilliant !!! What A Film !!! Ranbir Is Outstanding In The Film !!! Engaging Story !!! #Sanju Is A…

IamSrkFanBoy: It's interval..what a movie..what a performance.. Ranbir is soul..that kamlesh winning hearts..paresh rawal too…

IamSampathNandi: Just watched #Sanju...what an emotional journey... take a bow @RajkumarHirani sir n #RanbirKapoor. It's beyond word…

iamankandan: Here I'm done with one another blockbuster called 'Sanju'. From the very beginning of my childhood I used to be a s…

hydbhagat: #Sanju loved it.. Dark & Emotional

HrithikJalan: Just watched Sanju. A fantastic movie by all means. Full of emotions , laughs and much more. Went to the theatre sa…

Grewal_SInder: 1st half - there is not even a single dull moment,plenty of hilarious scenes & many emotional ones that will break…

dpveuu: Must watch film #Sanju #RanbirKapoor @RajkumarHirani

DivyanshPandit9: Baba bolta hai abhi bas ho gaya. @RajkumarHirani hits it out of the park once again. #RanbirKapoor is ❤️ best acto…

DEEPUTIWARI8: A wonderful, Emotional and Amazing Movie...! All credit goes to Acting of Ranbir kapoor and baba ki Story ko..!❤

daringaqi: #OneWordReview... #Sanju: M-A-S-T-E-R-P-I-E-C-E. Powerful, Engaging, Compelling! #Sanju is an emotional journey!…

Cricketician_: #Sanju is such a wonderful movie✌️ I suggest everyone to go and watch it

chocolatygirl25: I've watched Sanju and rated 5/5 #Headachemeter

charan_che: #sanju awesome film , awesome acting , awesome writing . But only if you see it as fiction. Real life of Sanjay is…

beSANYAMit: #sanju थिएटर से निकलकर @mkoirala , विकी कौशल और ज़िम्स अरब की ऐक्टिंग दिमाग़ में घूम रही है. @RajkumarHirani ने इनसे कमाल का काम लिया.

BeingKaddy: #Sanju: A mother’s unconditional love can heal any pain. A father can go to any limits to revive his son. A human b…

babarsher_: #Sanju One of the best movies

asrispanta3: #Sanju Arey bhaiii fad diya Kya movie hai 1000000/10 Ranbir and HIRANI'S carrer best movie This movie will make u l…

ashutosh1091: Just saw #sanju All were prepared for #RanbirKapoor's acting he was just outstanding and nailed his role But…

ashusingh517: Just saw #sanju movie and i got fascinated by Ranbir Kapoor work. Ranbir and @vickykaushal09 brilliant actors.

ashish_jasani: #SANJU has been watched and I'm officially a BABA fan & Ranbir Kapoor's performance will blow your mind ! Sanju is…

Arwinder267: #Sanju will break all records...

anshul01703187: #Sanju Raj Kumar sir ur brilliant

anand63: Sanju Baba love you more

AnaiKomagan: Rajkumar Hirani’s #Sanju Is Easily This Year’s Best Film❤️

amoldeshmukh099: One reply for the movie #Sanju is AWESOME

amankatiyar14: I have rated the amazing sanju on #Headachemeter what about you

Akkilovers_RW: Go and watch #Sanju to experience real Sanjay Dutt on screen must watch everyone. Ranbir's acting can't describe in…

AkashVlog: #Sanju an awesome Movie #mustwatch @ranbirrk @RajkumarHirani @duttsanjay #SanjuReview

Ahsan_Shahzad10: I just watched #Sanju I am speechless. This is definitely movie of the year. #RanbirKapoor killed it as Sanjay Dutt. A Wow movie..

AdvaniLakshya: The most promising film after a very long time #Sanju . Thank you @RajkumarHirani for giving such a spectacular mo…

adhilashraf: #sanju...Really a masterpiece... #Ranbir and #RajKumarHirani .. the best combo in the bollywood.

actorchayan: Sanju superbbbbb movie. Ranbir rocks.

_surya_prabhas_: Ranbir❤️❤️❤️ #Sanju

_hemanshu_: Just came out of #sanju and jus couldn’t control my emotions, hard believe my childhood hero @duttsanjay has gone t…

rekhatripathi: संजू अच्छी फिल्म है लेकिन देखने के बाद @RajkumarHirani से एक सवाल- फिल्म बनाई है कि मीडिया पर भड़ास निकाली है?…

ekjokerrr: #Sanju Good film but not a great film. I was expecting more. Hirani has made better films...this isnt his best but…

Chikati_rajyam: Strictly avg.. just watch it for RanbirKapoor's acting #Sanju

tanmay_mahajan: Sanju movie teaches us dat evn if u do drugs, screw around, possess guns, hav contacts wid terrorists, u r still en…

Tanisharathore3: Sanju Movie is not at all upto the mark,Ranbir acted brilliant but this movie is more on friendships and father son…

SrkiansBoss: #OneWordReview What a Waahiyaat film. What a waahiyaat acting by Gaybir Kapoor #Sanju

parthsarora: Saw Sanju in the morning, and the total number of watchable films made by Rajkumar Hirani remains at 1.

karan_ughrora: sanju matt dekho baccho please

IamKabuliwala: If you hate your life and money watch #Sanju Never felt wasting time and money this much. #Raju mujhe mera paisa wapas chaheyi.

BeingAli_: Just watched #Sanju with the Full packed theater!! One of the best boring movie I ever seen!! My suggestion for all…

6 readers - 3 yays 0 so-so 3 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by TimELiebe : Not My Cup of Chai, Sorry

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Bhushan Rathod

Yay! Thumbs Up, by erparmar : nice movie

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Vishal Bhatia : super duper hit...

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Anuj

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Fan

Nay! Thumbs Down, by fran

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Sanjay Dutt’s Biography

What Worked

  • The politician scene
  • Mahesh Manjrekar’s scene even though I had seen it in the trailer

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Sanjay Dutt doesn’t read the manuscript of his biography before it gets printed?
  • Product placement – Air India
  • The newspaper editor has the recording ready as if he knew Sunil Dutt was going to come any time now.
  • Sunil Dutt switches between “aap” and “tu” for Sanjay Dutt.
  • Kapasi had a flourishing IT business in 1993?


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Did the Mercedes that Anoushka Sharma was driving have a BMW logo on its hood?

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A slap here or there
  • Language: Implication of abusive words a couple of times
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Talk about sex, mention of prostitution.
  • Concept: Sanjay Dutt’s Biography
  • General Look and Feel: A bright Rajkumar Hirani film

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (22)

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Vishal Bhatia

must watch.... super duper hit. best movie of Raju.


I have added your review on IMDb critics review pages.

Bhushan Rathod

Nice movie,keeps u engaged 2.5hrs.Ranbeer kapoor is fabulous.
I don’t remember the last time a film made me analyse a flawed character so.

Meeta - wow. Not sure I really want to get into the psychodrama of Sanjay Dutt's life - especially not starring Ranbir Kapoor (not one of my favorite actors) as Sanjay Dutt, or an obvious analogue.

Maybe it's because I find myself liking Sanjay Dutt, off-camera screwups and all, a LOT more than I do Ranbir Kapoor...?


The year 2006 had two movies that we loved, and still love to this date. They were Lage Raho Munnabhai and Bhool Bhulaiya. Here is a part of what I wrote on wogma page for Lage Raho Munnabhai (with some spell-checks integrated in this extract)

Me and my family particularly appreciated the fact that the whole "Gandhi" illusions were explained correctly and medically. It brought a sense of reality and logic to the proceedings. This was not the only film that year who did that, we distinctly remember that Bhool Bhoolaiya also medically and maturely explained the reasons behind the situation.

The budding director, responsibly and maturely explained and handled the "chemical locha" phenomenon and did not pass it on as a fantasy of a semi-lunatic.

Move over to the year 2018. The same director making a mockery of a the physical disabilities of a popular Prime Minister of India makes for a sickening watch. The PM concerned definitely was (and still is) suffering from an age inflicted medical condition, and to see a supposed responsible and mature director make fun of him to gain political brownie points is disgusting film making at the least.

The hero of the film too is presented as someone who can do no wrong but the media is after him for blood. The hero has no regret for his actions. He has excuses for all this vices. If I take drugs its because I have work pressure and my friends encouraged me, otherwise I would not take drugs. If I am friends with anti-socials it is because I have no choice, my career depends on their well-being. If I have terrorists as friends, ... well the director didn't even bother to explain that. A clear and unashamed attempt to selectively present incidents with only one point of view of a failed child turned a failed young man and actor (really??) and a failed human being.

I would have skipped the acting credits on this one, had it not been for a brilliant act by Vicky Kaushal. It will be unfair on my part to penalise him for the sins of Raju.

Sorry Rajubhai, you have just dropped from the pedestal that you had constructed.

PS: Good decision TimELiebe, skip this film unless you are a film addict like me or like the owner of this site.

@TimELiebe now that's a rare combination - likes Sanjay Dutt, but doesn't like Ranbir Kapoor :D

@Fan I found it very interesting that they kept the unabashed lack of regret as is without any excuses for that. They could have very easily shown how he had/has a heart of gold despite his flaws. But they didn't. Found that choice very interesting.

@Vikas thank you!


Completely agree with Fan. This is a shameless, shallow and desperate attempt to wash Sanjay of his sins and portray him as an "unfortunate" victim of circumstances and the media. As a biopic, this misses out on some key aspects of Sanjay's life like his first 2 wives, daughter Trishala and their relationship etc. Even if watched as a neutral film, this is a half baked execution. I'm actually quite surprised that such a substandard product is scoring well at the box office with some positive word of mouth. For me, this is easily Raju Hirani's most substandard film.


@meeta : "They could have very easily shown how he had/has a heart of gold despite his flaws. But they didn't. Found that choice very interesting." ~ they indeed have implied his heart of gold, trust Raju Hirani to keep this aspect a little subtle instead of hammering the point home.

@Anuj I did not see the heart of gold. In fact, I just realised that I came out disliking Sanjay Dutt as a person from an otherwise neutral opinion of him.


@Meeta: your point is valid if the intention was to make a "film". The intention here is not to make a film, but clearly to give a character certificate to a criminal convicted at each level of justice available in the country. Sometimes things don't have to be said for the message to pass on. The whole execution is driven by one single objective, to build up sympathy for a failed human being.

BTW: your analogy of Sholay has become viral. There are WhatsApp messages with a screenshot from that epic scene of Sholay with the message that story of film Sanju resumed in one photo.

Another interesting fact: whereas Bollywood is busy giving character certificates via biopics on Sanjay Dutt, Haseena Parkar, Haji Mastan, Dawood Ibrahim - I admire Hollywood for making biopics on Indian greats like Srinivas Ramanujam (the Man who knew infinity).


BTW one can guess the paid reviewers who are bumping up the rating of the film on every related website. Those people copy-paste good phrases made by other reviewers and blindly post it on all the sites without realising that they are pasting the exact phrase on the site of the person who is the author of the phrase. Just shows to what low level Raju and co goes to promote "the word of mouth" effect. No wonder imdb is flooding with a rating of 10 by first time visitors on imdb.

Just in case any extra proof was needed of the low level to which Raju has dropped to flog his product.


@Fan : Right from the time we had a rift on this very forum about PK up until now, Hirani's standards have dropped a long way despite his continuing box office prowess :P


@Anuj: having creative difference is not a rift. :-). I have always respected your knowledge and insight in hindi films, and also respected @Meeta's knowledge and passion for Hindi films. That respect doesn't mean that I have to compromise on my convictions. Well, rift or no rift, this time around we seem to agree that the latest product from the Hirani stable is bad?

Welcome back to the forum @Anuj.

@Fan yeah, a friend sent the meme to me which he had received. Pretty neat. Now, if only I could think of creating memes like this. I am sure, I can do one for every other film, if not all.


Another aspect worth mentioning is Hirani's repeated offence of making a JOKE of anything & everything that's not really worthy of joking about. Rapes & molestation is not funny & yet he got away with an entire "balatkar" sequence in 3 Idiots offering adequate guilty pleasure to viewers. That of course was not enough. Mr Hirani goes on to make light work of communal violence and religious intolerance in PK as if its a laughing matter worthy of giggles. On this occasion he's gone on to make a complete joke of serious psychological and womanizing habits like sleeping with 350 women, sleeping with your friend's gf to test her loyalty, doping, alcoholism etc. Such lowbrow humor is apt for slapstick Rohit Shetty or David Dhawan comedies which are watched for the sole purpose of cheap humor and guilty pleasure, not when a film maker pretends to take an intellectual and moral high ground by making films on socio political themes.

Kasturi Mukherjee

Very well-written review, Meetu! I love the way to write reviews. I haven't watched the movie myself.


Sanjay Dutt was already accepted in his movies, despite his turbulent personal life. But Raju's movie whitewashing him in all glory was a huge letdown. My comments below are exclusively based on the movie portrayal of him.

Definitely agree on an esteemed PM who has an actual illness responsible for his condition, and women were made caricatures in this film. Sanjay Dutt was the very few jailed under TADA who came back after a bail, thanks to his father's connections. Most felt sorry for his father, having to beg Raj Thackeray personally to get his son out on bail. I too could not fathom why it was always someone else who was made to take the blame for his mistakes. Somebody else was at fault for supplying him with drugs. He slept with girlfriend of his best friend and then gives the girl a
bad name while he is absolved immediately. It is the media to blame for
him being portrayed negatively, as if he is a man baby, who was being wrongly framed.

He was the pampered one in his family. His strained relations with his sisters were not shown; neither the agony faced by his first wife, or how he abandoned her during her cancer battles choosing infidelity instead or how he abandoned his daughter even. Also, I do not think people called sanjay a terrorist, they were more disappointed and shocked in his supplying weapons for the one of the biggest tragedies to hit mumbai. He was charged with hoarding and supplying arms to terrorists. Not to forget his under-world connections. Yet 'I am not a terrorist' is the one commonly repeated rebuttal in the movie, which does not make any sense. Obviously the movie is made because Sanjay Dutt went to Raju Hirani to make a movie on his story, so he could now start getting more film roles and audience sympathy.

Thanks Fan for being one of the few who can call a spade, a spade. Best movie review in my humble opinion. I appreciate your having guts and a clear articulating voice to call things as they are. Unfortunately, people like you are in the minority...


Oh, just re-read the Sholay nugget in here...actually sums it up pretty nicely. Anuj, agree this is a very substandard film...didn't expect this of Hirani.

"Stripped off the celebrity status, Sanju is the story of a troubled child who seems like he needed parenting (insert: and a lot of hand holding, spoon feeding, continuous pampering) at least until he was 44". Very well said, Meera.

In fact, in one of his interviews (easily found on Youtube), Sunil Dutt mentioned how Sanjay Dutt was the most pampered child, even as a boy.

awesome review......
nice blog


Majority of Indian audiences are a bunch of impractical fools prone to emotional manipulation based on caste, creed, culture, jingoism, emotions and what not! Politicians perform this manipulation on the election field and rallies, film makers like Raju Hirani & Yash Chopra in the past scam the audiences via overt melodrama and fake emotions on celluloid.

::@TimELiebe now that's a rare combination - likes Sanjay Dutt, but doesn't like Ranbir Kapoor :D ::

@Meeta - I know, and to qualify it I did really like him in BOMBAY VELVET, so maybe it's just the usual run of comedy masala vehicles he's in that I don't think he's a good fit for...?

Not living in India I don't know much of Sanjay Dutt's life outside of his movies, but everybody in our American movie group really enjoys him as an actor. From the odds&endss we pick up from 25,000 Km away, he sounds a bit like Robert Downey, Jr. or Kiefer Sutherland did before they got tossed in jail and cleaned up their acts - talented performers who became substance abusers off-camera, and got connected with some Very Bad People in the process. (I know there's a political element there which we only have the vaguest understanding of.)

I'm hoping that his time behind bars convinced him to straighten up some, at least....

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