Aarti Kapur Singh
Blockbuster Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani says he will begin the biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt in 2016, and has confirmed that he’s currently working on the script of the film.
Hirani is excited about the project having worked with Sanjay in the ‘Munnabhai’ series and the hugely successful ‘PK’ in 2014, also starring Aamir Khan. Sanjay, currently serving a five-year jail term, has had a series of ups and downs through his life, which will come to light in the biopic.
“Sanju was the first actor I worked with, in three movies. During his parole period I have met him regularly for 25 days, and I decided to make a film on his life, his relationship with his father (Sunil Dutt), his drug days, his career in films, underworld, his life in jail and so on,” Hirani said. “Sanjay Dutt’s life is a big story. During my conversations with him he spoke from his heart,” he added.
So was the biopic always in the pipeline? “We had no such plans initially, we were due to work on other projects”, claims the 52 year old director. But when the actor returned home from jail on a three-month parole and they met at Dutt’s place, they chatted for eight hours! “Sanjay told me a lot and I called him again the next day because I was very moved by what he told me. Abhijat and I sat with him for 25 days to know his full story. I used to edit ‘PK’, then arrive at his house at 5 or 6pm and be there till 3am, every day. I discovered that despite working with him, I only knew 1% of that man. There’s so much about him which he has never shared with anyone. And I saw a film there, waiting to be made” explained Hirani.
About the casting, Hirani said, “I haven’t even thought about that as we are still writing the scrip. Once it is finished, we’ll be able to see how the characters come across and who would be apt to play the characters.” Ranbir Kapoor has been approached to play the lead character, and he has shown keen interest. “Portraying Sanjay sir on screen is a big task and comes with a huge responsibility. He’s had a very entertaining, engaging, and a roller-coaster kind of a life. Biopics are hard because you have to celebrate such a giant man’s life on screen… I would really look forward to getting Sanjay Dutt alive on screen. It’s a very challenging character, very colourful… he’s had a very challenging life and I think it will be interesting to portray him on screen,” said Ranbir, who is a big fan of Sanjay Dutt.
One of the main challenges of stepping into Sanjay’s shoes is the obvious dissimilarity in their appearance, so Ranbir is beefing up for a more realistic portrayal of the character. “Ranbir is a great actor. And I am sure he will be able to do full justice to the role. We have told him how we will approach the story and he is excited about it,” said Hirani, clarifying that he can’t have “someone who looks like Sanju, but is a bad actor. I would rather have it the other way round.”
“It wasn’t necessary that we have to find an actor who resembles Sanju. Still, you look at Sanju’s picture from Rocky (1981) days and Ranbir’s. They both have a similar ‘stardom’ on their face,” explained Hirani, admitting that the audience is less concerned about physicality, than good acting.
Work on the film’s script has been on for the last six-seven months, and the story’s is starting to shap up. “It’s a challenge – how do you do it, what do you say in it? People shouldn’t get hurt, but still, you should tell the story,” stated Hirani.
The director has also discussed the project with Dutt, who has agreed that the film will not withhold any information about his life from the audience. “Banao picture!” was Sanjay’s reaction to the concept of the film.
And Hirani is firm about the content, too. “There is in no way that we are doing this to glorify Sanju. Neither are we doing this to show him in a bad light. We will show what it is, in a very straight manner. One would be shocked to know that so much can happen to one person in a lifetime. I am still meeting his family, friends and collecting material, researching for things about him. We have only three hours of run time. So definitely, we cannot show all phases. So we will touch some and leave some phases and characters out,” explained the director.
The buzz is that Amitabh Bachchan will play Sunil Dutt, as Sanjay always considered him as a father figure, and that shooting will commence once Sanju concludes his sentence. He is currently serving the remainder of a 5-year sentence after being convicted for illegal arms possession during the 1993 Mumbai bombings.
Get ready to discover the real story of Sanjay Dutt, in all its glory!
Sanjay’s saga : Munnabhai actor’s life will be presented in a compelling biopic
The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia