The pace with which bollywood is moving forward with biopics , the day does not seem far away that biopic on one's life will be a gold plated and diamond studded dream in one's eyes. The logic and process of making a full length feature film in bollywood is pretty simple and in my opinion it is also pretty nonsensical. One does not need to be Gandhi, Lincoln or Mandela to have a film on his life, the person should be a headline maker no matter when did he make those headlines and what is even more unimportant is the nature of those headlines. If those headlines are positive then good but if those headlines are negative then there are studios, production houses, directors and screen writers who know how to carve out a hero of Greek tragedy out of those headlines and turn the film into one of the biggest money spinner of the year.
So this year there is a Greek hero introduced by Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi and that tragic Greek hero is Sanjay Dutt. Sanjay Dutt's biopic 'Sanju' opened with great critical response and most of the reviews were almost screaming that the film does not glorify Sanjay Dutt. But when I watched the film I found it quite vice versa.
Coincidentally just two days before watching 'Sanju' I watched 'Confessions of a Dengerous Mind' directed by George Clooney and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film starred Sam Rockwell as Chuck Baris- an American talk show host who claimed that he worked as a hitman for CIA. The basic difference between 'Sanju' and 'Confessions of a Dengerous Mind' is of honesty. Honesty in writing, direction, acting performances and most importantly honesty in story telling.
Unlike Abhijat Joshi's screenplay of , Charlie Kaufman's screenplay does not glorify Chuck Baris. On the contrary Kaufman saw a great story telling in the life of Chuck Baris and he just compiled all true and also not so true things about his life and wrapped it into a crisp and humourous screenplay and left everything to audience.On the other hand 'Sanju' largely focuses on the jail trips of Sanjay Dutt and his love and hate kind of relationship with addiction. The film completely skips Dutt's journey as an actor and impacts of his mistakes on his personal and professional fronts. This makes the film one dimensional, shallow and in most of it's parts - repetitive.
The film is perticularly hailed for its acting performances. But I felt that those are quite overrated too. Dia Mirza and Sonam Kapoor were just there for no reason. Anushka Sharma's character Vinnie Dias- who is a biographer and agrees to write on Dutt's life- during the initial period looked like a promising and strong character but due to poor character building the character completely fades during the later half of the film. Manisha Koirala did a decent job as Nargis but she also is in the queue of unimportant women characters of the film. Paresh Rawal who played Sunil Dutt completely failed to play the part. His performance in the film proves that one cannot play a Punjabi by just saying "puttar". I have never heard Sunil Dutt's accent but I am very well sure that he was not Gujrati accented. Ranbir Kapoor is a fine actor but I think his range is not as wide and vivid as most of his contemporaries posses. In the titular character sometimes he is just in the character and sometimes way out of the character. When Sam Rockwell played Chuck Baris he didn't take help of prosthetics or did something special to get into the skin of the character. It was just his charismatic performance which was enough to make audience to believe in the character. But even with few kilos of prosthetics and some digital touch ups Kapoor's "Sanju" fails to make any impact. Vicky Kaushal's performance was the only saving grace of the film. He overshadowed every actor with whom he shared frame. This man is getting better with every film.
A life can not exist without mistakes. Somewhere inside a person mistakes are inevitable reason of one's evolution. Take mistakes out of one's life the man will become a myth. And there is always a looming question mark on the authenticity of myth. What makes 'Confessions of a Dengerous Mind' a greater, better and honest film more than 'Sanju' is Kaufman and Clooney presented Chuck Baris as a man and unfortunately Hirani and Joshi desperately try to make Sanjay Dutt a myth.