Sanju is a 2018 Indian biographical comedy-drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani and written by Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. It was jointly produced by Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra under the banners Rajkumar Hirani Films and Vinod Chopra Films respectively. The film follows the life of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, his addiction with drugs, arrest for alleged association with the 1993 Bombay bombings, relationship with his father, comeback in the industry, the eventual drop of charges from bombay blasts, and release after completing his jail term. Ranbir Kapoor stars as Dutt, along with an ensemble cast which features Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Manisha Koirala, Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Jim Sarbh.
In a conversation with Hirani, Dutt shared anecdotes from his life, which the former found intriguing and prompted him to make a film based on Dutt’s life. It was titled Sanju after the nickname Dutt’s mother Nargis used to call him. Principal photography began in January 2017 and was completed by January 2018. The film’s soundtrack was composed by Rohan-Rohan and Vikram Montrose, with A. R. Rahman as a guest composer. Fox Star Studios acquired the distribution rights of the film.
Sanju was released worldwide on 29 June 2018. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised Kapoor’s performance as well as Hirani’s direction; some criticised its supposed image-cleansing of its protagonist. It registered the highest opening for any film released in India in 2018, and on its third day, it had the highest single day collection ever for a Hindi film in India. With a worldwide gross of over ₹586.85 crore (US$82 million), Sanju emerged as the highest grossing Bollywood film of 2018, the second highest-earning Hindi film in India of all time, and one of the highest-grossing Indian films.
Sanju earned seven nominations at the 64th Filmfare Awards including Best Film and Best Director for Hirani. It won Best Actor for Kapoor and Best Supporting Actor for Kaushal.
The film starts with D. N. Tripathi (Piyush Mishra), a lyricist, who writes a biography on Sanjay “Sanju” Dutt, (Ranbir Kapoor), comparing him with Mahatma Gandhi. A flabbergasted Sanjay has him thrown out. The Supreme Court of India delivers its verdict regarding the 1993 Bombay bombings and sentences Dutt to five years jail term for violating the Arms Act, 1959. His wife Manyata Dutt (Dia Mirza) approaches Winnie Diaz, (Anushka Sharma) a London-based writer, to write Sanjay’s biography and present his version of his life to the public. Although unwilling at first, Winnie is asked by Zubin Mistry (Jim Sarbh), a real estate builder, to not write the biography, which intrigues her. Winnie first interviews Sanjay, and his life is revealed in a flashback.
Sanjay’s father Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal) plans to launch his acting career in Bollywood with the film Rocky (1981). Upset over his father’s controlling behaviour on set, Sanjay is encouraged by his friend Zubin “God” Mistry to try drugs for the first time. Sanjay soon discovers that his mother Nargis (Manisha Koirala) is suffering from cancer and is taken to New York for treatment. This incident furthers his descent into alcoholism and drug addiction. He meets Kamlesh (Vicky Kaushal), a fan of Nargis, in New York, and they become quick friends. Kamlesh manages to make Sanjay stay away from his addiction; after learning of his girlfriend Ruby’s (Sonam Kapoor) fixed marriage due to his ongoing drug addiction, Sanjay relapses. Kamli convinces Ruby to register marry Sanjay; but when Ruby after realising her love for Sanjay, she agrees and comes to the registration office, only to find that he is not there and on reaching Sanjay’s house realizes that he is still under the influence of drugs and decides to leave him. Nargis passes away three days before the release of Rocky, which takes an emotional toll on Sanjay. Sanjay agrees to attend a rehabilitation centre in the United States, and eventually recovers with the help of his father and Kamlesh. On returning to India, he meets with ‘God’ his friend and beats him for selling him drugs. Sanjay realizes that he was given drugs while ‘God’ himself was consuming glucose.
The later part of Dutt’s life is narrated by his now-estranged friend Kamlesh, who Winnie tracks down in New York.Kamlesh is at first reluctant since he has wasted many years of his life on Sanju but finally agrees to tell her the story. In the 1990s, Sanjay turns to bodybuilding and his career in Bollywood has greatly improved. After the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition, Sanjay acquires three AK-56 rifles to ensure the protection of his father, who had by then ventured into politics, and sister, Priya Dutt. A series of bombings occur in Bombay shortly thereafter. Sanjay is arrested in 1993 for possession of illegal arms supposedly supplied by the D-Company to be trafficked for protection during potential communal rioting after the bombings. Sanjay is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for five years under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), threatening his career. Indian media labels him as a terrorist, further tarnishing his public image. Believing Sanjay to be guilty, Kamlesh severs ties with him.
After his release in 1995, Sanjay appears in a string of flops. When his popularity had begun to wane, he is forced to sign for the title role in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) by his father, who also features in the movie. Sanjay’s performance garners him the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role and his public image improves, making his father proud. Shortly afterwards, his father passes away. In 2006, the Bombay High Court finds Dutt guilty under the Possession of Arms Act, while not finding him to be a terrorist. In 2013, he is arrested again by the same verdict upheld by the Supreme Court of India. Sanjay convinces Winnie and Kamlesh of his innocence by blaming the media for falsely accusing him of terrorism, and is subsequently released from prison in 2016. Sanjay finds out that Winnie has completed writing his biography, titled Kuch Toh Log Kahenge (transl. People will keep saying something), named after one of his father’s favourite songs from the film Amar Prem (1972). He exits the jail and reunites with Kamlesh and Manyata.
Ranbir Kapoor as Sanjay Dutt
Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, Sanju’s father
Vicky Kaushal as Kamlesh “Kamli” Kanhaiyalal Kapasi, Sanju’s best friend
Sonam K Ahuja as Ruby, Sanju’s ex-girlfriend
Dia Mirza as Manyata Dutt, Sanju’s wife
Manisha Koirala as Nargis, Sanju’s mother
Anushka Sharma as Winnie Dias, a biographer
Jim Sarbh as Zubin “God” Mistry.
Karishma Tanna as Pinky.
Boman Irani as Jayaram Joshi, Ruby’s father
Irani also appears as Dr. Asthana of Munna Bhai MBBS in archive footage
Sayaji Shinde as Bandu Dada
Piyush Mishra as D.N. Tripathi, a screenwriter.
Aditi Gautam as Priya Dutt, Sanju’s sister
Ashnoor Kaur as young Priya Dutt
Yuri Suri as Hawant Singh, Sanju’s lawyer
Ashwin Mushran as an event manager
Anjan Srivastav as a minister
Prakash Belawadi as a newspaper editor
Mahesh Manjrekar as himself (cameo)
Tabu as herself (cameo)
Arshad Warsi as Circuit of Munnabhai M.B.B.S. in archive footage (cameo)
Anil Charanjeet as singer in the song “Main Badiya Tu Bhi Badiya” (special appearance)
Sanjay Dutt as himself (end credits)