Okay, we won't say that we are believing everything a biopic, especially made in Bollywood, tell us. And if we do, we are gullible fools. When we saw Sanju, we realise why it was a well-made film, it wasn't exactly honest in its depiction of Sanjay Dutt's life. It didn't hide facts for sure - It did show Sanjay Dutt's drug phase and the fact that he hid AK-47s in his house for protection of his family. But there was a redemptive air to the whole proceedings, while Sanju skittled over the more unforgivable parts of Dutt's life like his romantic liaisons and his previous failed marriages.
In a recent interaction at FTII, director Rajkumar Hirani, who is very close to the actor, has now admitted that he had added certain scenes in the film to create more empathy for his lead character. He also revealed that his first cut was more honest in its depiction of Dutt, but test screen audiences responded poorly to the character, with many saying they didn't like him. So Hirani changed some portions of the film to show Dutt in a more positive light. Sanju: Rajkumar Hirani Confesses He Manipulated Sanjay Dutts Life in The Film and Twitter is NOT Impressed!
Introspectively, we really shouldn't blame Hirani for doing so - he has the right to make the film his way. He also didn't squirm away from showing the most controversial portions of Dutt's life - his drug phase and guns possession. But in all his previous interviews to the media, that is before the release of the film, Hirani had proclaimed that he wants to show an honest portrayal of Dutt in Sanju. Sanju: From Ranbir Kapoor's Casting to Using Humour, 5 Smart Tricks Rajkumar Hirani Applied To Cleanse Sanjay Dutt's Public Image!
Here are five quotes given in the past where Rajkumar Hirani and even the lead actor Ranbir Kapoor didn't give us the right idea about how they want to portray depict Dutt in the film.
"We have not made an effort to redeem Sanju at all. The story is told as seen from our point of view. Let people decide who he is. There is enough evidence gathered from his chargesheet, lawyers, the police, friends and family. So the audience will be able to make up its mind."
#2 During Jagran Film Festival (Hirani)
"He (Sanjay) has shared his story and wants it to be made and we want to keep it as honest as possible. We have worked (on) the script with Sanjay. I narrated it to him when he was here and he was happy with it. The film will see Sanjay as he is and for what he is."
#3 Interview with India Today (Hirani)
"There is no reason for us to make a propaganda film. You don't spend three years of your life doing something and destroying your career in the process."
#4 Interview with FirstPost (Ranbir Kapoor)
"This is not a propaganda film; it is an honest portrayal of a flawed human being and lot of credit goes to Sanjay Dutt to give his life out with so much honesty. We are not trying to portray him as a god or a larger-than-life superstar. We are showing him as a human being.”
#5 Interview with Mid-Day (Hirani)
"There is no reason for me to make a film to glorify Sanjay Dutt. For me, it is simply a great story. It takes courage to bare your life for the reel. Sanjay told me everything, and gave me a free hand to do what I wished with that information."
Again, we reiterate that Hirani has every right to make the film the way he wants. But his late confession that he had manipulated the narrative just after Sanju has completed its theatrical run feels very odd!