“Sanju”, Rajkumar Hirani’s ambitious biopic on one of Bollywood’s most controversial stars — Sanjay Dutt, is a warts and all tale, according to Paresh Rawal.
Rawal, who is in the role of Dutt’s father, actor-politician Sunil Dutt, says the movie is not a sympathetic look at the actor’s tumultuous life.
“Raju doesn’t do any whitewashing,” he told agencies.
“Why sell lies when you are making a biopic? A person should be presented as real and should not be glorified… You can make a biopic on any interesting person but if it’s not written well, then it will not be effective. It is very challenging to show a real life character without fictionalising it and yet retaining the drama element.”
To play Sunil Dutt was challenging yet alluring for Rawal as the actor did not have a lot to fall back upon, having met the late actor twice or thrice briefly.
Rawal says he decided to tap in on the human side of the elder Dutt as Hirani’s film is a father-son story. The director had worked with both the Dutts in “Munna Bhai MBBS”.
“I was always fan of him as a producer and as a human being. As an actor, he was not my favourite but as a producer, the kind of socially relevant films he made, like ‘Mujhe Jeene Do’, ‘Reshma Aur Shera’, they were amazing,” he says.
“Unlike Sanjay Dutt, he didn’t have any typical mannerism. He was a normal human being, his core thing was his honesty, his niceness, he was person of principles and believed in truth. As an artiste we had to get that truthfulness right onscreen.”
While Hirani and Abhijat Joshi’s “brilliant” screenplay helped him a lot, Rawal had to connect with the emotional side of the actor.
“It is a father-son story. It is about a father’s trauma, his wife is ill, his son is into drugs, he has to take care of his political career and has to get his two daughters married.
“Also, he had to make sure to not let the family name get affected as both Dutt sahab and Nargisji had done a lot for the country for years and now their son was being called a terrorist. He was heart-broken but he chose to fight. He knew he (son) can make mistakes but he is not a terrorist,” the actor adds.
Though Rawal never worked with Sunil Dutt, he has collaborated with Sanjay and says he has only grown as an actor with time.
“I have seen him go through the trauma in 1994 because we were shooting together in Mauritius for ‘Mahaanta’. He is a lovely guy, all heart, has no malice. He is a friendly, carefree guy but sometimes we do make mistakes and get trapped.”
“Sanju” also features Manisha Koirala as Sanjay’s mother Nargis, Sonam Kapoor as one of his girlfriends, Dia Mirza as his wife Manyata, and Vicky Kaushal as his friend. The film is scheduled to release on June 29.