While Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju, starring Ranbir Kapoor (in the title role as Sanjay Dutt), has won both accolades and brickbats, a certain section of the audience and critics felt that it whitewashed some incidents in Dutt’s life, including his arrest in connection with the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai for possessing an AK-56 rifle. Many have felt it’s more of a Rajkumar Hirani film than a biopic on Sanjay Dutt as his life and relationships have been shown with rose-tinted glasses. There has been talk also of Dutt having other close friends other than Paresh Ghelani (called Kamli and played by Vicky Kaushal in the movie) who have been side-lined in Sanju. Namrata tells why she enjoyed watching the movie.
When we inform Namrata that some people felt that Sanju was made to whitewash Sanjay Dutt’s image, she admits, “I know some people are saying that but I don’t agree. Everybody knows that Rajkumar Hirani’s movies are light-hearted, family entertainers and not like Anurag Kashyap’s dark, edgy, realistic movies. Both have their own unique style of filmmaking. I don’t think Rajkumar Hirani has whitewashed anything but accurately shown what has happened in Sanjay’s life. Rajkumar Hirani movies make us feel good – they are about tears, laughter and drama so you have to watch them in the same spirit. If you want to watch Sanjay Dutt’s biopic depicting everything exactly the way things happened in his life, what he’s gone through and the tough challenges he faced – then go and make a documentary and watch it or just forget about it.”
Did she cry after watching Sanju? Namrata says emotionally, “I never cried in the movie honestly because I think I have cried enough personally (through all the traumatic times that the Dutt family went through)… I saw Sanju as a movie and it was an entertaining one. I felt very good after watching it.”
Dutt has many close friends, among whom Namrata’s own husband Kumar Gaurav and his other sister Priya’s husband Owen Roncon are included but only Ghelani was shown as Kamli as Dutt’s only close friend. Namrata explains, “There were five extremely close friends of Sanjay when he was in his drug phase to the time when he was arrested and now but it was not possible for Rajkumar Hirani to put each and every character in the movie as it would become too long. So he took episodes from different friends of his after talking to them and made it into this one character called Kamli. Thus combining the persona of five friends into one.”
But she admits that watching Sanju was emotional torture for them all. “We felt so helpless all those years… It was painful watching our brother suffering so much… Sanjay had to go through everything (in jail) like everybody else. There were no perks for him though the media would often write that he was getting them. We have seen the truth and what he’s gone through… I have heard Ram Gopal Varma wants to make Sanju: The Real Story. I don’t think he should. He makes such dark, hard-core, realistic movies. How can he make such a movie on our brother? With Rajkumar Hirani you knew there would be these in-between lighter, feel-good moments. There are so many other people on whom biopics can be made – why are you just choosing this guy (Sanjay Dutt) again?”