Suddenly there is a revival of interest in the almost-defunct career of Sanjay Dutt whose last real successes on celluloid were Raj Kumar Hirani’s Lage Raho Munnabhai in 2006 and Shootout At Lokhandwala in 2007. Thereafter his films ranging from Raman Kumar’s cross-border romance Sarhad Paar and Sanjay Gadhvi’s revenge drama Kidnap to Soham Shah’s heist caper Luck and Tony D’Souza’s oceanic adventure Blue and Ram Gopal Varma’s cops-and-robbers jigsaw Department, have all been flops.
Dutt’s most recent releases Zanjeer, Zilla Ghaziabad and Policegiri were miserable flops. And his first release post-incarceration Bhoomi where he played a father grieving for his raped daughter was such a box office disaster that Dutt hastily withdrew from the other film that he was committed to do for the same director Omung Kumar.
Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju, the bio-pic has been declared a gigantic hit. But will it help revive the real Sanju’s sagging career? No, says trade analyst, Amod Mehra. “Only Ranbir Kapoor will benefit from the success of Sanju. Sanjay Dutt’s image will be more positive, so the negativity regarding his controversial past will diminish. But career will depend on his films succeeding at the box office.”
However, editor and trade analyst Atul Mohan says, “To a great extent, yes. Sanju has been declared a huge hit at the box office. This means people have accepted the movie and since Sanjay Dutt is an important factor in the film it may also signal a new level of acceptability of Dutt, depending on how much the audience accepts the film’s whitewashing of Dutt’s ‘terrorist’ image. Had people not been interested in ‘Baba’ then the film wouldn’t have got this acceptance. Rajkumar Hirani and Ranbir have also been major factors for the film working at the BO. Sanju has revived Ranbir’s career also. So I’d like think that this one blockbuster would re-ignite the careers of 2 superstars.”
Adds Girish Johar, “Sanjay Dutt was always there. Yes, for the young audiences or the youth segment of our cine-goers, Sanju has made Sanjay Dutt more relatable. So going ahead they can connect with his films more, so this has definitely added to Dutt’s viewer base amongst the youth.”