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Sanju Is An Entertaining Saga That Blends Emotions, Humor & Drama
Banner: Rajkumar Hirani Films & Vinod Chopra Films
Producer: Rajkumar Hirani & Vinod Chopra
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Starcast: Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Manisha Koirala, Paresh Rawal, Dia Mirza, Jim Sarbh, Anushka Sharma, Vicky Kaushal
Music: A. R. Rahman, Rohan Rohan, Vikram Montrose, Sanjay Wandrekar & Atul Raninga
Sure enough the blockbuster director Rajkumar Hirani needs no special introduction. And his latest offering Sanju promises to be different and shows the highs as well as lows & dark periods of actor Sanjay Dutt. That it’s directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who has a cent per cent track record and features popular actor Ranbir Kapoor, has added to the excitement considerably.
Biopics are quite in vogue in Bollywood and in recent times, many of them have even tasted massive commercial success. But often, these biopics are criticized as they become quite hagiographic and tend to glorify the person in question. In such a scenario, Sanju lives up to its hype and turns out to be a yet another feather in Rajkumar Hirani’s directorial cap. Actually speaking Sanju is the biopic of the most controversial actor Sanjay Dutt, in the history of Bollywood, and some of the dramatic & the most significant episodes of his life.
Sanjay Dutt (Ranbir Kapoor) is the son of the famous actor Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal) & yesteryear actress Nargis (Manisha Koirala). He is about to get launched in a film by his father titled Rocky. Upset with his father, he tries drugs for the 1st time ever courtesy his friend Zubin Mistry (Jim Sarbh). At this point, he finds out that Nargis is suffering from cancer and has few days to live. She is taken to New York for treatment. Sanju is unable to control his drug habit even when his mother is struggling for life. While in New York, he befriends Kamlesh Kapasi (Vicky Kaushal) and they both form a wonderful bond. Sadly due to his drug addiction, his relationship with his girlfriend Ruby (Sonam Kapoor) gets affected and ends on a dismal note. Nargis dies just 3 days before the release of Rocky. An overwhelmed Sanju agrees to go for rehab in USA. Once he overcomes this addiction, he gets into a bigger problem. He gets arrested for illegal possession of arms. He’s also accused of aiding the terrorists in carrying out the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in the year 1993. How Sanjay Dutt fights this dreadful charge forms the rest of the crux of the film.
Director Rajkumar Hirani & Abhijat Joshi’s story is interesting but one can sense that they have tried to play safe. But they have balanced it out by not glorifying Sanjay Dutt and showing his bad & dark side too. Also, it’s impressive how Rajkumar & Abhijat haven’t focused on his film career and have focused on his personal life & turmoil’s. Rajkumar Hirani & Abhijat Joshi’s screenplay is terrific and despite the minuses, can be used as a guide on how to write films. With so much happening in the film, the writers ensure that the narrative doesn’t go all over the place. Everything is neatly put together. For instance, when the sequence where the Dutt’s are returning back to India, Nargis’ remarks about Ruby. This is done organically & neatly links to the next sequence which is related to Ruby. Rajkumar Hirani & Abhijat Joshi’s dialogues as always are entertaining, sharp & massy. Few dialogues related to sex will bring the house down in single screens and in the hinterland. A section of the audience however would also be put off by such jokes & dark humor at places.
Rajkumar Hirani’s direction as expected is highly effective. This is no easy film to make but he executes & presents the plot in a simple & crisp manner. His magic comes to the fore in several sequences and is bound to leave the viewers smiling & even teary eyed. However, the climax could have been better & more powerful.
The biggest strength of Sanju is that the film never drops. The screenplay is riveting and keeps you hooked, even if you might not agree with the goings on. And that’s a feat for a film which is 160 minutes long. The back & forth narrative works very well and keeps viewers intrigued. The 1st ever half is excellent and boasts of some fine emotional, funny & dramatic sequences. The intermission point comes as a bolt from the blue. The madness continues in the 2nd half but the plot gets a bit shaky here. The film goes on a high in the 1st half but the same doesn’t happen in the 2nd half. The film should have ended with a punch or on a rocking note, as it has happened in the previous Rajkumar Hirani films. However, the film leaves a strong emotional impact overall, which works very well.
Songs are not that great but work well in the film. “Kar Har Maidaan Fateh” is the best of the lot. “Main Badhiya Tu Bhi Badhiya” is very well picturised & imagined. “Ruby Ruby” (by A R Rahman) is relegated to the background. Sanjay Wandrekar & Atul Raninga’s background score is much better & exhilarating. S Ravivarman’s cinematography is splendid and has captured some of the locales beautifully. In fact, he impresses right from the 1st shot itself, a bird’s eye view of Bandra. Shashank Tere’s production design is appealing & rich. Eka Lakhani’s costumes are authentic. Vikram Gaikwad’s make-up design, Clover Wootton’s prosthetics & VFX by NY VFXWaala deserves the highest praise for making Ranbir look like Sanjay Dutt through the ages. Rajkumar Hirani’s editing is crisp.
Performance wise it is Ranbir Kapoor who owns the film, in fact he is the life & soul of the film and delivers a terrific & power packed performance. Nowhere does his performance seem like a caricature and he gives his best shot in ensuring that he looks & behaves like Sanjay Dutt. Watch out for him in the emotional sequences, particularly when his mother passes away and he confesses to his father that he needs to get better. Also he’ll leave viewers moist eyed in the scene where he fails to read his speech to his father and later the inevitable happens. Sanju surely ranks as one of the most or arguably the most accomplished performance by this young actor and is bound to win him accolades, admiration & awards galore! Paresh Rawal is also quite impressive and plays the important part of Sunil Dutt with perfection. Sanju, in fact, is a father-son story and he compliments Ranbir very well in taking some scenes to greater heights. Vicky Kaushal is the surprise package of the film. Right from his entry, he makes a mark and brings the house down at several places. Also, he’s rocking in the emotional sequences like when he meets Ruby or when he tells Sunil Dutt that they need to help Sanjay Dutt. Even in the 2nd half, watch out for him when he meets Sanjay Dutt in the hospital and in the pre-climax when he listens to the radio. Manisha Koirala has a supporting part but is an important pillar in the film and charms with her performance. Anushka Sharma (as Winnie Dias) delivers a splendid performance. Again, her screen time is limited. Jim Sarbh makes an impact with his role. Sonam Kapoor (as Ruby) is decent in the cameo. Boman Irani (as Homi) contributes to the fun quotient. Sayaji Shinde (as Bandu Dada) looks every inch a gangster. Dia Mirza (as Maanayata Dutt) gets overpowered. Aditi Seiya (as Priya Dutt) looks quite like Priya but doesn’t have much to do in the film. Karishma Tanna (as Pinky) is quite sizzling and makes a mark, despite being there for just a scene. Mahesh Manjrekar (himself), Piyush Mishra (D Tripathi), Ashwin Mushran (security officer), Bharat Dabholkar (lawyer) & Aanjjan Srivastav (minister) are good.
Tail Piece: On the whole, Sanju is an entertaining saga that blends emotions, humor & drama in adequate doses. It is powerful, engaging, emotional as well as compelling. The combination of Rajkumar Hirani & Ranbir Kapoor works like a dream. At the box-office turnstiles, despite not being a “typical Rajkumar Hirani family entertainer’, Sanju will score tremendously and emerge as a Monstrous Hit! Don’t miss it!
Pakistani singing sensation Ali Zafar made a promising acting debut in India with the Bollywood film “Tere Bin Laden” in 2010. He went on to show his acting skills in Indian films, including some backed by the popular banner Yash Raj Films (YRF). Now he hopes that “Teefa In Trouble” — his maiden film in Pakistani cinema — crosses boundaries and makes a mark in India.
Ali is actor, producer, singer and writer of the romantic action comedy film, which will hit the screens in about 25 countries on July 20.
Is India, with whom Pakistan shares a bitter-sweet relationship, part of the list?
“Hopefully. It is on the cards. If everything goes well, then yes,” Lahore-based Ali told IANS in a telephonic interview.
“We have made the effort, given our best. It is all about giving respect and getting respect back. It is a film, it is entertainment. I hope that it gets screened over there (in India) and makes a mark and more stuff like this should happen. My job is to try. I don’t think about the negative side at all,” he added.
Only a handful of Pakistani films like “Khuda Kay Liye” and singing superstar Atif Aslam-starrer “Bol” got to enter the Indian market. Asked if Ali would like that to change, he said: “As an artiste, I feel that our work should be heard and viewed by as many people as possible in the world. I think we want that there should be peace… peace, having a cordial relationship and love are what we all want to prevail.”
The music of the film is available in India though, thanks to Junglee Music.
He has also joined hands with YRF for the international theatrical distribution of his home production.
“We feel honoured and proud that a banner like YRF is distributing my first home production.
“I have worked with Yashji (late filmmaker Yash Chopra) and the production house. The most important language spoken there is the language of love which is why the love story in our film, the way we have have shot it…even ‘Chan ve’, which is a love song… you will find a lot of Yash Chopra and YRF vibe in them,” said Ali, who worked with the banner for films like “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan” and “Kill Dil”.
Any more YRF films in pipeline? “Let’s see. Right now, it’s just ‘Teefa In Trouble’.”
The forthcoming film is a family affair with his wife Ayesha Fazli co-producing and brother Danyal Zafar co-writing with him.
“We shot the entire film like a family. Even the director, Ahsan Rahim, is a close friend and like a mentor. As a producer, it was my job to make everyone feel at home and work like a family. There is message in the film also — it’s about the journey more than the destination. The process needs to be really enjoyable,” said the “Sun re sajania” hitmaker.
“Our objective was to make a film that is first of its kind… that has its unique identity and flavour. It can be watched with family again and again.”
In a bizarre incident, a bride in Bihar’s Saran district refused to marry her groom after he behaved strangely following a lightning strike that resulted in a violent clash between the members of the two families, police said on Friday.
Renu Kumari (name changed) of Chitrsenpur village under Sonepur police station refused to marry the groom when he stated that he was afraid of lightning and behaved differently following a lightning strike in a nearby field two days ago.
This shocked the groom’s relatives as some marriage rituals had already been solemnized. They protested but attacked by bride’s side.
“After (the) lightning (strike), the groom behaved as he was afraid of it. The bride publicly announced she would not marry him, citing his unusual behavior,” a police officer said.
The officer-in-charge of the police station, Sidheshwar Azad, said three people from bride’s side were arrested and sent to jail for attacking the groom’s party.
This is the first time such an incident has been reported from the state. Earlier, several brides refused to marry dark-complexioned, short-statured and mentally unstable grooms.
This was conveyed by UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in their meeting here.
Rao welcomed and consented for establishing of consulate. According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, he directed Chief Secretary S. K. Joshi to allocate land and provide infrastructure for the consulate, so as to boost the cordial relationship between Telangana and UAE.
Recalling the cultural bonds between Telangana and UAE, he referred to the cultural bond, historical identity and business relationship with the Middle East.
Al Nahyan, who called on Rao along with a high-level delegation, was all the praise for the tremendous economic and social growth of Telangana. He complimented government of Telangana for introducing innovative and exemplary schemes for the people’s welfare.
Rao briefed on the initiatives taken on industrial policy, development on social aspects, education, medicine and establishing of infrastructure and how the state is encountering the impediments in emerging as ‘bangaru’ or golden Telangana.
Third national conference of private schools and child Welfare association held at Novtel Hotel kolkata, Governor of Meghalaya Ganga Prasad awarded Dr Syeda Nusrath for the outstanding contribution in the field of education,Special thanks to Minister of state rural development West Bengal Mr Rabbani, IAS Divesh Sehra , National President of (PSACWA) Shameal Ahamed, Dr Nusrath also felicitated the dignitaries.
Writings in Indian languages are more authentic than in English because they present a truer picture of Indian life, says multi-faceted Malayalam author Chandrika Balan, whose oeuvre includes 20 books in her mother tongue and four critical books and 36 research papers in English — and two of whose books have been converted into movie screenplays.
“Literature written in Indian languages can be said to be more Indian than Indian writing in English, for it writes more local colour realism and presents a cross-section of Indian life,” Balan, who has also translated widely from English to Malayalam and from Malayalam to English and has received the Katha National Award for English translation,” told IANS in an email interview.
The Sahitya Akademi, eminent publishers and reputed journals in India “give enough importance to translated works now. Translation has become part of academic syllabus too. So the situation is hopeful,” noted Balan, whose latest offering “Invisible Walls” (Niyogi/128 pages/Rs 250), the English translation of Malayalam title “Aparnayude Thadavarakal”, has just been released.
How did the present work come about?
“I began writing it as a short story as I am mainly a short fiction writer. The story started as Kamala’s; Aparna was not there in the picture at all. But then Aparna entered the story half way as Kamala’s friend and soon claimed the story as her own. When I developed the characters, the work became longer and turned out to be a novel, portraying two women who fight invisible walls,” she explained.
To elaborate, “Invisible Walls” is about two women, Aparna and Kamala, whose lives run in parallel, though they do not know each other. They dream of a world without walls, but invisible barriers surround and crush them. Kamala reads a book titled “Invisible Walls” about Aparna’s life on a train journey and thus the reader discovers a story within a story.
Given this theme, Balan, formerly a Professor of English in Thiruvananthapuram’s All Saints’ College, said Malayalam literature today, “especially the scenario of fiction, is full of variety in themes and forms of expression. Earlier, only literature written by Indians in English was considered Indian English literature. Now that Indian literature in translation is being given the importance and attention it deserves, our literature is also on the way of being promoted”.
How did the translating bug bit her?
Balan, the recipient of 15 awards, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, the Katha National Prize, the Padmarajan Puruskaram and the O.V. Vijayan Puraskaram, said that while she previously did her creative writing only in Malayalam, she took a break from her teaching career for three years to work with Dr K. Ayyappa Paniker, the renowned English professor, poet and critic, on a Sahitya Akademi project on Medieval Indian Literature in English translation.
“I was the Executive Editor of that project. Editing the translations of eminent professors and writers from all parts of India, I educated myself on the art of translation. Katha Foundation of Delhi asked me to translate some Malayalam writers of their choice to English. When they were published, more offers came; but somehow I did not want to be a professional translator. I wanted to be known as a creative writer. So I took to translating my own stories.
Her first collection, “Arya and Other Stories” was published by Orient Blackswan.
Would she describe herself as a systematic writer?
“I am not a systematic writer at all, devoting a number of hours a day for writing. My dream is to become one. When an idea comes to mind, I develop an outline first and carry it around like a child within the womb. And when the urge for writing it comes upon me I sit late in the night to write down the first draft. The reworking and revisions will be done later; usually it is the third draft that is final,” Balan explained.
How did the foray into the movie world come about?
It began with noted Malayalam film director and screen writer Lenin Rajendran making a movie out Balan’s story “The Website” as “Ratrimazha” (“Rain in the Night”) “which brought him accolades. He has taken a Director’s freedom with the story”, Balan quipped.
Her book, “Njandukalude Naattil Oru Idavela” (An Interval in the Land of Crabs) has recently been made into a similarly titled movie by the popular young actor Nivin Pauly, with the director being Althaf Salim.
“That book is actually my memoirs on my cancer days; they turned it into a family story of a mother’s fight with cancer and brought in a lot of humour. But they conveyed the message of hope as I insisted,” Balan said.
She has also written a screenplay for Kerala’s Social Welfare Department, which turned it into a movie directed by Sanjeev Sivan.
“It is titled ‘Arunimayude Katha’ (The Story of Arunima); the theme is a critique on the extravagant weddings and craze for gold in Kerala,” Balan said.
Her dream now is “to write two novels — one on a village being transformed into a city and the other on (Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s wife) Sonia Tolstoy. Both require a lot of time and work and I intend to devote 2019 to that”, Balan said.
At a grand event on Sunday here at the Siam Niramit theatre, a story of an ambitious and enterprising housewife, “Tumhari Sulu” bagged the Best Picture honour, while Saket Chaudhary took back the Best Director Award.
Late Sridevi’s husband-producer Boney Kapoor took the award for her performance in “Mom”. He was emotional as he received the award from actress Kriti Sanon.
“I dedicate this award to the entire team of ‘Moma’,” said an emotional Boney.
The award function also honoured late actors Vinod Khanna, Shashi Kapoor and Sridevi.
Vinod’s award was accepted by veteran filmmaker Ramesh Sippy. Rishi Kapoor took Shashi Kapoor’s award. While actor Anil Kapoor and Boney broke down in tears while talking about Sridevi at the gala.
“I have mixed emotions today. I miss her every minute and second of my life. I still feel she is around here….I want you all to support Janhvi like you supported her mother…” said a teary eyed Boney.
Veteran actor actor Anupam Kher was honoured with the Outstanding Achievement award by Anil.
“It is a great feeling when your own peers celebrate your achievements and as I have been saying, this is just the interval point of what I am doing and my seconds half of journey starts now. It started with my 500th film….I told myself this is the interval point with The Big Sick and after that I have done 15 films in the last one year both international and national,” Anupam told IANS.
The 2000-seater Siam Niramit theatre saw thousands of Bollywood fanatics coming to the event to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars.
A string of A-listers like Ranbir Kapoor, Varun, Arjun, Kriti Sanon, Bobby Deol and Shraddha set the stage on fire with their power packed and electrifying performances.
Varun danced on numbers like “Sau Tarah Ke”, “Tama Tama,” and “High Rated Gabru”.
Bobby danced with Romanian TV presenter and singer Iulia Vantur on numbers like “Gupt Gupt, “Soldier soldier”, “Tera Rang Balle Balle” and tracks from his latest release “Race 3”.
Kriti, Arjun and Shraddha also danced to tracks from their films respectively.
You can find white sandy beaches, palm tree-lined shores, crystal clear waters and sunny blue skies at several places in the world, but not if you think of combining that with the happy, warm and hospitable vibes of the locals.
That’s available in Fiji in galore, where the “Bula” greeting instantly makes you feel welcome and at home.
Based on that, the island nation is calling out for more Indians to come calling. Faiyaz Koya, the country’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism is hopeful that with the appointment of Bollywood actress Ileana D’Cruz as Tourism Fiji’s brand ambassador in India, there will be a rise in visitors from the country.
India and Fiji, he said, share a long-standing relationship of celebrating cultural diversity and common values.
“Fiji and India share a deep historical bond and our Prime Minister has met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi many times to discuss ways in which we can continue to work closely together,” Koya told IANS in an email interview following a visit by this correspondent to the island when the minister was unavailable.
As Koya pointed out, the confluence of culture in Fiji — a tapestry of indigenous Fijian, Indian, European, Chinese and other nationalities — has created a unique national identity. To sample this, tourists are coming in from all over the world, especially from closer destinations like Australia and New Zealand.
For travellers coming in from India, it’s a long, arduous journey — nothing less than a day. But the bonhomie of live Fijian music while you wait for your turn at the immigration line at the Nadi airport takes the exhaustion away.
Koya admits “proximity and competition from cheaper destinations” continue to be key challenges in boosting tourism from India. But while the national carrier Fiji Airways has made travel out of Asia easier by opening up direct flights to Singapore, he said the Indian market has seen a steady increase, at an average growth of 13 per cent over the last 5 years.
Koya said Fiji is open to investment in its tourism industry and that they are very keen to have some of the top Indian brands set up here.
“Fiji has more than 300 islands worth of adventure, rich and vibrant culture and warm and friendly people. Our picturesque and natural environment make the long journey worthwhile and the stay sweeter,” he said.
It sure does.
“What is this life if full of care; we have no time to stand and stare,” Welsh poet W.H. Davies had questioned in the poem “Leisure”.
In Fiji, you have all the time to “stand and stare” at the bountiful natural beauty and more.
“In Fiji, No hurry, No worry,” the locals will tell you, reminding you there’s a life beyond deadlines and sticking to time-tables.
You learn to breathe, to soak in the scenes, including the calmness of the sea, the soothing lush green landscapes, the beauty of the blue sky, the splashing waves and even the eerie sound of stridulating crickets at night when a blanket of stars in the sky is enough for company.
For the more adventurous travellers, the archipelagic state has experiences galore on sea, underwater, land and air. For someone who doesn’t even know how to swim too well, the Fijian waters tempt you to forget the fears and take a plunge. A look at the Split Rock — considered the best snorkelling spot in Savusavu Bay — can leave you asking for more views of marine life, especially if it’s your first time.
As for daring options, there’s a shark dive in Pacific Harbour and sky diving opportunities too.
Interestingly, there are a plethora of eco-friendly resorts that help create sustainable tourism benefitting the environment apart from the country’s economy. Guests can take part in conservation programmes like coral planting which help leave the environment in a better condition and make a difference.
Some resorts in Fiji are as big as a small town. In Pacific Harbour, there’s the world-renowned Nanuku Resort, where a villa is no less than a dream house.
In Savusavu, the Namale Resort and Spa, which attracts the best names from Hollywood and the fashion world, is spread across 525 acres of tropical beauty in the northern island of Vanua Levu. You can trek to a waterfall and enjoy a picnic here or kayak away.
For those who want to enjoy a truly tropical lifestyle; the Savasi Island Resort, also in Vanua Levu, gives you complete privacy with rooms and villas tucked in a dense jungle.
What sets the overall experience apart is how the hotels’ staff members remember your name from the moment you tell them to the moment you leave. And all you can say is “Vinaka” — the traditional thank you.