Vidhu Vinod Chopra produces this biopic that has one of the best film makers in Indian Cinema, Raju Hirani wielding the megaphone. The mercurial Ranbir Kapoor plays “SANJU”.

Raju Hirani’s reputation to sugarcoat his films to make a certain appeal is legendary and it has always worked considering the humongous hits he has delivered that has impressed critics and lay man alike. In SANJU he pushes the envelope a little further much and perhaps rightly so, for here he is saddled with a film on a celebrity, unpopular cerebrally, whose rollercoaster life that is public knowledge can amuse an amusement park. RH takes liberties aplenty here, more so because this is about a Bollywood hero and though at times it gets overstretched, he still manages to reach out to the audience. Emotional scenes are his forte and the film does bring a few lumps to the throat that takes time to settle down. It is not easy scripting one man’s life in less than three hours, but the makers have done it splendidly, even if a few episodes feel a bit forced in the second half. Yes there are instances of melodrama and they still faithfully stick to being convincing, it is the comedy that at times is made to look a little obligatory, especially the dialogues that seem slightly inconsistent. The relationships are amazingly told striking a chord with the audience so as to genuinely introspect. The movie moves at a steady pace throughout, hardly moving out of its comfort lane. SANJU despite its cinematic liberties does not genuflect and yet a little salt could have helped.

Ranbir Kapoor is “SANJU”, who better to do. The life of this film, Ranbir is simply superb. It is not just the resemblance, the gait or the brilliant imitations that you notice, Ranbir brings in a show that only he can deliver and he just revels in it completely aware of his ability to portray a range of emotions perhaps that only he can. SANJU is a platform to showcase and Ranbir uses every inch of it with aplomb. For most of the first half it did not look like a one man show, Vicky Kaushal matching him almost every step, till he returns in the second half where he is a pale shadow of himself. Paresh Rawal is another actor who has an even more screen space and does a dignified job. Important characters are played by distinguished actors in the form of Boman Irani, Manisha Koirala, Dia Mirza and they hold together the film wonderfully.

Ravi Varman’s cinematography is amazing, uplifting the emotions on screen. Music by Rohan Pradhan along with ARR and Sanjay Wandrekar is appealing. Raju handles the editing and does a good job sticking faithfully to the script. Dialogues could have been a little better while Raju Hirani’s direction remains topnotch like always.

SANJU is not Raju Hirani’s best work and yet it is super good, for there is a line in the movie that says It is OK to be “Ordinary”, but then you better be “Raju Hirani”.