Added scenes in Sanju to create empathy for Sanjay Dutt: Rajkumar Hirani

14 Sep 2018, 17:09

NTV Online

When Rajkumar Hirani, a friend and frequent collaborator of Sanjay Dutt, announced a biopic on the actor, many were skeptical that it would whitewash his image. In fact, after the release of Sanju, that has been a major criticism levelled against the film.

At Indian Film and TV Directors Association’s (IFTDA) special masterclass on Wednesday, the filmmaker revealed that he had, in fact, tweaked the original script to create empathy for Dutt, reports

‘During the shoot I felt ‘What am I doing, I’m going wrong.’ In fact, when the first edit was ready and we screened for people, they hated him. They said we don’t like this man, we don’t want to watch him,’ Hirani said.

He added, ‘Because I wanted to do a true story, I didn’t create any empathy towards him. I said let’s not create empathy and show (him) as he is. But later I understood that he is our hero, we need some empathy for him.’

Additional portions which were not a part of the original script were shot to tilt the audience’s reaction in Dutt’s favour, after they did not take a liking to his character in the test screenings.

Hirani revealed, ‘The scene where he tries to kill himself after the verdict is out; which he had mentioned to me but we didn’t put in the film, I shot it later. It was not in the original script. I thought through this some empathy will come... The initial test reactions were like ‘naah we don’t like this guy...’’

The filmmaker believes that Dutt is ‘not a bad man’, despite his run-ins with the law. ‘My perception of Sanju was that he has done so many weird things but he is not a bad man... I felt he had an innocence, he is naughty but he doesn’t harm anyone. He didn’t pick up the gun, scared people or fired a shot. He made a mistake,’ he said.

Despite admitting that he had gone the extra mile to make the audience empathise with Dutt, Hirani dismissed allegations of whitewashing. He asked, ‘Everywhere I go people say I have whitewashed him but I haven’t. A journalist asked me, why did you whitewash Sanju and I asked what was Sanju’s crime? I am not defending the man but myself and the film. He kept a gun, destroyed it too, lied to his father and was arrested. I showed it all, his drug phase and the way he treated people. So where have I whitewashed?’