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Rajkumar Hirani lashes out at Sanju critics, denies whitewashing Sanjay Dutt in film- Cinema express

Rajkumar Hirani lashes out at Sanju critics, denies whitewashing Sanjay Dutt in film 

The makers of Sanju have been fielding allegations ever since the film on the tumultuous life of actor Sanjay Dutt hit the screens

Published: 12th August 2018

Whitewashing, media bashing and glorification. The makers of Sanju have been fielding allegations ever since the film on the tumultuous life of actor Sanjay Dutt hit the screens. Now, they have questions of their own.

"If I start on that, I can talk on it for the full day," says Rajkumar Hirani on talks about the media bashing in Sanju, which is playing at the ninth edition of the International Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM).

Abhijat Joshi, who has co-written the biopic with Hirani, was quick to add, "There is no media bashing at all. We are great fans of the media. What we are bashing is a certain section which sensationalises things and uses a question mark to make things chatpata (spicy). That has been critiqued, and I am amazed there has been no introspection on that side. No one has even said that it happens."

This reference is in context to a scene featuring a newspaper cutting titled 'RDX in a truck parked in Dutt house?'

"Today if the world believes that he had RDX, it's based on that one news, so we have criticised that. But now when we are told that the whole film is about media bashing, it's again picking up a headline," says Hirani. "When we show a corrupt police officer, it doesn't mean all policemen are wrong. It's a section," adds the 3 Idiots director.

From Sanjay's drug addiction, personal affairs, a jail term for possession of arms in connection with the 1993 serial blasts, to his bonds with his parents and friends, Sanju has delved into different aspects of the actor's life but has also left out a lot.

Hirani, who has hits like the Munna Bhai series and PK to his credit, also wonders why is there talk that he has whitewashed Sanjay through Sanju. "Whitewashing as a word is being thrown around. If you've watched the film, what was Sanju's crime? He kept the gun, and we have shown that. We have shown that he served five years in jail and that he is saying it was a mistake. So where is the question of whitewashing? What have I whitewashed? I want to understand that," he says.

Joshi adds, "The crime has been shown graphically. Him destroying the gun, we have shown that; the bullets being thrown away, we have shown that. So whatever is the crime is, is clearly shown."

Hirani goes on to say, "People are using this word 'whitewash'. I want to know what I have whitewashed. I have shown that he had 308 girlfriends, that he was so addicted to drugs, he slept with his friend's girlfriend. Is this whitewashing? If we had to whitewash anyone, we would have made him Mahatma Gandhi."

RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya had questioned whether Sanjay, son of late actors Sunil and Nargis Dutt, had qualities that his life story should be glamourised or glorified on the big screen or be portrayed as if he is an idol.

"Again, where have I glorified is what I want to ask? Is this glorification that he slept with his friend's girlfriend, kept a gun, did drugs, made a girl wear a commode on her neck? We have shown all this. Still, people are saying we have glorified his life," says Hirani.

Joshi believes that the worst allegation is that they made the film for money. "It is ridiculous because if money was the criteria, we would have made five Munnabhais back-to-back... They would have been bigger hits, or 3 Idiots parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6."

Hirani admitted that when he was making the film, people told him that Sanju will mark his "first flop" as Sanjay was a negative character. "Now when the film has been made, everything is reversed that this has been made for money," he adds. 

"Do you think Rajkumar Hirani, at this time in his career, would spend three years of his life just to whitewash somebody?" questions Joshi. "People who needed to introspect have not introspected at all. But, luckily, the audiences have. Hats off to the Indian audience," he adds.

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