‘Sanju’ leaked online on day of release
The initial screenings of Sanju proved the director’s fear right. No one saw a hero in Sanjay. Hirani, who was initially against any cinematic liberty with the portrayal of Sanjay, decided to make changes to evoke empathy for the actor. “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. Because I wanted to do a true story, I didn’t create any empathy towards him.”Hirani continued, “I said let’s not create empathy and show as he is. But later I understood that he was our hero and we needed some empathy for him. The scene where he tries to kill himself after the verdict, 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.”A guest writer at the event argued that a major flaw with the film was that it doesn’t question Sanjay’s intentions at any point. “Every time it was either with good intentions that the bad choices were made or he was a victim of certain pressure. The vulnerability was so constant that you never felt critical of his choices. You always look at him with an ‘oh poor man’.”Hirani responded with a mention to the scene where Sanjay is physically intimate with Kamlesh’s girlfriend (Karishma Tanna). “It’s not hundred percent true. He goes and sleeps with his best friend’s girlfriend but there isn’t any reason. Their friendship was almost jeopardised. The other scene where he puts the commode seat on a girl he wants to marry. I am not defending that! It’s a terrible action.”The director went on to say, “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, scare people or fire a shot. He made a mistake. The Supreme Court judgement clearly explained the reason he had those arms. Everywhere I go, people say I have whitewashed him but I haven’t. What was Sanju’s crime? 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.”Hirani mentioned that Sanjay’s story was so vast, anyone could have picked an event of his life and made a standalone film. “Everyone can view the story through their own perspective. Someone would’ve made Sanju only on the chapter of how he acquired the gun, destroyed it, and then the case. It could’ve been a film of its own. But I thought everyone knew this. The father-son equation interested me more. How the father was dealing with a son like him,” he said.“I was blown away by Black Friday. If Anurag would’ve heard the story, he may have been attracted to the gun angle and would’ve made that story. He would’ve made a great film with that. Someone else would’ve wanted to sensationalise things and would’ve picked Sanju’s affairs. I’ve a library full of his affairs! I thought his battle with drugs and the court case was fascinating,” Hirani concluded.