Sanju: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen

Ranbir Kapoor starrer Sanju, is a film about a troubled star whose bad decisions have grave repercussions. But, it gives a positive message about facing adversities and doing the right thing.

By Vanshika Devuni Kalanidhi  • 8 min read

Sanju: Exclusive Movie Review By A Teen

As a kid who grew up in the Ranveer Singh generation, I had absolutely no idea who Sanjay Dutt was or what he did, to merit a biopic. The movie, Sanju, however, did a wonderful job conveying that to me. I have understood how good company, and some good decisions, can bring a turnaround in your life. 

The movie portrays the life and times of actor Sanjay Dutt and how he grew up in the shadow of his famous parents, constantly feeling underappreciated by his dad, his hero. It is a story of drugs, violence, women and wine. It is also a story of friendship and motivation.

Sanju (Ranbir Kapoor) is a brat in real life and and an underachieving son for his superstar father, Sunil Dutt (Paresh Rawal). At the peak of his youth, he gets involved in drugs and alcohol. He loses the love of his life, Ruby (Sonam Kapoor), and goes to the extent of selling her mangalsutra to fund his bad habits. When he loses his mother, and is unable to comprehend her last words because of his drugged state, Sanju decides to go into rehab and get his life together. 

After this, the film traces his journey as a successful hero, the terror charges against him and his alleged involvement in the Mumbai bomb blasts, his stint in jail and, his struggle with the media. Finally, it shows him trying to convince a biographer, Winnie (Anushka Sharma), to write a book about his life.           

When I saw Ranbir Kapoor’s first look in the movie, I was shocked because he didn't really look like the youthful and charismatic Ranbir I usually see (Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani). It reminded me of Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

A few scenes into the movie, I immediately noticed how good a storyteller director Rajkumar Hirani is. I remember watching 3 Idiots and thoroughly enjoying it when I was six or seven years old. All the scenes blended together smoothly, and I could understand every piece of information the movie mentioned. 

Sanju portrays the devastating effects of drug abuse and its terrible withdrawal symptoms, the burning sensation in the body, the chills and, so on. It has convinced me to say a firm ‘no’, if I am ever offered drugs. In fact, it could pass off as one of those ‘say no to drugs’ videos our school shows us once in a blue moon!

I love the scenes where Sunil Dutt is trying to motivate Sanju. We seldom pay attention to lyrics in Bollywood songs, we take for granted how uplifting these can be. It shows us that we need not always read a million self-help books to inspire ourselves. We should learn to find inspiration in small places. Sanju’s dad keeps quoting Hindi songs to keep him motivated. I personally loved the song, kar har maidan fateh, about turning into a conqueror in every situation.

The movie also gives us a strong sense of how the media can make or break a reputation. In civics, we learn how it is important for the media to give out balanced reports, and cite sources. I see a serious lack of both those things in today’s news reports. I now feel that what I write here can have a serious effect on the public. And from now on, I am going to watch out for the question mark in headlines. The only problem with the film, is that it seems to make a victim out of the protagonist, with everyone else responsible for his misdeeds. It could have been a little more honest.       

Manisha Koirala's portrayal of actress Nargis, the adorable mom, is heart-warming. I have a sweet-spot for reel mothers, including the mothers in Secret Superstar and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. I also loved the portrayal of Sunil Dutt in this film. He is a lovable character who shares insightful pieces of wisdom from time to time. As the credits roll, a song called Baba Bolta Hai Bas Ho Gaya came on, where Sanjay Dutt makes an appearance. Now, I have never watched his movies, but since this movie described his life so well, it felt good to see him.  

Note to self: Watch Munnabhai MBBS on Youtube.

I would recommend the movie to people my age, as it has a lot of amazing social messages.

5 takeaways from Sanju:

  1. It is okay to be ordinary. Not everyone needs to do something great to be happy
  2. Don’t do drugs or alcohol as it ruins your life. These battles can consume a good decade of your time
  3. Wrong friends mean wrong decisions. Spend time picking the right ones
  4. Not everything you read or hear in the media is true. Watch out for the question mark in every headline. See both sides of the coin
  5. Find your own kind of motivation around you. For me, it’s like listening to Hamilton, a hip-hop musical about the American founding father, Alexander Hamilton. I even have a poster of it on my vision board

The author is a writer/blogger who blogs at

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