Sanju is new Sholay

Radhakanta Barik

Sanju film should be looked by us differently as it became a popular film liked by its audience like Sholay. As Gramsci tells that anything turns popular needs to be critically evaluated by the scholars. Whether the incident was true or false became immaterial as the story told by Hirani in a beautiful manner which creates an aesthetic pleasure in the audience. The story has brought the combination of two biographies and two texts which have converged in such a manner create a unified result. Biography of son and biography of father which are parallel and intercept at some critical points. Sunil Dutt as father who was a public persona had no link with son Sanjay Dutt as an actor. But as father he took interest as Sanjay became the victim of the social text that modern society experiences today that the problem of drugs. Taking drug by youths is a great problem in our society as we are looking at the American society as the ideal. American society is experiencing drug, sex and violence which remains as the mirror of our youths. These three incidents interconnected which create a text which can be called as a social text.

There is a large scale drugs available in India. If one goes to any park in Delhi one finds youths are sitting consuming drugs. Punjab society is experiencing this in a big way. The Bombay underworld is connected with drugs and American underworld is also connected with it. The camera moves over the youths hanging in club where drugs are available. The club scene is associated with sex and drugs.  Youths are victims of the international circuit. India is experiencing this problem in a big way. This part of the story is getting shown in a Brecht Ian way.  It shows in a hyperbolic way. The older generation suffers as the younger generation enjoys the combination of violence and drug and sex. The camera moves on the club scene in America which shows its deadly combination. This is about dynamics of social text in the film. This part of film is being liked by the larger crowd that is why it is a popular film.

Sanju’s biography provides the clues to film director to bring out the scene where these three items are closely associated in the plot. Sanju deals with his girlfriends which is shown in a diabolic manner.  He visits his girlfriend’s house to have a free drink on the plea that he is proposing her. In another desperate moment he invites her and garlanded her with a toilet cover. This is a symbolic meaning that your girl friends would be used as sheet not as human beings. Next there is ruthlessness in having sex with anybody. As it is shown in a friend’s fiancé with whom he is having sex. Sanju’s biography is being used to show these events where there is sexual immorality and masculine politics with the help of liquor and money.  Biography one is being liked and appreciated by the audience as modern youths are getting deep into consumerist culture where sex, liquor and drug are interconnected. This brings a friends circle where these goods are being consumed. Sanju’s biography helps in bringing a good number of friends where the consumerist culture is being appreciated by all.

The second biography is being used by the film director as a side activity. Senior Dutt is an idealistic human being enjoys his ideas by taking seriously by walking for peace from Hiroshima to Amritsahar without showing in pictures as spoken in words but in a cinematic language these words have no meaning. This explains the marginalization of the second biography. Except some moments of depression he uses some old film songs of great lyricists. These songs have not shown without any picturisation. The second biography is sidelined by the film maker as the consumerist culture does not appreciate the ideas and passions.

The political text revolves around the December 6, 1992 which created shock waves among people. Destruction of the Babrimasjid as best spoken by Kafi Ajmi 'Ram banabash for twelve years'. This is correct till today. Modi's model Gujarat and Bombay have come in response to that. Justice Srikrishna’s report on communal riots of Mumbai tells that without understanding the breakdown of Babri Masjid it is difficult to imagine the riots in Mumbai of 1992 and followed by the 1993 blasts. The inquiry into riots by the police commissioner M P Singh admits the importance of the interconnectedness of these events. Justice is still haunting those victims. The film maker has taken the backdrop of these events without creating a political meaning out of it. It is shown in a dispassionate manner.  These are as if dull moments of in the art of storytelling. Perhaps the younger audience is not interested in seeing the political implication of these events. That political event transformed biography of both father and son. Father as a politician got involved in providing services to riot victims. Son got scared of these incidents who allowed a gun to be kept in their residence. Both these texts have brought trimmers in biographies. Two biographies and two social texts have created a unified aesthetic satisfaction in the audience that makes the film popular.

Jul 20, 2018

Prof Radhakanta Barik [email protected]

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