In a post-interval scene of Sanju, an indignant Sunit Dutt (Paresh Rawal), huffs and puffs into the office of a newspaper editor. Dutt saab, as he was referred to by one and all, is not happy about the conjectures that the paper has been making about his son’s connection with the underworld. He is also not happy about the media panning his son’s films. Dutt saab, it seems, cannot fathom why the media is not being kind to his jigar ka tukda.
The editor in question plays a tape for him. A tape where Sanju Baba can be clearly heard sweet-talking some notorious underworld don. The upright and not-chastened Dutt saab conveniently changes the topic.
Now, he has a new ruse. Why is the media hell-bent on destroying his son’s career? Because, even after dozens of critical and box office failures, even after staggering proof establishing his connection with the underworld, nepotism’s (original) favourite child doesn’t deserve anything harsher than an occasional headline celebrating his love life.
Dutt then proceeds to literally pen a new headline for his son. ‘NOT Finished!’, declares the fond dad, leaving the gobsmacked editor register awe in slow motion in his own office. Sukhwinder Singh blares about conquering new heights in the background.
Eventually, at an award function, where Sanju Baba is given the Best Actor in a comic role award, the same editor rushes to Dutt saab, his tail firmly lodged between his legs.
Never before has a member of my fraternity been shamed with such righteous rage for simply doing his job. But then that’s Rajkumar Hirani for you. A man so caught up with penning morality tales that he has no time for greys, and certainly no intention of projecting anyone but his protagonist in sympathetic light.
That Sanju is a 3-hour-long let’s-make-a-hero-out-of-Sanju-Baba exercise is a known fact by now, but every hero needs a villain and Hirani, finds a convenient scapegoat in the media.
The AK 56 controversy ? Arre bhai, it was just a scared son trying to protect his family. Media is to be blamed for not quickly burying this trivial bit of news.
The RDX truck? That was just irresponsible reporting.
His terrible career choices? Again, media’s doing. For if they had not been critical of his bad films, he wouldn’t have had such an unprofessional attitude.
Hirani chooses not to focus on how Dutt had already been granted an unreasonable number of parole and furlough leaves owing to his celebrity status. But he holds media responsible for all the shit that Baba finds himself embroiled in.
Towards the end of Sanju’s incredible journey of self-promotion, we see an almost saint-like figure sermonising poor plebs about the greater truths of life through a radio show in Yerwada jail. Now, Sanju Baba has the right to lecture everyone because he has had the good fortune (and connections) to survive some terrible life decisions. As he takes stock of his life and sings paeans to his ever-supportive father, Sanju finally confronts the villain of his life.
“My life has been raped by irresponsible media headlines!”, he declares.
Well played, Mr Hirani, well played.