Why didn't I like the movie Sanju?

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Monday May 7, 2007

Super Film Monthly 1/1979: Make Way For Sanju

Super Film Monthly, January 1979

Make Way For Sanju

The Dutts tried their best to keep their son Sanju out of the big bad movie world for as long as possible. They sent him to boarding school. They kept him away from the movie parties. They swept away curious journalists. But you can't control the son of a famous actor. And Sanjay Dutt is now ready for the world ...

About twenty years ago, on July 29th, the film industry celebrated a birth. Sunil and Nargis Dutt had had their first child, and everyone cheered his arrival. The buns gave him the name Sanjay. And called him Sanju.

Sanju was born into a glittering world and grew up there. His father was a pioneer in many ways, because it was his film Mujhe Jeene Do that gave the Indian hero a new, strong, rough image. Over the years, Sunil Dutt had retreated into the background, only to then rise to the surface in a dramatic way with Heera. Sanju's mother was considered by most people in the industry to be the first lady of the Indian movie screen.

After Sanju was born, his father climbed even greater heights when he turned to filmmaking and produced and directed major films such as Yaadein, Reshma Aur Shera, and Mujhe Jeene Do. When Sanju was one year old, his mother withdrew from the film world. But her charisma and reputation were so important that she remained a shining force in the industry. Together, Sunil and Nargis belonged to the blue-blooded elite of the film world.

None of this could remain a stranger to little Sanju. As he grew from toddler to schoolboy, he absorbed the magic of his parents' world. Like so many other kids in the film industry, he began to feel the irresistible magnetism of the screen. And like so many other film industry parents, the Dutts seemed to have made up their minds that their son shouldn't get lost in the world of celluloid.

The Dutts kept Sanju out of the prying eyes of the public and sent him to the safe anonymity of a boarding school, the famous school in Sanawar. But Sanju's annual vacation in Bombay never went unnoticed. His photos appeared in the magazines, and everyone talked about his striking resemblance to his famous parents. With the fine aristocratic features of his mother and the tall, powerful figure of his father, Sanju embodied the best possible alchemy of the appearance and physique of his parents.

The first producers soon put out feelers. The Dutts tried in vain to counteract the publicity their son generated by keeping him away from film events and celebrations. They caused him to dodge the journalists who were busily sniffing his personal life. But they couldn't keep their son under control. During his senior year at school, Sanju had made it into the gossip columns - thanks to a romance.

His name has been linked to one of the hottest new discoveries of the moment: Tina Munim. The Dutts were horrified. Sanju was warned not to be seen with Tina in public. But the rumor mill couldn't be stopped. Sanjay had become the talk of the town.

Inevitably, a few months earlier, the question arose: Should Sanju turn to the film world? Would his parents allow it? Until then, Sunil and Nargis had almost deliberately avoided thinking about it. There was still time to plan for Sanju's future after he graduated from high school. Then his school days ended and Sanju was back in Bombay. The Dutts thought long and hard and then, in the best tradition of liberal parents, left the choice to Sanju.

And Sanju wanted a film career. He had already gotten a tantalizing taste of what it would be like.

Once this decision was made, the Dutts no longer closed themselves off and gave Sanju all their support from their hearts. If Sanju wanted to go to the film, so should he. And only the most professional approach was good enough. A rigorous route of march was drawn up, and Sanju was thrown into a hectic training vortex that took up practically all of his time.

The morning is reserved for physical training. At dawn, Sanju starts riding lessons. Sunil accompanies him as often as he can, and it is a familiar sight when both of them gallop along Juhu Beach. Karate lessons follow: Sanju will soon be the only Hindi film star who has completed a complete training in martial arts. Tall and athletic, his movements make a fascinating study of grace and strength. To keep fit and slim, Sanju started a strict diet. But to the horror of his mother Nargis, he soon lost so much weight that the diet had to be revised in a hurry.

In the afternoon, language training is the order of the day - B.S. Thapa instructs Sanju in both Hindi and Urdu - as well as improvisation and acting courses with Roshan Taneja. "I have mastered a complete section of a Faiz Ahmed Faiz ghazal," said Sanju triumphantly.

The dance lessons, however, attract him most. Sanju moves with an impeccable sense of rhythm and grace. "With music," he said modestly, "I feel okay."

The Dutts had toyed with the idea of ​​sending Sanju to the United States for formal training at an acting academy, but abandoned the idea. Nargis admits she was concerned about the effect a “foreign culture” might have on Sanju: “I wouldn't want my son to go to waste or freak out,” she says. “And there was no guarantee that it wouldn't exactly happen. Frankly, I believe Sunil, Ajanta Arts, and I gave Sanju a solid foundation. Sending him abroad would have been a good status symbol, but it was simply not important enough. "

During the past six months, as it became apparent that Sanju was getting ready for his film debut, producers began knocking on Sunil's offers. Sunil turned them all down. It was speculated that Sunil feared being overshadowed by his own son. But apparently Sunil had other plans and pursued them purposefully.

On January 1, 1979, Sanjay Dutt will stand in front of a film camera for the first time as a hero.

The Muhurat is expected to be a mammoth event, with 90 to 100 life-size posters of Sanju on display. Nargis and Sunil will officially launch their son in a film that Amarjeet will produce and that Sunil will write and direct himself.

Sunil, Nargis and Sanju form a trio that get along well, but in conversations with Sanju about "Dad" you can hear a clear hint of awe and respect. "Am I afraid? Clear. The mere thought that dad is my director petrifies me. When I was a kid, Dad put me in a qawwali scene in Reshma Aur Shera. All I was supposed to do was sit and clap and wah wah. But all I did was grin and giggle at the camera. I was just too nervous. Dad added thirteen days to shooting the qawwali until he got me ready to do exactly what he wanted. He's a perfectionist. "

Nargis is aware of how self-conscious her son feels in the presence of his father. “I wanted to help create a relationship between the two of them, so I suggested they go on vacation to London together. I hoped the atmosphere there would help the boy to become a little more relaxed in the company of his father. "

“No chance,” says Sanju. "Sure, we went to pubs and discos and what do I know where, but Dad stayed Dad."

And his mother? "Mum? She is a sweetheart. I can tease her at any time, dress her up and get things from her. ”For him, Nargis is unique in Indian cinema. Surprisingly, Sanju has only recently begun appropriating his mother's old films. "I could never get through Mother India on a seat," he says. "It was too much. I think I just didn't like watching Mum shoot Dad at the end of the movie. "

I observed Nargis ’behavior towards Sanju during our photo shoot. She never made any suggestions on him, never asked him to take a certain pose. Rather, she attached great importance to spontaneity. Sunil, on the other hand, gave Sanju precise instructions about the exact angle to the camera and the importance of proper lighting. At such moments he was a director, not a father.

I asked Sanju about his goal. "The summit. And I'll get there because I'm determined to. I don't want to be arrogant, but I know that being my parents' son will give me a head start. I also know that a head start is not a guarantee of success. I will have to work hard. Not only in terms of acting, but also in other areas of filmmaking such as editing, directing and scripting. "

How does Nargis rate Sanju's chances? “I am confident that he will do well. The only problem is that he's too young and I'm afraid that he might be thrown off balance and that all the fanfare around him will get to his head. He is very moody and lets himself be tempted to quarrel with the slightest provocation. "

Sanju rejected this just as his mother had predicted: angry. “I only freak out when my parents are slandered in front of me. They may be public figures, but I will never accept irresponsible talk about them. And that's all I'm fighting for. "

I asked Sanju what he would do with his first fee check. The answer came without hesitation: “A Mercedes 450 S.L. Buy an automatic for me, a sports car for Mum - she's been grumbling for years that I use hers all the time - and a watch for Dad. We saw her in London; it was very expensive, and dad joked that I should buy it for him as soon as I earn my own money. "Immediately, Nargis intervened:" Do you think you are Amitabh Bachchan that your fee will be enough for all of this? "

Sanju's ambitions go even further: “Do you know what I want to do one day, and soon? I want to play with mum and dad in a movie. I will bring my mother back to the canvas as my mother. "

Nargis laughed. "No chance I'll play a two-minute role with you, son," she said. “Maybe your father compromises, but I don't; not in professional matters. "Seriously, she added," Besides, beta, your mother is getting old. But with a mother-oriented film with you in a small role, I would at least think about it. "

"How will you manage your life once you have started filming?" I asked Sanju.

"There is no rotation on Saturday and Sunday," he replied. “I've seen the technicians toil and I want to try and give them a break. For me, they won't ruin their weekends. As for roles, I don't want to be tied to any particular type by any means. Action Hero, Romantic Hero, you know ... Not with me. I will play everything. "

That afternoon we drove to Sun’n’Sand with Sanju for a few pictures. He looked great in his all black outfit and long boots with heels. How a small group of girls greeted him there amazed us - and made Sanju totally embarrassed. One of them prophetically called him the "superstar of our generation". Sanju blushed when he signed his first autograph on another of the young girls' arms. “What on earth have I done to be able to sign autographs now? I feel really stupid, ”he said, and that was definitely not an act. But he remained gallant across the board.

I later tried my best to get some clear statements from Sanju about his romance with Tina. "The whole thing has been pushed up and out of proportion," he said. “I've known her for many years, and we meet like millions of other young people our age. I can't understand all the heavy talk about love and marriage. Sure, Tina is cute and very cool to look at. In fact, frankly, I think people just care about their looks anyway. Your acting leaves a lot to be desired. Hey, look - she's not going to like this all too well. Let's just forget about this, okay? "

But his parents keep an eye on Tina. When I asked Nargis if they had already found a co-star for Sanju, she replied, “Sunil and I wanted a new and fresh face next to Sanju to enhance the impact of his debut. But we haven't found the right face yet, there wasn't enough time. Tina is the obvious choice of the girls already on the scene, and she's really excited to be cast with Sanju. I think they could make a good couple. "

I had one last question for Sanjay. Would he use his real name on screen since there is already another Sanjay in the industry? "Naturally. He's just a Sanjay, but not a bun, ”Sanjay answered with the utmost confidence.

There is hardly anything that could shake Sanjay's confidence. He has everything you need to make it big in films: his mother's acting talent, his father's determination, and the solid support of his two parents.

(Pammi Bakshi; German from Diwali)