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I don’t want to glorify Sanjay Dutt’s life: Rajkumar Hirani

The Bollywood film-maker opens up about the challenges of making a biopic on his close friend and actor Sanjay Dutt.

bollywood Updated: Jan 20, 2015 14:32 IST
Shalvi Mangaokar
Shalvi Mangaokar
Hindustan Times
Sanjay Dutt

Film-maker Rajkumar Hirani, whose last release starring Aamir Khan broke all records at the box-office, has already started concentrating on his next project — a biopic on close friend and actor, Sanjay Dutt.

In this interview, the Bollywood director talks about his most recent meeting with Dutt, why he chose to make a biopic on him, and more.

How does Sanjay feel about a biopic being made on his life?
He’s the one who felt that this (the biopic) should be done, and he’s pretty excited about it. He’s told me a lot about his good and bad sides. And I think it was cathartic for him, to talk to somebody about his life as it is. So, he has opened up a lot… we have an interesting script.

Will it be hard for you to make a biopic on someone who you know so well personally?
A biopic has to be truthful, and, especially in Sanjay’s case, we will have to be truthful because we don’t want to be accused of glorifying him. I have also told him this clearly, ‘If we make this film, we want to tell this story as it is with all your flaws and your goodness.’

Why did you choose to make a biopic on him in particular?
I don’t think anybody has lived a life like Sanjay’s. It’s like he has lived 20 lives in his 55 years. We’ve done biopics on historical characters, but nobody has really done a biopic on a man who is both good and bad. Some aspects about his life are so fascinating, emotional and even funny. I got drawn to the anecdotes about his life.

Everyone predicted a great run at the box-office for your latest film.
That surprised me. I had thought that it would do average business. A message is not something that gets you business. 3 Idiots (2008) was more of a fun film, this one was more serious and not with a very popular sentiment.

Did the protests against the film bother you?
Of course. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt while the protests were taking place. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning and hear that someone has been hurt or has died. But soon, I realised that these were small protests.

Can you elaborate on that?
There were about 25-30 people who would enter the theatre, do something and vanish. The funniest thing was that these people would always call a news channel before doing something. So,I realised that these protests was not coming from the real sentiment of being against the content of the film. On the contrary, there were millions going in and watching the film, and liking it. When I look back, the film was running in 3,500 theatres and the protest happened at only 30 theatres.

First Published: Jan 20, 2015 14:27 IST