It’s been a week after Sanju’s release and the most awaited Bollywood film got passed with flying colors. I watched the film on the very first day with same level of excitement. Not because I had an interest peeking into Sanjay Dutt’s life or to watch another film for my entertainment. But only for the reason that is bringing a completely different entertainment to Bollywood since few years, Rajkumar Hirani and his unique story telling technique.
For your information, this blog is not a review. It’s neither an appreciating one nor a defaming one. This is purely my analysis and an outcome of my indulgence into cinema and hindi films. I used to think over the aspects of films again and again after watching any film and so I did with Rajkumar Hirani films. Rajkumar Hirani, the guy who gave us unforgettable fevicol ads, the guy who presented issues in a light hearted way, the guy who started making blockbusters, the guy who has brought back story based entertainment in Bollywood in the era of remakes and the guy who whose hard work and determination is clearly seen in his movies and is unobjectionable.
Here I am decoding Raju’s work patterns and a formula he made. Film-by-film he got to know about few elements which make a film blockbuster and now they are applicable and visible in his work. This set-formula is not only a hit for Rajkumar Hirani but other filmmakers are also copying the same now. Let me go ingredient by ingredient among Raju’s dishes that he served to us in last decade.
Narrative Style Format
This can be the foremost thing that many have observed in Hirani movies. Started from 3 idiots (2009), where Abhijat Joshi and Hirani made the whole screenplay as a narrative by R Madhavan. I guess, it was the demand of the script or it was made like that only. 90% of the film happened in the flash back. The came PK where half of the film was narrated by Aamir Khan in jail to Anushka Sharma’s character. Now, in Sanju, the first part of the film is narrated by the central character Sanjay Dutt to the book writer, again played by Anushka Sharma. Most of the second part of the film is narrated by Vicky Kaushal to Anushka Sharma again. Looks like Anushka has become a permanent listener of flashbacks in Hirani films.
This narrative style is being successfully adopted by other film makers too. Few of the successful films having few parts or whole movie in narration are ‘Yeh Jawani hai deewani’, ‘Bareily Ki Barfi’, ‘Barfi’, ‘Marykom’ and many others. To be precise, ‘Baahubali series’ and ‘Dangal’, blockbuster movies in recent times, are having narrative style screenplays. On the other hand, there are biggies which are flopped as they have a story of real time. I am not mentioning names as the reasons of their failures can be more than just the story telling style format. Whatsoever, Abhijat Joshi and Raju Hirani, both have started and now glued to narrative styles only.
A significantly non-important role of females
Ok! This can be misinterpreted as ‘being feminist’ but Hirani movies have been really unfair to women characters in the film. The central character, always, is a man. Munnabhai in Munnabhai, idiots in 3 idiots (Aamir Khan with more preference), PK in PK and Sanju in Sanju. Haha! Another similarity in film, names are actually the name of the central character only. Well, in all these films, actresses are there to place the protagonist from one place to other. Like Indian films are always used to be, ‘girls’ or specifically ‘girl whom they love’, are just the motivation to do an act in film.
For example, Kareena in 3 idiots was a dumb character and easily got impressed by Aamir’s character. All she wanted in the film was about the barriers in kissing. She was a doctor but still the story molded in such a way that central character of the film did the delivery of a new born while Kareena, the doctor, was on a video chat. The character of ‘Jaggu’ started the film PK but remained bridge for Aamir Khan’s character till the end. The roles of Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor and Karishma Tanna were comparatively low and unimportant in the latest Sanju. Even Manisha Koirala, got a very less screen space and was there to motivate the character at a point of time. I have also strong doubts that they have shot a longer part but was being edited after the production. In both the Munnabhai films, actresses were playing motivation for Munnabhai to go ahead in the story and that’s it.
It’s an era of women centric films and where ‘Raazi’, ‘MOM’ and ‘Neerja’ movies are not only acceptable by the audiences but are successful on ticket windows as well. Bollywood is getting out of the heroism and a story having both hero and heroine as equal importance would have been appreciated.
A surprisingly digestive ‘thuchuk-thuchuk’ and ‘ghapaghap’!
Hirani movies always faced controversies weather it is 3 idiots’ comparison with Chetan Bhagat’s novel or PK’s hurting religious sentiments, there was nothing which could even stop the film release. Sanjay leela Bhansali would be highly jealous of him. I am here talking about controversies that could have generated but surprisingly are not. I am talking about the scene which could have seen a darkness of ‘cut’ by Censor board but are not. Most surprising for me is the happily digestion of scenes like ‘ghapaghap maane sex’, ‘balaatkaar ke liye diya stan’ or dancing cars by families of our country. This so called conservative society shuts the TV off on Sunny leone’s condom ads but can see a dedicated scene in PK about usage of condoms.
In Sanju, out of few comic scenes, only 2 or 3 of them I can remember which purely are ‘veg’ jokes. CBFC granted the film with U/A certificate and the only problem raised by them was about the toilet leakage scene. The same happened at the time of PK where CBFC was more concerned about a character of Shiva running in underwear. Out and out, Hirani taught many families and children, slang words like ‘ghapaghap’, ‘thuchuk-thuchuk’, ‘tharki chhokro’ and much more.
I think, Hirani is now addicted to show friendship stories to his movies. This may tap the younger crowd. He got proficient in this from Munna-Circuit era and the way it was presented in the films. I can re-call a scene where Sanjay Dutt slaps Arshad Warsi in frustration but then cries and apologize in an emotional scene. The emotional connect and bond of Rancho, Raju and Farhan, got printed in hearts of Indians in such a way that there is no better friendship story than 3 idiots.
After these successes, Hirani started putting ‘friendship’ as an important ingredient in his stories. This is because Sanjay Dutt was introduced in PK. In the end, the death of Sanjay Dutt’s character made PK realize a lot of things and motivates him to do another act. Exactly the same way, Munnabhai reacted to the death of Zaheer in Munnabhai MBBS. In Sanju as well, a whole chunk of film was based on partially fiction Sanju-Kamlesh Friendship story. The role of Kamli was very well played by Vicky Kaushal but their friendship turned out to be a climax of the film again. Reunion of friends was highly appreciated in 3 idiots at the end also.
At the end, there are many appreciating factors of the Hirani films are these are just few of the loopholes that I pointed out. There can be many good and bad things about one’s direction style and story writing style. I still can’t figure out how in the film Sanju, for some time, I forgot that they are Ranbir Kapoor and Paresh Rawal and just portraying characters. I still feel the best way to tell the people that they are doing something wrong is through a guy from another planet only. I am still proud of hindi speaking films like Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai and 3 idiots which were remade in other languages and in other countries as well. I just hope and wish from a great director to not follow a pattern and try experimentation with his own work. This is how an artist or showman should lead the lens.