Sanju: Not Ranbir, Ranveer Singh was producer’s first choice to play Sanjay Dutt

Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani raised many eyebrows when he announced a film based on Bollywood superstar Sanjay Dutt’s controversial life with Ranbir Kapoor in the lead. However, when the first teaser and trailer were released, everyone was convinced that Ranbir Kapoor was meant to play Sanjay Dutt. But surprisingly, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra felt Ranbir wasn’t an apt choice for Dutt’s character. Chopra, in his recent interaction with The Telegraph revealed he felt Ranbir won’t suit the role and they should consider casting Ranveer Singh instead.

While speaking to the daily, Chopra candidly told, “When he told me about Ranbir, I wasn’t happy at all. I thought someone else, like Ranveer Singh, could play this role much better. I thought Ranveer had the flamboyance, the emotional depth as well as the ability to change himself completely to play Sanjay Dutt. But Raju was adamant that Ranbir would be perfect. And when we started shooting and Ranbir became Sanjay Dutt, I had to kind of eat my words.”

The ‘3 Idiots’ producer was also sceptical about the idea of making a film on the life of Sanjay Dutt. He felt Hirani and his co-writer Abhijat Joshi had lost their minds to even come up with such a concept. However when the read the script, he was completely bowled over. “When he told me, I was like, ‘What’s there in Sanjay Dutt’s life that merits being made into a film?! It’s better you make a film on my life… how I left Kashmir as a young boy and struggled when I came to Bombay.’ (Laughs) I thought Raju and Abhijat (Joshi, Sanju’s co-writer) had lost their minds,” he said.

“When he (Hirani) sat me down and started narrating all that had happened in Sanju’s life, I was stunned! At first, I thought it was hogwash… that Sanju was somehow not telling Raju the truth, but when we started researching all that he’s said — from the 308 girlfriends he had to how he begged on the streets of US for the money to buy a bus ticket — we realised that everything he had told us was true,” he added.

It was during the narration when Vidhu Vinod Chopra realised that the much-loved ‘Jaadu ki Jhappi’ scene from ‘Munna Bhai M.B.B.S’ where Sanjay asks for his father Sunil Dutt’s forgiveness was for real. “I was standing there on the set of Munna Bhai and I had no idea they were actually living that scene,” he told the newspaper.

‘Sanju’ gives an insight into the crazy and hardships of Sanjay Dutt’s eventful life. The recently-released trailer of the film has taken the excitement of the audience to an all-time high, owing to the gripping story-line and power-packed performances by the ensemble cast.

Written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, the film also stars Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal, Sonam Kapoor, Jim Sarbh, Dia Mirza, Anushka Sharma and Paresh Rawal.

‘Sanju’ is slated to hit the theatres on June 29

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