Salman Khan was not happy with Ranbir Kapoor playing the role of his good friend Sanjay Dutt and felt that Rajkumar Hirani should've let Sanju play the last eight or ten years. Arshad Warsi also agreed with Salman and said that no matter what Ranbir would do, he cannot become Sanju. And surprisingly, producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra also had his apprehensions about casting Ranbir for Sanjay Dutt's role in the biopic.
When Hirani told him that he wanted to cast Ranbir Kapoor in the titular role, Chopra wasn't happy at all. He thought that Ranveer Singh would be a better choice than Ranbir as the former was pretty confident about the emotional depth the actor brings in his characters and ability to transform himself completely into someone like Sanjay Dutt.
"It was Raju's idea to cast Ranbir. 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," Chopra told The Telegraph in an interview.
But Chopra was quite impressed with Ranbir when they started shooting for the film and feels that the actor has done justice to the role.
"And when we started shooting and Ranbir became Sanjay Dutt, I had to kind of eat my words. I think I can best sum this up by saying that Ranbir has become Sanjay Dutt both in swagger and soul," Chopra said.
"When he (Hirani) 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," Chopra said when he was asked if he was not in favour of making the Sanjay Dutt biopic.
But Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Dutt's bonding and their unknown facts intrigued him to proceed with making the film.
"But when he 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 further added, "When the film was being written, I discovered a Sanjay Dutt I didn't know... a Sunil Dutt I didn't know... and this after having known them for 20-25 years. I was stunned to know that the scene in Munna Bhai MBBS when Dutt saab and Sanju cry after the son asks the father's forgiveness and they hug each other was actually real... that they were crying for real. Imagine I was standing there on the set of Munna Bhai and I had no idea they were actually living that scene! We have kept it in the film."