Did Sanju insult Atal Bihari Vajpayee?
Did Sanju insult Atal Bihari Vajpayee?Movie still/Reuters

Rajkumar Hirani's biopic on Sanjay Dutt, Sanju, starring Ranbir Kapoor, has been receiving praise from all sections, but one particular scene showing a veteran politician irked many.

One scene in Sanju shows Sanjay Dutt reaching out to a prominent politician to seek help when he was facing charges for possessing an illegal weapon after the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

The scene shows the aged politician falling asleep with his eyes open while Sanjay was narrating his ordeal. Ranbir's character then says, "We still don't know whether he pretended to go to sleep to avoid hearing my problems or he actually fell asleep".

Although the makers of Sanju did not mention any politician's name, many felt that the character had resemblance with the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

There are a number of tweets expressing anger at the makers of Sanju for apparently portraying one of the most revered Indian political leaders in a ridiculing manner. Some even questioned the censor board for allowing the scene.

Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam kapoor, Rajkumar Hirani
Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam kapoor, Rajkumar HiraniInstagram

However, the censor board in its defence said that if they would have created a fuss of it, the politician's name would have been out.

"We all knew whom the film was referring to. But he is mentioned only as 'The Politician'. If we raised a hue and cry about it this venerated politician's name would've been out in the public domain and the film's team would have denied it was the politician, we all know," National Herald quoted a CBFC member as saying.

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, Sanju has turned out to be the biggest opening weekend grosser of 2018. With highly positive reviews and strong word of mouth, the biopic has been pulling audience from all quarters.

Nonetheless, it also has been having its own share of controversies. Apart from this scene involving a politician, the film is being slammed by some for presenting media as a villain in the film.

Ranbir Kapoor, Sanju trailer
Ranbir Kapoor in and as Sanjay Dutt in SanjuYouTube screenshot

The movie gives a picture that every media house had made fabricated news reports while reporting on Sanjay's TADA case. Also, it is being said that by portraying Sanjay as an innocent victim, the film is more a PR stunt than a biopic.

However, Hirani later opened up about the row, and stated that the film in now way tried to whitewash Sanjay's image as according to him, everything wrong that he did in his life has been shown.

"Yes, he kept the gun, and we have shown that. We have shown that he served five years in jail and that he is saying it was a mistake... So where is the question of whitewashing? What have I whitewashed? I want to understand that," he told media.

"People are using this word whitewash. I want to know what have I whitewashed? I have shown that he had 308 girlfriends, that he was so addicted to drugs, he slept with his friend's girlfriend. Is this whitewashing?" he added.