There is a fine thin line dividing liberalism from slander. Given an opportunity our filmmakers easily cross that line. Raj Kumar Hirani’s Sanju has an extremely cheeky sequence, bordering on disparagement, referring to a very distinguished veteran political leader whom Sanjay Dutt had visited in the hope of getting amnesty from his serious legal problems.
Apparently the political leader (played in the film by Anjan Shrivastava) known for his keen sense of poetry and a fabulous oratorical skills, simply fell asleep in front of Sanjay Dutt while the latter poured out his woes. In a tongue-in-cheek voiceover Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanjay Dutt tells us, “We still don’t know whether he pretended to go to sleep to avoid hearing my problems or he actually fell asleep.” Anyone familiar with the eminent politicians of our country would know whom the film is referring to. We also know that the real Sanjay Dutt had met the then-Prime Minister in 1999 for help while visiting New York.
While the censor helmer Prasoon Joshi chose not to comment on this nearly-unambiguous reference to a much-respected political leader a member of the censor board says, “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.” Ironically by concealing the politician’s identity, Sanju resorts to the very ambiguity in the media that the film so savagely attacks. Since Sanjay Dutt, Ranbir Kapoor and Paresh Rawal make a big noise in Sanju about the press using the question-mark as an escape route to slanderous reportage, here is one more: is the veteran politician in Sanju who starts snoring while Dutt is venting, who we think he is?