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Why Are We Making & Watching Films About Anti-Heroes?



It shames me to say this. But the Sanjay Dutt biopic in its third week did a far better business than the Sandeep Singh bio-pic in its first week.

For those who came in late Sandeep Singh is an Arjuna winner who has brought great glory to India in the field of hockey. Sanjay Dutt needs no introduction. Except for a gun which plays a pivotal part in both the biopics, there is nothing in common between the two stories. While the story of one is worthy of being seen by every man woman and child, the other one’s life story is so lurid and picturesque watching his saga is like being in a wild orchard filled with forbidden fruits.

Just think. While Sanjay Dutt apparently had over 300 girlfriends (and this number, we are informed, does not include sex workers), Sandeep Singh dedicated his life to one woman and one love whose real name is not even mentioned in the film.

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Recently in a television interview, Dutt was asked if the number of girlfriends mentioned in Sanju is correct. Looking sheepishly at the interviewer Baba (anything but black sheep) grinned that it was a fair number, and no he hadn’t kept a diary of his sexual conquests. Maybe he should have. At least we would have got to know why 300-plus women in India fell for the badass image of Sanjay Dutt. Drugs, guns and rock ‘n’ roll. Yeah, baby yeah. So cool.

Anyone who walks into the theatre to watch Sanju knows every sordid detail of his life and expects it to be ladled out in full measures. Director Raj Kumar Hirani doesn’t hold back the titillation. He only curbs the truth. Ranbir Kapoor gives a clean-boy image to Sanjay Dutt. I hear both Dutt and Kapoor now plan to work together in a film. Considering how much media-bashing Sanju indulges in, I suggest a film on the rivalry between two publishers of the two biggest newspapers of the country. I even have a title Jain & Tonic.

Sandeep Singh with his unparalleled return near-death to the top of the playing field cannot hope to equal the allure of the dark web where Sanjay Dutt’s story belongs. It still remains in the dark. Sanju has told us nothing we didn’t already know. Soorma tells us everything we ought to know. The difference is between celebrating a true hero and glorifying a life of truancy.

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Take your pick. Sadly, the audience already has made its choice. Can’t wait to see a biopic on the sports rogue who pushed the 17-year old girl to her death during the mock-drill in Coimbatore. We can name it Maut Ka Messiah.

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