Starring Ranbir Kapoor. In Hindi, with English subtitles. Rated PG.
Imagine the hoopla if one of Hollywood's biggest stars, say George Clooney or Brad Pitt, was arrested on terrorism-related charges.
It would attract the attention of the world.
But when Bollywood bad boy and irredeemable womanizer Sanjay Dutt was linked to a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993, it received little notice in the western media even as it seriously derailed his career.
In the new biopic Sanju, Indian director Rajkumar Hirani brings Dutt's circus of a life to the big screen, anchoring it on this long-running criminal case.
Bollywood A-listers Anushka Sharma and Sonam Kapoor demonstrate their superlative screen presence in important roles as Dutt's biographer and his young love, respectively. Dutt's close friend, played by Vicky Kushal, has his moments, but is more wooden and contrived than the other two.
But at its core, Sanju a film that explores the deep bond between an impulsive and flawed son and his buttoned-down, proper, and widely admired father.
Ranbir Kapoor captures Dutt's physicality and mannerisms well, while veteran character actor Paresh Rawal coolly plays his famous father, actor and politician Sunil Dutt, who stands by him through extremely trying times.
Kapoor is an outstanding and versatile actor, conveying the despair that Dutt must have felt battling drug addiction, as well as during his 23-year legal ordeal. Kapoor also captures Dutt's stoicism well.
And Kapoor manages to cover nearly four decades of Dutt's life in a convincing manner with the help of some world-class makeup artistry.
But on occcasion, the fast-paced Sanju still drifts into a campiness that's more designed to entertain the Indian masses than in exploring the complexities of Dutt's character.
In this film, Kapoor's Sanjay Dutt has so many hairstyles and so many ups and downs with his weight that it distracts from the story.
Dutt's professional career, which yo-yoed from box-office blockbusters to devastating failures, was mostly papered over in exchange for some settling of scores with the Indian media.
In real life, Dutt doesn't hide his flaws, unlike some of his famous peers in Bollywood. He lives lavishly, has suffered financial setbacks, and has, at times, struggled with alcohol.
In the end, Dutt may be too big a subject for any director to depict in all of his manifestations. But still, it's hard not to feel sympathy for the man after watching Sanju.