Released on June 29, 2018, ‘Sanju’ marked a turning point for the actor-producer’s film career as she essayed Sanjay Dutt’s wife on screen
Putting oneself in another’s shoes is never easy, whether in real or reel life. A considerable amount of empathy and sensitivity is expected, and that is the one experience Dia Mirza hasn’t forgotten, from her role as Maanyata Dutt in the 2018 biopic ‘Sanju’. Playing the on-screen wife of Ranbir Kapoor who plays Sanjay Dutt in the film, brought with it a motley of experiences, all of which Dia still remembers as one that defined the way forward for her career in the industry. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, ‘Sanju’ was a critical and commercial success and made a mark in the hearts of ardent Sanjay Dutt fans for its honest storytelling and vulnerability.
‘Sanju’ is the first biopic the actor was associated with in her filmography. Known for delivering deeply empathetic performances in all of her projects, the ‘Kaafir’ actor remembers the process of getting into Maanyata’s character and how she was determined to get it just right. “Having worked with Raju Sir before, the comfort level was already established. This significantly helped me imbibe the character he had written with Abhijat Joshi (the scriptwriter), which truly did justice to the strong presence Maanyata had in Sanjay sir’s life. For me, it was an opportunity to empathise with everything she had experienced in her real life, and I hope I did justice to the role,” Dia says.
‘Sanju’ was also the first time Dia worked with Ranbir Kapoor which was an effortless process, as she’s admitted before. While Hirani’s association with the project was a big factor in the actress’ eagerness to do the role, another special factor was her personal connection with Sanjay Dutt himself. Dia has shared screen space with Dutt in dozen films including ‘Parineeta’, ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ and, ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’, Dus, Dus Kahaniya, and found that her role as Maanyata brought things to a full circle. “The entire experience at the time was surreal,” she confesses, “Sanjay Sir was always wonderful to me through all our projects together. I owe him some of the most special films in my life, ‘Sanju’ being one of them,” she added.
“Working on a biopic like ‘Sanju’ two years ago has shaped so much of my present life. I’m grateful to each person in that team and for all the encouragement I received while preparing for the role. I hope for many more such experiences as an actor and as a producer,” she signs off.
Sanju also stars Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Anushka Sharma, and Vicky Kaushal. The film traces Sanjay Dutt’s real-life as a star kid, his love affairs, encounter with drugs, the 1993 Mumbai blasts, and his imprisonment.