Guest Post by: Diwali
Diwali is an enthusiastic Sanjay Dutt supporter who has agreed to give us her take on Kancha, Sanjay Dutt's newest character in the acclaimed Agneepath, directed by Karan Malhotra. The Hindi Cinema Blog thanks her for her valuable contribution to more literature on this amazing actor and is glad to leave more detailed introductions to Diwali herself. :-)
Okay, for the record and for those who don't know me: I love Sanju. However, I do not call myself a "fan" – I prefer the attribute "supporter" for that is what I do: I support Sanju for better and for worse. Sure, you might point out that I was crazy enough to fly down to Mumbai from Germany for only a two day stay (!) two years ago just because I got an invitation to meet Sanjay Dutt. On the other side, this meeting confirmed my opinions about the human being Sanju (I always cared more for the human being than for the actor) and so I keep on supporting him running my website www.sanjay-dutt.info and my Twitter fanclub SanjayDuttFC for him. Even a series of flops (not undeserved in the case of those mindless comedies in 2011) cannot change my affection for him given that, as I said, the man means more to me than his movies.
When the news was out that Sanju would play the role of the villain Kancha in Karan Johar's Agneepath I got the immediate feeling that this could turn out to be one of his best movies. My confidence grew when I heard that he should go bald for Kancha for this sounded just too good. I guess I should add that I do not belong to those film fans who always want their favorites to look good/dashing/sexy/hot or whatever on screen. I love actors who don't care about how they look in their films and who do not shy away from ugliness if the role requires it. And Sanju is such an actor. He has proved it again and again since his early years in the industry. He never wanted to be a star given that, as he once said, stars fade while actors stay forever.
|Diwali going bald for her role in the theatre|
Bald is beautiful. Not only Anupam Kher can confidently say this but me too, because just shortly before even I had gone bald – I actually had shaved off my hair (which had been considerably longer than Sanju's) for a role in an open air theatre performance. Similarly to Kancha we also had tried to use prosthetics first but already when we put it on for the first time I knew immediately that this wouldn't work for me – it looked terrible, it felt terrible, and it would take hours and hours in the makeup room only to end up with an uncomfortable result. Why should I do this to myself? So I asked the hair stylist to throw the prosthetics away and shave my head completely. It was the best decision I have made in my life. I felt so free and authentic in my role and not for a second did I miss my long mane.
So that's why I first frowned when I heard that Sanju would use prosthetics. I then predicted that he would sooner or later be sick and tired of using these and would get rid of them. And right I was! When I got the news from the sets in Diu that Sanju finally had given short shrift to it all when the prosthetics had started melting and dropping in the heat, there I was, celebrating – for now I was sure that this Kancha would become something exceptional in Sanju's filmography.
Nevertheless, I still remember how I gasped when Dharma Productions launched the first look of Kancha on Sanju's birthday last year. This "Dark Lord of Bollywood" actually surpassed my expectations. It was so good to read all those positive reactions on the Internet! But this was nothing compared to what happened when the first theatrical trailer came out. I watched the launch live on the web and I had promised my friends to take some screenshots. When the trailer started – and Kancha appeared in the rain – my jaw dropped. Literally. I forgot to make screenshots. I forgot everything – I could only stare at Kancha.
At that moment I knew I would love Kancha. No matter how evil, cruel or brutal he would turn out to be, I would love him. I have seen each and every one of Sanju's movies, even those where he appears in the smallest cameos, but hardly ever the look of a role has appealed so much to me than that of Kancha. And I also knew already after seeing the trailer, that this would be one of Sanju's milestone performances – to be added to the line of Naam, Saajan, Sadak, Khalnayak, Vaastav, Mission Kashmir, Kaante, Pitaah, Shabd and the Munnabhai series.
And since yesterday I know this for sure. I saw Agneepath – and I saw Sanjay Dutt as never before. Maybe even as he will never be ever again.
Often before and even after the release of Agneepath I read media reports about "Khalnayak's Return" and about all the other negative roles Sanjay Dutt has already played. But in my opinion, these comparisons do not work because never before had Sanju embodied a character as thoroughly evil as Kancha. All his "negative roles" had either been anti-heroes like Khalnayak or Raghubhai in Vaastav, or they had grey shades or even positive traits, such as the gangsters in Kaante, Plan or Musafir. Even Raka in Zaarelay, one of Sanju's meanest roles until now, had turned out to have at least a bit of goodness in his heart.
Kancha, however, is evil. No ifs, ands or buts. I do not want to agree with the statement that he is evil personified, but he becomes, as sure as hell, a completely mean and mad psychopath. A villain without conscience who has fun torturing and killing people. Mad, menacing, unpredictable, dangerous. A man to fear. And a man to hate.
Obviously even Sanju himself felt this way when he dubbed his portions in the climax and suddenly felt sick, could not go on and needed a break. When Karan Johar asked him what was happening, Sanju admitted that he just could not stand his own sight. He couldn't believe that this cruel, evil, mad psychopath on the screen was actually him. Hrithik had felt similarly when, during the shooting of the climax, Sanju had stared at him in such an angry and dirty way that Hrithik, as he remembered later, fell out of his character several times.
For in real life, Sanju is the most gentle and gold-hearted man one could imagine. If there is one role which actually reflects Sanju's personality onscreen it is not Kancha, not Khalnayak, not Raghubhai but the loveable Munnabhai. No wonder Sanju was scared of his own sight as Kancha. No wonder Hrithik couldn't believe that Sanju could transform into such a menacing monster. I couldn't believe it either. Not that I had doubted Sanju's acting skills, but in Agneepath I saw him look, stare, laugh, grin and act like never before. It was incredible. It was Sanjay Dutt at his best, baddest and most awesome at the same time.
With Kancha, Sanjay Dutt has given a villain to the Hindi Cinema which in days to come certainly will be named and remembered in the same breath with Gabbar Singh and Mogambo. However, I doubt whether I want to see Sanju as a villain again. Not because he failed or couldn't do it or because I wasn't stunned (for I definitely was!) – but because I don't think there will ever be a way to top this larger-than-life performance.
I do not know whether Sanju will be given any awards for Kancha, for let us be honest: Even Rishi Kapoor delivered an amazing and award-worthy performance as the villainous Rauf Lala in Agneepath. On the other hand, I guess no award in the world could be more valuable and dearer to Sanju's heart than the praise he keeps receiving when people say that he is mindblowing in both the most sweet and loveable as well as in the most evil and hateable roles. Sanjay Dutt is the man who convinces the audience both as Munnabhai and as Kancha and will be remembered for both these characters. An actor can hardly wish for a better compliment.
On his promotion tour, before the Agneepath release, Sanju expressed his amazement over people obviously loving Kancha. I can understand him, actually you should hate this devil. But I cannot. I love Kancha for giving us a new and never imagined Sanjay Dutt. And I love Sanjay Dutt for giving us Kancha.