Posted by Fenil Seta
Sonil Dedhia (MID-DAY; April 20, 2017)
Developments, major or minor, in Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanjay Dutt biopic continue to pique the curiosity of cinephiles. The casting has been equally talked about, especially after recent paparazzi shots of Ranbir Kapoor looking a replica of Dutt. Another highlight is Manisha Koirala, who has romanced the actor in films in late ’90s, featuring as hislate actress-mother, Nargis.
“I hope to do justice to the role,” Manisha tells mid-day with noticeable excitement. “I have always been a fan of Nargisji (Sanjay’s late mother). I am nervous to play her character. the memories of her life and films are still fresh in people’s minds. It’s a challenge.” the 46-year-old actress has begun prep for the part by reading Sanjay’s sisters, Namrata and Priya’s book, Mr and Mrs Dutt: Memories of our Parents. “I am also planning to meet Priya to learn more about Nargisji. We did several look tests to replicate her appearance, from the time she had short hair till she grew them longer.”
Playing mom to Ranbir hasn’t been a cause for apprehension, she says. As for the selection of the protagonist, Manisha believes there couldn’t have been a better choice than Ranbir. “I am his admirer. He is the finest actor of this generation and I don’t think anyone could have played the part better. I saw his photographs [in the get up], and he reminded me of Sanju.”
Rajkumar had reasoned Manisha’s selection was fitting, given that she, like Nargis, was a cancer survivor. Manisha, who has just collaborated with the Nargis Dutt Foundation and Richfeel to spread awareness about the disease, had quietly hoped to work with the director. Ask her what her former co-star from the 2000 film, Baaghi, thinks of her in the role, and she says, “I haven’t had a chance to speak with Sanju, but I will meet him soon.”