The film Sanju, based on Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s tumultuous life, has broken box office records this opening weekend, earning a total of about 120 crores.

Sanju is being lauded for its intense and well-structured drama, the poignancy of the plot, and the impactful acting of Ranbir Kapoor who plays the lead role of Sanjay Dutt. The movie addresses important themes of drug and alcohol addiction, family pressures, friendship, and Dutt’s struggle to clear his name as a terrorist.

Perhaps most significant, however, is the role of the media showcased in the second half of the story when Dutt’s struggle with the law begins. This portrayal is a consistently negative one; journalists and news agencies are shown to be critically examining Sanjay Dutt’s character and his family to the point that it becomes not only a source of distress for them but also works against their efforts of trying to clear Dutt’s name.


Sanjay Dutt had to spend a lot of time in prison after being convicted as a terrorist.

The director admits, in a Times of India article, that there are some things left unexplored in the film (‘of two-and-a-half to three hours of the film you cannot show the entire life of a person’), and also says elsewhere that some ‘cinematic liberties’ were taken, that is, characters introduced which were fictional and not an actual part of Dutt’s life.

However, the role played by the media was a raw and true aspect of the plot that cannot be ignored.

Journalists and reporters have to make money too. For them, sometimes this means making news out of something that may not seem like a newsworthy topic. Often they do this without any second thought: ‘spicing up’ a news story is nothing new to them, nor is prematurely publishing a story without knowing the underlying details to it.


It was a long battle for Sanjay Dutt.

In Sanju, this is communicated by laying an emphasis on journalists’ use of question marks after each headline to further feelings of doubt and speculation while still remaining within the boundaries of tact. However, the point they made is that this speculation can often turn malicious when persistently fed to the public. Speculative news headlines behave as a determinant for the character and fate of the individual they are based on; they set a cruel precedent and place a label on the individual which he or she is often helpless to fight against.


Journalism often becomes a race, without regard for anything or anyone else.

This brings to mind the idea of journalistic integrity, and what it means to each of us. There are the main ethics of journalism (truthfulness, independence, fairness, humanity, and accountability), which we all know to follow; but do we really and truly think these are important?

Some may argue that at the time exercising ‘truth’ was essential: Dutt was, after all, being accused of terrorism and the people needed to be alerted to the possibility. However, where does truth end and maligning begin? Do we even know or pay attention?

In this day and age, everyone and anyone can spread and publish news. But integrity, do we even care about it anymore?

It’s become so important to reveal the truth, we are willing to run roughshod over people.

Journalistic integrity, however, should include the concept of sensitivity; this does not mean withholding the truth, but considering the what, when, how, and why of a potential news story. In this way, it can be told in its full entirety, from all angles, so that both personal integrity and integrity of the news subject are honored.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *