There is no doubt about the fact that Ranbir Kapoor did an absolutely brilliant job of playing Sanjay Dutt in Sanju. He completely shed his own identity and inhabited that of the character, imbibing even the tiniest of mannerisms.
But how did he transform into Munna Bhai?
"“Playing Sanju is one thing and playing Munna Bhai is another thing. He [Ranbir] had to figure out how Munna Bhai walked , what is the way he spoke to circuit, how he was scared of his father in the film. So he had to also practice how Sanju had played Munna bhai.”" - Rajkumar Hirani, writer and director.
That had to be an even bigger challenge. Not only would Ranbir have to embody Sanjay Dutt’s character, but he would also have to go a step further and portray how Dutt performed Munna Bhai.
"“Because I was playing Munna Bhai in the film, I knew I can’t screw that up, you know, know because that is such a big baggage. So I kept asking Raju sir how did Sanju sir approach it. The amount of times I must have seen Munna Bhai: I’ve lost count myself.”" - Ranbir Kapoor
Watch this exclusive behind-the-scenes making video, released by Fox Star Hindi. It shows the process of how Rajkumar Hirani, along with a brigade of hair, skin and make up experts, transformed Ranbir into Munna Bhai, giving him the “swagger” of this iconic character.
Ranbir says that he had a lot of fun playing Munna Bhai, and that it was “quite crazy” and “surreal” as an experience.
"“I don’t think I could ever ever in my career create such an iconic character [as Munna Bhai]. But it feels great that there is a little part that I can emulate.”" - Ranbir Kapoor
Rajkumar Hirani, on the other hand, shares that it was a “very nostalgic journey” revisiting and recreating scenes that he had shot ten years ago.
The director-actor duo reflect on the tedious and challenging process of transforming Ranbir into Munna Bhai and, explaining that the task was twofold. First, they had to get the look right, which Ranbir says took around 13 look tests, after which he lost count.
And the second, and greater challenge - the “Mount Everest” as Ranbir calls it - was how to perform like Sanjay Dutt.
"“Munna Bhai as a character is a big man with hard looks from the outside but a softie from inside. Ranbir managed to get the physicality, but now he had to find the lovability.”" - Rajkumar Hirani
Well, they clearly nailed both aspects.
In fact, guess how Sanjay Dutt himself reacted when he saw clips of Ranbir playing Munna Bhai?
"“When Ranbir became Munna bhai for this film, I in my excitement showed it to Sanju, and Sanju’s immediate response was ‘I hope I am doing Munna Bhai 3!’”" - Rajkumar Hirani . Read more on Bollywood by The Quint.Watch How Ranbir Kapoor Transformed Into Munna Bhai for ‘Sanju’‘Zombies’ Take Over Jakarta . Read more on Bollywood by The Quint.