Sanjay Dutt rings in his 62nd birthday today, looking just as badass and deadly as ever. And as we no doubt are bound to reminisce his most celebrated films on his special day, it's inevitable to revisit Munna Bhai MBBS, the one movie that has been wholly and solely responsible for both Sanjay Dut''s image makeover and the major turning point in his second innings. Sanju Baba was in the middle of a 10-year golden phase, having delivered sixteen hits at the box office from 1986 to the start of 1995, including a blockbuster (Naam, his turning point as a star) and five superhits (Jeete Hain Shaan Se, Ilaaka, Saajan, Sadak, Khalnayak), before it all came crashing down due to his legal controversy and jail time.
After finally getting bail in his TADA case back in the mid-90s, the box office wasn't as kind to Sanju, with the actor witnessing a string of flops, till things slowly started turning around in 1999 with Daag, Haseena Maan Jayegi and Vaastav in the same year, But the big craze in theatres he had earlier witnessed was still missing and his dark past was still looming large over him. He was badly in need of a 360° turn in his image, and that finally occurred in 2003 with Munna Bhai MBBS, giving the star both his much-needed mega-hit and makeover as a lovable man with a heart of gold. However, did you know that it all happened only because of Shah Rukh Khan?
Surprised? Allow us to elaborate: Basuically, it was Shah Rukh Khan who was the first choice for Munna Bhai MBBS and Sanjay Dutt was the farthest from Rajkumar Hirani's mind at the time. In fact, the Director really wanted SRK for his first film, but as destiny would have it, Shah Rukh had major date issues at the time as the Baadshah of Bollywood usually has had since the beginning of his career, considering his perpetual demand. Plus, word is that he wasn't keen to work with Vidhu Vinod Chopra on account of being a hard taskmaster, and since VVC already shared a great equation with Sanjay since their collaboration on Mission Kashmir three years prior, the producer convinced Hirani to cast Sanjay Dutt as Munna Bhai, and as they say the rest is history.
We're sure that Shah Rukh Khan, too, would've done a great job as Munna Bhai, but as Boman Irani had once said, you can get an even better actor than Sanjay Dutt for the role, but he won't be able to play Munna Bhai better than him. The stars really aligned for this one, and Sanju got to play a role he was born to, and one that completely changed his image with the masses.
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