Ranveer Singh, rather than Ranbir Kapoor, was actually producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s first choice to play the role of Sanjay Dutt in Sanju.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra to The Telegraph.”When he [Rajkumar Hirani] told me about Ranbir, I wasn’t happy at all. I thought someone else, like Ranveer Singh, could play this role much better. I thought Ranveer had the flamboyance, the emotional depth as well as the ability to change himself completely to play Sanjay Dutt. But Raju was adamant that Ranbir would be perfect. And when we started shooting and Ranbir became Sanjay Dutt, I had to kind of eat my words.”

The producer also shared that when creator Rajkumar Hirani thought of making a biopic on Sanjay Dutt’s life, he thought it was a terrible idea.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra.”When he [Rajkumar Hirani] told me, I was like, ‘What’s there in Sanjay Dutt’s life that merits being made into a film? It’s better you make a film on my life: how I left Kashmir as a young boy and struggled when I came to Bombay.’ I thought Raju and Abhijat [Joshi] had lost their minds!”

In fact, only after hearing the story of Sanjay Dutt, particularly that of his bond with father Sunil Dutt, did Chopra agree to make Sanju instead of the initially planned Munna Bhai Chale Jail.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra.”When he [Hirani] sat me down and started narrating all that had happened in Sanju’s life, I was stunned! At first, I thought it was hogwash, that Sanju was somehow not telling Raju the truth, but when we started researching all that he’s said – from the 308 girlfriends he had to how he begged on the streets of US for the money to buy a bus ticket – we realised that everything he had told us was true!”

Chopra was particularly stunned upon realising the extent to which Sanjay Dutt was drawing from personal experience in the Munna Bhai MBBS scene where Munna had to ask his father for forgiveness.

“I was standing there on the set of Munna Bhai and I had no idea they were actually living that scene,” he said.

Needless to mention, this iconic scene has been recreated in Sanju.

With all the hype surrounding Ranbir’s performance, the powerful ensemble cast and the filmography of the Chopra-Hirani combination, Sanju is bound to have a huge opening.

The countdown has begun: the film releases on 29 June.