MUMBAI: Ranbir Kapoor says the fanboy in him was scared to play his icon on screen in Sanjay Dutt's biopic "Sanju" but he could not let go of the opportunity as it was a screenplay that was "sent from heaven".
The actor said it was not an "acting gig" for him but something personal as it gave him the opportunity to be a part of the story of someone he admires.
"I was always a Sanjay Dutt fan. So for me, it was like a fan trying to play his icon on-screen.
The hardest thing was to give confidence to myself that I can play this man. I did not have the confidence, the courage, understanding or the acting chops to do it," Ranbir told reporters at the teaser launch of the film here.
The actor said he had known Dutt as a family friend and even though the "Vaastav" star seemed like a familiar person, he was shocked to know some of the details about his life when director Rajkumar Hirani narrated the script.
"The whole script shocked me. I knew a different Sanjay Dutt. I have known him as a family friend.
He has always treated me like a younger brother and I have also been his fan.
But when I read about his life, it was shocking to me.
"His whole drug phase, the passing away of his mother two-three days before the premiere of his film, the controversy with terrorism, guns, his relationship with his father, best friend, the women in his life.
all this was shocking to me. I was like how can one man live so many lives in one life.
I am 35-year-old today but by the time he was 18, he had lived five times the life.
It was a screenplay that was sent from heaven," Ranbir said.
The actor credited his director and scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi for helping him in capturing the finer nuances of the character.
"He (Dutt) is a very flawed person but a very good person. And to tell his story and be him was quite incredible. I have observed him all my life. I try to do this for every film.
Fortunately or unfortunately, we have a character that is so relevant.
He is a pop icon." Hirani, who has worked with Dutt in his "Munnabhai" series, says making a biopic had its own challenges but his subject's rich life made things easier for him.
"In this is journey, I figured out that biopic is a different monster altogether because you don't have total control over it.
When you are writing a fresh screenplay, fiction, it is your character. With the biopic, you will have to stay true to what has happened in the life.
"He (Dutt) gave us anecdotes. It is a different craft, which we discovered. The good thing is Sanju gave us details.
If we had to write it from imagination, we would not have been able to make it.
As a filmmaker, everyone has their own likes, I am more interested in human stories.
I saw a story of father-son, of a friend," Hirani said.
Ranbir's physical transformation as Dutt looks pitch-perfect but the actor says the real challenge was to stay true to the persona of this man, who has lived so many lives in such a short span.
"When you do make up, put on costumes, that is the easy part.
Looking like someone is not a big deal.
But to understand the character, the soul and where he came from was a little hard initially.
Vulnerability is something either you have or you don't.
(But) as an actor you have to express it.
" Biopics are not the most exciting genre in Bollywood as filmmakers tend to glorify their subjects but Hirani promises that his is an objective look.
"We had no compulsion to make the film. As filmmakers we are greedy, whatever material is engaging, we want to make it. When we were making the film, we asked Sanju if he had the courage to have his story on-screen the way he narrated (to us). Sanju is a brave guy, no actor would open up about his life.
He has not seen the film.
There was no pressure, as we were not projecting anyone," the director, who has made successful films such as "Munnabhai" series, "3 Idiots" and "PK", said.
"Sanju", also starring Dia Mirza, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Manisha Koirala, Paresh Rawal and Vicky Kaushal among others, releases on June 29.