Yaaaaaaaay, Sanjay! Your second birthday out of jail with no court case hanging over you! That must feel so good! Here are 25 reasons I love you, one for every year between your debut in Rocky and your re-debut in Lago Raho Munna Bhai. (this is an updated and reposted post from last year)
1.1. I love you because you were the happy ending we all wanted for your mother. After years of work and sacrifice and suffering cruel swings of public opinion, she got to be a respected wife and mother. (full Nargis story here)
2. I love you because you made an adorable Qawwali singer when you were 13 in Reshma Aur Shera.
3. I love you because you worked hard and you worked young, getting your launch at age 22 and making 7 movies back to back.
4. I love you because you took the time you needed to deal with your personal problems while those 7 movies rolled out, finally coming back 3 years later to give another hit.
5. I love you because your mother died the week your first movie came out, which is a tragedy so sad, a screenwriter would reject it as unbelievable.
6. Well, your first “real” movie! Let’s not forget that little Qawwali cameo, age 13.
7. And then in your actual debut film, you were so young and hunky, you almost made overalls attractive. Almost.
8. I have to confess, I had never seen this song before, from your biggest hit of the early years, and your first collaboration with Subhash Ghai, Vidhaata. But now I don’t know how I have lived so long without it!
9. Okay, at this point the filmography becomes so loooooooooooong that I can’t possibly deal with all the high points. So I am going to jump right to 1993 and the song that is all about Madhuri, but also only works because of your brilliant reaction shots.
10. It’s not usually remembered, but you had your own version of this song in the film as well!
11. I love you because the 80s and 90s were a period of great personal turmoil for you (the illness and death of your first wife, your arrest for terrorism, the failure of your second marriage), and yet you never stopped working!
12. I love you because your first marriage resulted in a daughter who you have always endeavored to keep far away from your toxic fame, while still close to you personally.
13. I love you because while your second marriage ended in divorce, you have continued to support your ex-wife both personally and financially, as came out during her recent legal battles with Leander Paes, the abusive man she partnered with after you.
14. I love you because, unlike other stars who resisted aging onscreen, you embraced fatherly and mature roles early on, playing Hrithik Roshan’s father in Mission Kashmir at age 41.
15. I love you because you were willing to use your personal struggles to give depth to your onscreen performances, whether it was Khalnayak, Vaastav, or even the Munna Bhai films.
16. I love you because Daud is one of the stupidest happiest movies I have ever seen.
17. I love you because you were willing to play supporting character to Kajol and help her give one of her all time great performances in Dushman.
18. Also, Khoobsurat! My second favorite of the Hindi movies titled Khoobsurat!
19. Also, Dus! I love that stupid stupid movie!
20. And, in a complete change of pace, Parineeta! You got to do a sex scene with Vidya before anyone else. Well, except Saif. And you played the older gentle giant type perfectly. Made me believe that Raima Sen was in love with you.
21. And then, finally, there is Munna Bhai. Okay, so I love you, but I’m not blind, I am aware you are not the greatest dancer. But man, do you sell the songs in this perfectly!
22. And with Munna Bhai, a star is reborn. 25 years after your initial launch, and you are back and better than ever. Doing a legitimate romantic lead (re-united with Vidya) in Laga Raho Munna Bhai.
23. Digging deep and coming up with an uber-creepy villain in Agneepath.
24. The Zanjeer remake was a travesty, but I can almost justify it just because your casting in the Pran role was so perfect.
(No song video included because I refuse to give them more views)
25. And then, as your last act before going to jail, you took part in the incredibly humanist and peaceful film PK, against all kinds of religious violence, and gave it some wonderful depth and warmth. Also, you kind of wore the same costume you had at age 13 back in Reshma Aur Shera.