Today is Sanjay Dutt’s 50th birthday. Wish him a very happy birthday.
The day I learnt that Sanjay Dutt is stepping into politics I was a little confused; I was wondering if it is his cup of tea or will he be just tasting it to add yet another experience in his already mired life. From what I have seen and heard about him, he is supposed to be a very emotional person who does things for friends, who takes decisions on the spur, and who can be frivolous at times. But, on the other hand he seems to be the ideal political candidate or guinea pig.
If we observe Sanju’s life and career graph and put it in a book or a movie, it will be an instant best-seller. The tough times that he has gone through and the happy days that he has seen have almost always been like a zebra-crossing, starting with his debut movie Rocky to joining Samajwadi Party.
With a successful father and a great dad-mom duo at home he was a much pampered child and he did get his dream debut in the movie industry with ‘Rocky’ which released in 1981. But he started off on wrong note, the movie bombed. His next movie Vidhata fared much better, more so because it had Dilip Kumar being directed by Subhash Ghai. After the success of ‘Vidhata’ he did a whole lot of forgettable movies like Mera Faisla, Jaan Ki Baazi, Jeeva etc.
Sanju shot to fame for his depiction of a guy who goes to Dubai to earn quick bucks and ends up becoming a drug peddler in ‘Naam’. I really loved this movie and this is one of the finest performances that he has given. It may have come naturally to him since he had been through a similar struggle in his personal life. His drug addiction and rehab stories are legendary and then his mother was fighting cancer and finally succumbed to it. All this may have added to his performance. He went on to act in a few more movies which fared in the box-office like Kabzaa, Mohabbat Ke Dushman, Imaandar, Kanoon Apna Apna etc.
Just when he was peaking in his career with hit movies like Sadak, Yodha, Krodh and Thaanedar; and just when he was in the league of Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Jackie Shorff, he got arrested under TADA for illegal possession of arms and ammunitions[AK-56 was recovered from his house] and he was also charged in connection with the Bombay bomb-blasts of 1993. Soon after his arrest, Khalnayak released. The movie was about a boy Ballu who had lost his path and ends up on the wrong side of the law. The movie was surrounded with controversy, firstly because of the movie title and secondly because of the content and of course the infamous song choli ke peeche. The movie portrayed an ideal father who wants his son to come up on his own and live with honesty, whereas the son wants instant success and luxuries of life which lead him to wrong company. People equated this portrayal to his real life scenario, thereby creating a wrong perception of Sanju.
Sanju spent 1.5 yrs in Arthur Road jail. He did confess to the fact that he possessed the arms and his companionship with the other co-accused but he denied any knowledge of the bigger conspiracy. He was finally granted bail, and so started his tryst with jail visits on and off. After getting released from jail, he made a great comeback with movies like Daag, Dushman, Vaastav, Mission Kashmir. He also tried his hands in the comedy genre with movies like Haseena Maan Jayegi, Khoobsurat, Jodi No.1 etc.
Finally, he had his best-time ever in movie industry with success of movies like Kaante, Munnabhai MBBS, Parineeta, Dus, Zinda, Lage Raho Munnabhai. It took him a lot of time to change the image from Baba to Munnabhai, from a guy who had been through rehab to a guy who rediscovered Gandhi; from being careless and ruthless to being sensitive and caring; from being a vagabond to finally settling down.
Sanju’s personal life is also zig-zagged with lots of happy and sad moments. He lost his mother and first wife, Richa Sharma to cancer. His daughter Trishala, from his first marriage, lives far away in US and he does not get to meet her often. While he was in jail, his fiance Rhea Pillai stood by him and she even led quite a few movements asking fellow actors to come in support of him. Once Sanju was out of jail, he married Rhea but that marriage did not last long. They finally called it quits and she is happily married to Leander Paes, the tennis star. Now, Sanju has involved himself in another controversy – marrying Manyata Dilnawaz Sheikh. Manyata’s previous marriage has not yet been declared null and void and she has hopped onto another one, thereby attracting media attention.
He has also estranged his sister Priya Dutt in the process. Firstly he did not inform her about his marriage with Manyata and she got to know of it through a media scoop. And now he has declared that he will stand for election on a Samajwadi party ticket because of his newfound love for Amar Singh whom he calls his elder brother.
People get involved in controversy, but in Sanju’s case he has invited controversy, befriended it and thrived on it. But what is admirable about him is the fighting spirit, never-say-die, never give-up or give-in. He has been through the toughest of situations and come out unscathed; be it his drug abuse and rehab, loss of mom and first wife, jailed under TADA … he has seen it all.
Here is a short summary of events which has finally culminated into him joining politics:
1. a bollywood superstar
2. son of an illustrious and well respected actor-cum-politician[Sunil
Dutt was staunch congressman and a great example of man with Gandhian
principles and of course a brilliant actor]
3. a drug addict who has been through rehab
4. twin tragedies like losing his mother and wife to cancer
5. languished in jail under TADA on charges of abetting terrorism
6. second innings of film career as Munnabhai, thereby making a new
place for himself in people’s heart
7. marrying somebody else’s wife in a controversial manner
8. estranged relationship with sisters and daughter
9. finally taking a plunge into politics
The first 8 points don’t necessarily lead to the 9th point, but he probably is destiny’s child.
This post was first published on PFC