There are very few actors in Bollywood, who have stood the test of time. They have been written off time and again but have managed to come back with a bang. Sanjay Dutt is one such personality, whose life can be encapsulated in the proverbial term - ‘rise of the phoenix’.
As the prolific actor prepares to celebrate his birthday coming July 29, here is an opportunity to salute Sanju ‘Baba’ (as fondly known in the industry) for the eventful life he has had so far.
Perhaps, the most tormented of all celebrities in the industry, Sanjay is the original comeback specialist. Nothing can keep him down and out for too long. The ill-fated actor seems to have come a full circle. Drugs, bomb blast accusations, failed marriage and personal tragedies - the harrowing list is never ending.
Born to illustrious parents, the late Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt, Sanjay was brought up in the glamour oozing city of Mumbai. However, Sanju was not among those star sons, who liked to take things on a golden plate, rather he wanted to carve his own niche in the industry.
His beloved mother Nargis passed away only four days prior to the release of his first movie, ‘Rocky’. After his mother’s death Sanjay`s personal life took a turn for the worse and he took to booze and drugs.
Meanwhile, media took potshots at the so called ‘rich spoilt boy’. Journos were ruthless and kept printing stories of how his mother Nargis` ill health worsened due to her son`s drug addiction. They also criticised him as an actor, although in ‘Naam’ and ‘Sadak’ he had proved his mettle as an actor. Sanjay, who was already depressed, further got involved in drug addiction. His addiction began to affect his career too. Sanjay was being considered for the film ‘Hero’, but Subhash Ghai opted not to cast him due to his drugs problem and roped in Jackie Shroff instead.
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Worried about his son, Sunil Dutt sent Sanjay to a drug rehabilitation centre in America. After his return, the actor found love in an upcoming actress, Richa Sharma. They got married and Sanjay was happy for a short period of time. It was during this time that his lovely daughter Trishala was born. But soon he was struck by another blow when his wife Richa was diagnosed with cancer. But he braved the bereavement courageously and let life take its course.
Then came the TADA case, which shook his life. He was booked under law for terrorist interactions, and supposed weapons possession, on 19 April 1993 and was arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act. During this period, the actor had to frequent courts. Sanjay was also living in constant angst and fear of being jailed as he had already been behind the bars following the release of ‘Khalnayak’ on charges of possession of illegal arms. Finally on 31st July 2007, Sanjay Dutt`s worst nightmare became a reality and he was again sentenced to six years imprisonment for his role in the 1993 bomb blast case. Sanjay kept a brave face and was supported by his family and his loved ones as well as the entire film fraternity.
At a time when his professional obituary was written most enthusiastically by critics, he strode right back.
Dutt acted in many films, and became a huge hit in 1999 with the hit film ‘Vaastav: The Reality’.
In the midst of case hearings and subsequent appearances in the court, Dutt continued with his acting and gave many successful films such as ‘Mission Kashmir’, ‘Jodi No.1’, ‘Kaante’, ‘Munna Bhai M.B.B.S’, ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’, ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’, ‘Dhamaal’, and ‘All The Best: Fun Begins’.
Despite all odds, Sanjay Dutt has bounced back, with courage and conviction. From a ‘Rocky’ in 1981 to ‘Lamhaa’ in 2010 - it’s been a long eventful journey. “I have matured a lot over the years, but essentially, I haven’t changed at all,” is how he puts it.
Recently, it’s rumoured that Sanjay Dutt has lost 24 kg for his upcoming action pack ‘Knockout’. Dutt not only lost weight to perform the thrilling stunts in the movie but also because he had to work with a girl half his age, Kangna Ranaut. The actor also loves to experiment with his looks and his style keeps changing with time. Dutt`s fans have great expectations from this movie as well as other upcoming films.
May he have a happy life and a long successful career for he certainly has a lot of acting left in him.
Reflecting on his successful yet ‘rocky’ journey, Sanjay says, “I have made several decisions from my heart. Many of these emotional decisions, I will regret till my last breath, some I will cherish forever.”