‘When in jail, wife told kids I was shoot­ing’

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - Heena Khan­del­wal heena.khan­del­wal@dnain­dia.net

New Delhi: Not many can claim to have lived a life like that of San­jay Dutt. From losing his mother and then his first wife to can­cer, to break­ing free from the ruth­less claws of drug ad­dic­tion, to sur­viv­ing jail, this Bol­ly­wood su­per­star and India’s ‘Khal­nayak’ has touched the high­est highs and the low­est lows to emerge stronger.

In an in­ter­view with Zee News, the 58-year-old ac­tor re­calls what his fam­ily had been through when he was locked away in Pune’s Yer­awada Cen­tral Jail.

“Chil­dren these days are so smart. My kids would ask Maanay­ata (his wife) to call me. She would lie that I’m away shoot­ing in the moun­tains where there is no net­work. Luck­ily the jail author­i­ties al­lowed me one call every fort­night, and I would make that call to them,” said Dutt.

Asked if they know the truth now, he says his chil­dren are aware, “but I’m wait­ing for them to grow up so that I can tell them my story in de­tail.”

A su­per­star of the ‘90s and the un­for­get­table face of the Munna Bhai movies, Dutt is back on the big screen for another run. His lat­est, Bhoomi, is slated for re­lease next week. Dutt who shares screen space with Aditi Rao Hy­dari in the movie said she is not his love in­ter­est, but his daugh­ter.

“I want to work in the kind of films they make in Hol­ly­wood and not ro­mance girls much younger than me. I want to do en­ter­tain­ment films that send a strong so­cial mes­sage,” says Dutt, who also dreams of sit­ting in the di­rec­tor’s chair some day. Asked about the al­le­ga­tion that he was hold­ing weapons il­le­gally, the ac­tor stated that no weapon was ever found with him or inside his house when it was raided. “The writ­ten con­fes­sion was given to me to sign. It was never es­tab­lished,” he says. Dutt how­ever did ad­mit to hav­ing a weapon. “The en­vi­ron­ment wasn’t good at that time. It was for the pro­tec­tion of my fam­ily but I ad­mit that I shouldn’t have done it.”

Re­act­ing to the nepo­tism de­bate, the ac­tor who is the son of cel­e­brated film stars — the late Su­nil and Nar­gis Dutt — ad­mit­ted that his fam­ily lin­eage helped his en­try to Bol­ly­wood. “But, af­ter the first film, it all de­pends on how you work and how many hits you give. It doesn’t mat­ter whether you are (Su­nil) Dutt’s son or (Amitabh) Bachchan’s,” he says.

Asked whether he had any plans to en­ter pol­i­tics, Dutt replies with a firm ‘no’. How­ever, he added he had im­mense love for his coun­try and that all In­di­ans too should love their coun­try. “When I was re­leased from jail, the first thing I did was to touch the soil and salute the Tri­colour. Every cit­i­zen should do that.”

Ac­tor San­jay Dutt be­ing in­ter­viewed by Zee News group editor Sud­hir Chaud­hary

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