DUTT’S THE WAY!

The orig­i­nal rockstar of Bollywood, SANJAY DUTT is back! And, how! He’s been on a sign­ing spree and has signed some very good films for top ban­ners. He’s looking fit ‘n’ fab and is rarin’ to go. In an ex­clu­sive con­ver­sa­tion with Su­mita Chakraborty, Bol­lyw

Stardust (English) - - COVER STORY -

It Hasn’t Been An Easy Life For Me And There Hasn’t Been A Bed Of Roses.”

Just the air around him seems to

have a spe­cial vibe… Be­sot­ted fans be­sieg­ing him for self­ies, makeup and hair peo­ple hov­er­ing around with a mir­ror, the crew stand­ing pro­tec­tively around him… But the man in the midst of all this hul­la­bal­loo seems obliv­i­ous. Dressed in a fit­ted black tee which shows off his fit ‘n’ fab abs to per­fec­tion, teamed with trend­set­ting ripped bell-bot­tom jeans and Alexan­der McQueen shoes with their trade­mark skulls, he looks like a swash­buck­ling rockstar. Meet the su­per gor­geous Sanjay Dutt who even at the age of 50 plus looks amaz­ingly fit ‘n’ vi­brant. His life has in­deed been a che­quered one, punched with umpteen ups and downs re­plete with sto­ries of sub­stance abuse, awry love af­fairs, drunken rev­el­ries and a tough jail sen­tence. In fact, he’s packed in ten folds more than any­body else in his one life.

How­ever, a tru­ant past is a thing of the past. To­day, Sanjay’s life has turned a com­plete 360 de­grees. His sec­ond in­nings has started with a bang – the first look of his film Bhoomi has gar­nered rave re­views, and he has al­ready signed the dot­ted lines for other films. On the per­sonal front, he is en­joy­ing his life with his beau­ti­ful wife Maanay­ata and his chil­dren. And all he re­ally wants right now is to live a peace­ful quiet life. Read on to know more about the orig­i­nal rockstar of Bollywood – Sanjay Dutt.

There is this huge buzz about Bhoomi. Every­body is talk­ing about the film. What made you choose this film?

Well, Bhoomi has a great sub­ject which I re­ally con­nect to. It is on the sub­ject of a great emo­tional jour­ney be­tween a fa­ther and daugh­ter. Ac­tu­ally, I wanted to send a mes­sage across about what hap­pens to a vic­tim’s fam­ily, more so when the vic­tim be­longs to the lower mid­dle class, liv­ing in a small town. It is my trib­ute to all women es­pe­cially as I’m a great be­liever in women em­pow­er­ment and Beti Bachao. I’ve been sur­rounded by women since I was born. My mother, my sis­ters, my wife, my daugh­ters – all strong women. So this sub­ject re­ally ap­pealed to me and I knew I had to do this film. Bhoomi is a won­der­ful film about beau­ti­ful re­la­tion­ships. It’s def­i­nitely going to con­nect with the peo­ple.

Isn’t it a bit sim­i­lar to Maatr or MOM?

The premise is the same but the treat­ment is en­tirely dif­fer­ent. There can be no re­la­tion­ship as spe­cial than a fa­ther and daugh­ter. I don’t know what it is… but there is some bond­ing be­tween a fa­ther and daugh­ter which is not tan­gi­ble be­tween a mother and daugh­ter. The movie touches on this bond­ing. Yes, the premise is the same but the treat­ment is dif­fer­ent, the setup is dif­fer­ent, the emo­tions are dif­fer­ent.

The trailer was re­leased on your daugh­ter Tr­ishala’s birth­day, why was this?

Yes. Be­cause it is a trib­ute to all the daugh­ters. And I thought it was per­fect that the trailer should be launched on Tr­ishala’s birth­day.

Sanjay, you are said to be one of the finest ac­tors in Bollywood. Do you think you’ve got your due?

I do my work and I don’t like to harp on it. So I think peo­ple feel that I don’t get my dues. As long as the au­di­ence is happy, and peo­ple are talk­ing about my per­for­mance and movie, I am happy. What other peo­ple think, doesn’t mat­ter to me.

You’ve had a real che­quered life. Is there anything you re­gret when you look back?

I re­gret noth­ing. I love my life the way it is! Yes, I know that it hasn’t been an easy life for me and there hasn’t been a bed of roses or stuff like that. But I have learned from my mis­takes. I have taken things in a pos­i­tive way. I’ve learned from my ex­pe­ri­ences and I’ve tried to in­spire peo­ple not to com­mit the same

I’ve tried to in­spire peo­ple not to com­mit the same mis­takes again.”

mis­takes again. But what­ever has hap­pened, I leave it in the past and move on.

Has it trau­ma­tized you or has it made you bit­ter?

On the con­trary, it has made me more lov­ing and calmer. It’s made me for­giv­ing and a bet­ter per­son ac­tu­ally. I am not say­ing peo­ple should go to jail to be­come bet­ter but my ex­pe­ri­ences have changed me as a per­son.

But is the old, wild lov­able ‘badass’ Sanjay Dutt a thing of the past…

Ev­ery guy who is grow­ing up is wild. I was Mr. Dutt and Nar­gis ji’s son so I was more in the lime­light. Ev­ery boy while grow­ing up is naughty, brash and wild. I mean I was just like one of the boys. How­ever, I’m older now. I can’t be brash any­more. I have three kids. I have a lovely wife, I’m warm and con­tented. So all that wild­ness is a thing of the past. But no, I’ve never been a badass. Your wife Maanay­ata has been a fab­u­lous sup­port. How has she calmed you down? She has never calmed me down. She is the best part of my life. An an­chor, she is a beau­ti­ful wife and mother. There were so many things for her to han­dle es­pe­cially when I was in jail. To take care of two kids, the home, and visit me in jail, it must have been quite dif­fi­cult. But she did it, and did it with her head held high! She was al­ways right there for me. She never missed a sin­gle visit. I re­mem­ber, once she had come for a mu­lakaat and wasn’t looking too good. So I asked her, ‘What hap­pened?’ And she col­lapsed right there in front of me. My lawyer who was there then told me that she’s got

103 fever and was re­ally un­well. But she in­sisted on com­ing for the mu­lakaat - be­cause what hap­pens is that if the mu­lakaat doesn’t hap­pen at that point of time, then you get a date af­ter a month. So these small things re­ally mat­ter a lot.

Things must have been trau­matic for you too es­pe­cially the jail chap­ter. At the mo­ment, you’re looking so good, but things must have been bad at that point of time.

Jail is not the best place in the world to be in. Of course, it is trau­matic. But once you kind of tell your­self that you have to be there, it sinks in. So you’ve got to work around the fact that it is a re­al­ity and get your mind set in such a way that you know that you’ll be there for a cou­ple of years. And you can’t do anything about it. It’s no use liv­ing in trauma in­stead you get your mind set in mak­ing the best of what you’ve got. An­other thing which I learned

was the ‘hope’ fac­tor. You’ve got to erad­i­cate the word ‘hope’ from your life. It took me about two weeks in jail to re­alise that. But once you do that, life be­comes very easy. Time in jail passed once I stopped hop­ing. And be­fore I knew, I was out. I think hope is such a thing that a per­son should have con­trol over. For in­stance... I hope I be­come a su­per­star, I hope I have so much of money, I hope yeh ho jaye, woh ho jaye. Once you stop hop­ing, and work to­wards liv­ing your re­al­ity, things au­to­mat­i­cally smoothen. Just stop hop­ing, you’ll achieve more. That’s what I learned.

This is your sec­ond in­nings and it’s al­ready looking great. You’ve got such fab­u­lous films lined up. Can you tell us a lit­tle bit about it?

Sure. Af­ter Bhoomi, in Oc­to­ber, I’ll start Munnab­hai. Then I’ve signedSa he bBiw iA ur Gang­ster

3, Tod­baaz, Malang, and an­other

I’m a great be­liever in women em­pow­er­ment and Beti Bachao.”

film with Ajay’s pro­duc­tion and with Farhan.

Peo­ple are ab­so­lutely crazy over you. It doesn’t mat­ter whether it was when you were in your 20s or now. How do you get that kind of an adu­la­tion?

I re­ally don’t know. I think I am lucky and blessed by God that I have that kind of love. I think a very im­por­tant part is my parents. The way they have raised us. My dad and mom have al­ways said that no mat­ter what, first you have to be a good hu­man be­ing. You have to be kind, re­spect­ful and be lov­ing and ev­ery­thing fol­lows af­ter that.

Does Box of­fice suc­cess de­ter­mine the qual­ity of the film? Or is it be­cause of the pop­u­lar­ity of the ac­tor? Es­pe­cially since so many films are flop­ping.

I don’t know re­ally. I think an ac­tor plays a big part in it. I think the script plays a big part in it. I don’t fol­low Box of­fice suc­cess that much or 100 crore and 400 crore film seg­ments. All those fig­ures… I re­ally don’t know. If my film is ap­pre­ci­ated and my pro­ducer has made money, I am the hap­pi­est per­son. Ul­ti­mately, it is he who has put the money and has to re­cover it. He has to make some money. And I think that is im­por­tant for me rather than Box of­fice su­per­hits or join­ing 100 crore films club.

Now that you’ve got so many films lined up, how do you balance your per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life?

I’ve got to balance my time. My fam­ily is ex­tremely im­por­tant and I try to take Sun­days off and try to

be with them. I take off for those hol­i­days with my chil­dren and my wife. Of course, I have to plan things out. I have missed out so much all these years, I wont get that time back, so I have got to balance things now.

You are one ac­tor who has a biopic made dur­ing your lifetime. How does that feel?

Feels great!

Are you scared?... That your life is be­ing spot­lighted? No, Not scared! There is noth­ing to be scared about. Ev­ery­thing is there in the open. Every­body knows about my life any­way. But I am ac­tu­ally proud and happy that a per­son like Raju Hi­rani is di­rect­ing it – that is a big thing.

And he is very close to you. Yes, and Ran­bir is such a great per­former so an ac­tor like him is do­ing ‘my’ role and he has worked so hard. And I know it is going to be a great film. This film is not just to glo­rify me. There is noth­ing to glo­rify me, I mean I’d be the last per­son to want that. It’s a story told - a real story.

There were re­ports that you weren’t happy about Ran­bir play­ing you.

These re­ports are rub­bish and friv­o­lous. I’m re­ally happy he is do­ing it. He has worked so hard for it.

What are your plans next? Do you plan to be a pro­ducer, di­rec­tor any­time soon?

Yes, I want to pro­duce a cou­ple of good movies and stuff like that. And even­tu­ally, I’ll do a cou­ple of films as a di­rec­tor. I would def­i­nitely love do­ing that!

Any kind of biopics? I have not thought about it yet.

Munnab­hai has be­come a cult fig­ure. How has this film changed your life?

Well, it has changed my life in many ways ac­tu­ally. I read about Gandhi ji, a sub­ject every­body for­got. And while do­ing that I learned so much about Gandhi ji and what a great man he was. And I think the way Raju made that script, it’s fun and en­ter­tain­ing. It could have been preachy. But he had done it so well and the mes­sage was sent out in such a beau­ti­ful way. Only Raju can do that I think.

So the se­quel, are you looking for­ward to it?

Ya ya. Ab­so­lutely, I am re­ally looking for­ward to it and I am glad that they have found a great script and are work­ing on it.

Be­side Munnab­hai, any other role which has been mem­o­rable for you amongst your films?

What other peo­ple think, doesn’t mat­ter to me.”

I think Vaas­tav, Saa­jan, Sadak, Khal­nayak, Kaante.

Any films which you think you could have done jus­tice to the role? Anything other than your films?

No no no.

In Hol­ly­wood, he­roes in their 50s are still ro­manc­ing girls. Are you going to be do­ing any films where you are ro­manc­ing a young girl? He­roes in their 50s are ro­manc­ing 50-year-old women in Hol­ly­wood. I don’t think it works like that here. I mean I won’t be com­fort­able work­ing as a ro­man­tic lead with say Son­akshi.

How has your jour­ney been up till now? In terms of an ac­tor, in terms of be­ing Sanjay Dutt.

It has been good. It has had its ups and downs. It has had its share of tur­moils. It has had its emo­tions and hap­pi­ness. But I have no re­grets. I have no com­plaints about it.

How have you coped?

Well, I am looking good. So I guess I have coped. Of course, you’re looking great. I know we have seen a vul­ner­a­ble side to you but we have never seen you bro­ken ever. You were al­ways a rock star up and about… Yes, I al­ways be­lieve that life has many things to of­fer. Of course, there are a lot of tur­moils and prob­lems which come and go but you can’t run away from it. Life can be great too. So you should see that side of it.

Did it ever shake you?

It did shake me but I mean then there are so many other things which you have got to do. For in­stance, I knew that af­ter eight weeks I had to go to jail, but I had an ad to com­plete. Then again, in­stead of spend­ing time with my fam­ily, I was do­ing a song. But you’ve got to balance things out. And you have to take things as they come. Bad times don’t last too long.

Did it take a toll on you? I know you’ve been do­ing all these things. It must’ve taken a toll on you.

See, you got to ac­cept the fact that you have to go to jail. And you have got to see what your pri­or­i­ties are and move along with that.

Be­sides these films, what are you looking for­ward to?

I am looking for­ward to a peace­ful life ahead with my fam­ily and my kids. I just want to be at peace and that’s it!

...with Ran­bir Kapoor

Meet­ing the fam­ily af­ter be­ing re­leased from jail

Daugh­ter Tr­ishala Dutt

...with wife and kids

...with Maanay­ata

I just want to be at peace and that’s it!”

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