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
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?
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 wife and kids
Meeting the family after being released from jail
Daughter Trishala Dutt
...with Ranbir Kapoor
I just want to be at peace and that’s it!”