Posted by Fenil Seta
Sanjay Dutt on his pillar of strength, a renewed innings at the movies, his first production that takes off in December
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 20, 2017)
On a hot summer afternoon Sanjay Dutt is back on trial. But this time it’s not for real. He’s on a set resembling a courtroom, shooting for Omung Kumar’s Bhoomi. His character’s plea is scoffed at by the public prosecutor who stumbles over a line, and then a word. There are a couple of quick retakes before lunch is announced. With a sigh of relief co-star Shekhar Suman makes a dash for his air-conditioned vanity van, shuddering as he remembers the days when actors were confined to stuffy make-up rooms and near-stationary fans. The rest of the team heads for the buffet. Only Sanjay chooses to stay back on the studio floor, diligently rehearsing his lines. He has a five-page, high-drama monologue coming up which the director wants to can in one take. The actor is in prep mode, happy to be back in action.
“I missed the film industry during my years in jail. Even when I was out, with the case still on, I wasn’t really free. Freedom is something we often take for granted till we lose it,” he philosophies, admitting that now, finally, all the tension is gone and there’s a sense of peace for which he gives credit to wife Manyata who’s played a very important part in his life in every aspect. “She’s a wife, a friend and a mother, someone who has her head on her shoulders and the right values. After my parents, she’s been my pillar of strength, given me a home and beautiful kids. I’m lucky to be married to her, she is a wonderful wife,” he says, his light brown eyes brimming with emotion.
One recalls how years ago, during an interview, Sanjay had cried while talking about his mother Nargis, whom he lost to cancer. He must miss his mother and the special bond they shared? “It’s not just about me and her, every son has a special connect with his mother. Today, when I see Manyata and Shahraan, who is the apple of her eye, I’m reminded of Nargis and Sanjay,” he smiles mistily, admitting that recently he saw some pictures of Manisha Koirala who is playing Nargis in his biopic, they left him amazed. “She looks so beautiful and since she’s a great performer I know she will excel in her role.”
He’s happy that his Munna Bhai director, Rajkumar Hirani, who will be directing him in the third instalment of their hit franchise which should roll in 2018, is telling his life story on screen. “He’s the best person to tell it. There’s nothing praise-worthy about my life, Raju will tell the story the way it is and not badha chadha ke. It’s basically the story of a father and son, that’s Dutt saab (Sunil Dutt) and me,” he asserts.
He admits he misses his father a lot too. “Dutt saab was a different man. Maybe when I was my kids’ age, he was with me the way I am with them. I can’t fire them; he was strict but had his own ways of showing his love. I miss him as an anchor and a pillar of strength. I miss that my children have missed out on his love. He would have been so happy spending time with them. Ditto my mother,” he reflects.
This Sanjay is far removed from his daredevil avatar or his endearing Munna Bhai image. He looks older, somewhat greyer and ‘common’. His comeback film, Bhoomi, is the journey of a single father and his daughter. He acknowledges that it was the emotional connect with the subject and that it’s an aam aadmi ki kahani that made him give his nod to the project. “Even though I’d missed working, I waited a year for the right films. I wanted to do work suited to my age,” he reasons. So, have we lost the daredevil Dutt to time? “Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson are still daredevils but they don’t fight their age. You have to move on. I can’t be doing item numbers with Alia (Bhatt) today, that would be foolish,” he smiles.
Talking about Alia, there’s been talk of a Sadak sequel. Recently, he was spotted at the Vishesh Films office with Mahesh, Mukesh and Pooja Bhatt. What’s brewing? “Nothing, I just hopped across to meet Bhatt saab and everybody was there. Sadak was a fantastic film… A beautiful love story, Sadashiv’s (Amrapurkar) Maharani, Poojia, so young and lovely, the extreme conditions in which we shot and Mahesh Bhatt as the director. If he were to offer me a Sadak sequel, I’d jump at the opportunity. Bhatt saab is a genius, I keep hoping that some day he’ll return to direction but now even I can’t make him change his mind,” he sighs.
There’s also talk of a collaboration with Subhash Ghai, taking Khalnayak and another iconic character Ballu Balaram forward. Sanjay says that while Ghai was keen on the film they haven’t had any talks since. “I don’t know what’s in his mind. For me to do the film, there has to be a story, right?” he asks. He’s equally clueless about Siddharth Anand’s actioner or Rohit Jugraj Chauhan’s period action-comedy. As for Marco Bhau, he’s heard that the project has been put on hold and Shelly Chopra is now working with brother Vidhu Vinod Chopra on something else.
However, Girish Malik’s Torbaaz, a story about child suicide bombers in Afghanistan is on track though he won’t shoot in the country. Sanjay reportedly plays an army officer. “It’s not about me but the kids and what they like. They like cricket so he builds a cricket team with them. It is a credible premise because Afghanistan has a cricket team, it’s a great story,” Sanjay reasons. And what’s happening with his production company? He admits that during his years in jail the company took a backseat. “But we are slowly getting back on track and will kick off our first production in December. It’s a South remake and I will be acting in it. There are a couple of other films in the pipeline too. The company is Manyata’s baby,” says the proud husband, who right now, besides his film shoot, is completely focussed on his children since their mother is away. “As soon as I wake up, I think about what to give them for breakfast and in their tiffin for lunch since their mom is out of town,” he says.
He goes on to inform that his wife is a talented businesswoman. “She’s very creative, kuch kuch karti rehti hai,” he smiles.
Seems she has offers to do the interiors for an office and a hotel in Dubai? “Yes, there are offers to design interiors. Manyata has the ability to make a space a home and people like that. She’s making more money than me,” he signs off with a smile and returns to his dialogue sheet.
This entry was posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm, and is filed under Bhoomi, Interviews, Mahesh Bhatt, Manyata Dutt, Rajkumar Hirani, Sadak 2, Sanjay Dutt, Sanjay Dutt biopic, Sanjay Dutt interview, Torbaaz . Follow any responses to this post through RSS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.