Filmmakers Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, makers of the popular Munna Bhai franchise, say they will wait for the real Munna Bhai Sanjay Dutt to come out of the prison after serving his sentence to make the third film.
Sanjay, who is due to surrender for serving his sentence in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, has also expressed a desire to forthwith return to the Munna Bhai once he is set free.
"Just two days back Sanjay called and said, it's tough to be in prison but I'm ready to go there because when I come back, I will experience freedom in its true sense. I will be rid of this monkey who has been sitting on my back for the last 20 years and scaring me. When I walk out of prison, I want to walk straight onto the sets of Munna Bhai," Hirani and Chopra said in a joint statement.
Hirani and Chopra, who made Munnabhai M.B.B.S. (2003) and Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006) with Sanjay in the lead, are ready to wait.
"The reel Munna Bhai will wait for the real Munna Bhai. He will indeed walk on the sets of the next Munnabhai as he comes back to us free," they added.
The 53-year-old actor, who has films like the Zanjeer remake, Policegiri, P.K. and the next Munna Bhai installment in the works, was charged with illegal possession of arms and sentenced to six years in jail in 2007. The Supreme Court on March 21 handed him a reduced term of five years.
Hirani and Chopra said the government can show some leniency towards the actor.
"In our understanding, jails exist to reform people who have erred, not to wreak vengeance upon them. The Sanju that we know is a fully reformed and responsible citizen.
"We believe that it would not be wrong at all to take into consideration the demonstrably reformed self of this man. To show leniency towards such a citizen upholds the spirit of justice and does not in any way undermine it," they said.