Top Bollywood names from David Dhawan and Hema Malini to Abhishek Bachchan say the sentence of six years' rigorous imprisonment for Sanjay Dutt in the Mumbai serial bombings case is too harsh a punishment for the star.
David Dhawan: My wife Laali and I were with Sanju on his birthday on Sunday (July 29). We had so much fun. We were so sure that he'd come out of this. Little did we know what awaited Sanju two days later! Life's not fair!
Sanju is god's child. Always ready with a smile to help everyone, me included. Do you know he got me my first break as director! I was editing his films Naam and Jaan Ki Baazi when he prodded me and got my first directorial assignment. Why just me, he even got my assistant Ajay a break as director. He has given so much to so many people, not half of it is known.
For now the industry has come to a standstill. No one wants to celebrate. No parties, no premieres. He loves my sons, got them gifts from abroad. It's really sad, because he lost his mother, wife, father - that man has gone through so much pain. When will it end?
Hema Malini: I feel terrible for him. We all go through problems. And I can feel the trauma his family is going through. But when the legal verdict is passed there's nothing we can do or say.
Abhishek Bachchan: This is very upsetting.
Priyanka Chopra: I'm shocked and upset. I wish him and his family strength and courage. I'm sure the film fraternity will stand by him in every possible way. He's a wonderful person. And since he has already served 16 months, I'm confident the Supreme Court will be lenient. I wish him all the best.
Bipasha Basu: I'm shocked. I feel very sad. He has suffered enough. His suffering should've stopped by now. All his friends feel helpless. No one can do anything.
Raveena Tandon: This is too shocking. I've known him for years. And he's the most lovable person I've met. He's a victim of circumstances and follies. The law is equal for all. And we respect the country's laws. But six years seems a bit harsh, considering the kind of person Sanjay is. My family and I stand by the Dutts in their moment of crisis. And I really mean it.
Preity Zinta: I'm deeply saddened by this verdict. In my heart I'm saying a prayer and I'm looking above for an end to Sanjay's problems. He made a mistake, but he is not a bad guy. In fact, he's a terrific guy.
Anil Kapoor: I'm sad and shocked.
Mahesh Bhatt: I get the feeling of déjà vu. It's like a recurring nightmare, which just won't go away.
Sohail Khan: I'm speechless. This is just not expected.
Manoj Bajpai: I'm nobody to question the verdict. But I'm too saddened by it to even talk about it. I hope he gets bail at the earliest. My entire family is shocked. We're all praying for him. I admire the man a lot. May god bless him!
Urmila Matondkar: This is extremely sad and deeply saddening.
Madhur Bhandarkar: I can't get over the enormity of the news! The whole film fraternity is in a state of shock. My heartfelt sympathies and support for the Dutt family.
Suneel Darshan: While I have absolute faith and respect in the court's decision, I feel terribly sorry for Sanjay's plight. As a member of the film fraternity I'd like to express solidarity with his family through these testing times. In the meanwhile his absence from the industry will cause a tremendous loss as he had emerged as one of our most versatile actors. I feel a great concern for the films that would get stranded.
Vikram Bhatt: Sanjay's sentence is very depressing. I can't comment on the intricacies of the law. But as a human being I feel he has suffered enough. He's not a criminal. Just a man who made a silly mistake in troubled times when it was hard to keep one's value judgement clear.
Vipul Shah: Everyone knows he did it purely to protect his family. So to me he is a good man. At the same time according to the law his conduct was incorrect. So this was, I guess, inevitable.
Sanjay exemplifies that plight that awaits 'powerful' people who get into trouble. I feel the sentence is a little harsh. The court didn't consider all those days when he kept missing his shooting to go to courts and police stations. If the court had considered that perhaps the verdict would've seemed less harsh.
Arshad Warsi: I'm sorry I can't respond to you. If I did, it'd look like I'm trying to get publicity out of a friend's misery.