The verdict is yet to come out about whether he’s eligible to contest, but the actor is gung-ho about his next role as a
politician. Here’s Sanjay Dutt in a Q and A with Vajir Singh...
How are you feeling? Very positive, why?
The Supreme Court is expected to announce on March 30 whether you’re eligible to contest. The CBI says that if you are allowed, it will set a bad precedent. The matter is in court.. it is subjudiced. So I can’t say anything. I can only pray. I will respect whatever decision is taken.
If the verdict is not in your favour, will Manyata Dutt contest in your place?
Nothing has been decided yet. But one thing is for sure, I will be there for Lucknow, come what may.
Is that because your father, Sunil Dutt, started his career from Lucknow?
You’re absolutely right. After the Partition, he shifted to Lucknow. He would often speak emotionally about the city and all that it had done for him. Recently, I visited the place where he used to stay. His room.. his old
photographs.. are still there.
Did your wife convince you to get into politics?
Manyataji takes the decisions in the kitchen.. aaj biryani banegi ya phir kabab or chicken. That’s where she rules.
In other matters I decide what’s to be done. Yes, she’s my wife, so it’s obvious that I’ll always discuss everything with her.. like every other husband and wife.
But you were never inclined towards politics before. Why the sudden interest?
It was because of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. I felt that no one is safe and it was time for me to come out and offer a helping hand. I can’t change the system alone but with like-minded people, I can try and bring about changes.
In the past too, I’ve done a lot of social work that was never publicised. Every member in my family has always been ready to provide a helping hand to the needy. Why didn’t you join the Congress party?
I’m not away from the Congress. My party helped the Congress getting the nuclear deal deal. We have the same ideology. But two members from the same family can’t fight from the same party.
You are at a stage in your career where you need to concentrate on films.. but you’ve stepped into politics instead?
I’ve been a part of the film industry for the last 30 years. So I’m not putting my career at a risk. I’m not going to stop acting. I am what I am because of my films.
But yes, I’ll be choosy now, like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan. They do less work but good work. Also, I intend to spend a lot of time in my constituency.
Do you plan to buy a house in Lucknow?
I already have a house in Lucknow. Amar Singh’s house is my house. He’s my elder brother.
Why aren’t you contesting from a constituency in Mumbai?
I have an emotional attachment with Lucknow. It gave a chance to my father.. it gave him food, shelter and a career. He always felt that Lucknow was his home. Yeh karz tha hum logon par that we do something for the city. Had my father been alive, he would have done a lot for Lucknow.
Had he been alive, would he have been happy with your decision to join a party other than the Congress?
I don’t know, it’s a tricky question. But he would have respected my decision.
Even when he was around, he never objected to the kind of movies I was doing. He accepted my decision irrespective of whether the movies I selected were good or bad. He would have respected this decision too.
But your decision has affected your relationship with your sisters, Namrata and Priya?
There can never be any animosity between us. We’re brother and sisters and no one can change that, no matter what is written. Little fights are normal. I forgive Priya, always.
Are you on talking terms with Priya?
Of course! Har ghar mein jhagda hota hai. Aapke ghar mein nahin hota? But at the end of the day, we’re family.
What is your plan of action?
I’ll be shifting to Lucknow. I’ll be campaigning there for almost a month.
Buzz is that almost everyone from the industry has promised to campaign for you.
It’s a great feeling that everyone wants to help me. I’m not going to ask anyone. If they want to help, they’re welcome. If they don’t, it’s fine.
Will your daughter Trishala fly down from New York?
No, she’s studying and I don’t want her to be a part of all this.
Will you be a part of your sister’s rally?
If Priyaji calls me and asks me to be with her, I’ll be there for her.
After your father, who is your ideal actor-turned-politician?
Do you plan to set an example if you win?
I’ve said this before and I repeat. If I’m even 10 per cent of what Sunil Dutt saab was, I’d have won the battle.
Won’t your fans miss watching you playing don?
I’ll do another Vaastav if I’m offered one. I won’t let them miss Sanjay Dutt, the actor they love. Never!