Another night just got added to the sunlight and shade of the mercurial life of Sanjay Dutt, Bollywood’s mightiest stormrider.
The last time he was in custody 13 years ago, Sanjay Dutt’s source of strength was a group of Sikh men accused of being terrorists, who cooked for him, sang songs to him and kept up his spirits.
<b1>Dutt never forgot them and wondered about their fate, just as he never forgot about the precise moments that have changed the course of his life. The day when he began using drugs, the day he gathered the courage to tell his father, the legendary Sunil Dutt, he wanted to kick the habit; the day his father sat down the three children and told them their mother had cancer; the days when he lost his mother, then his wife to the disease, the moment when he heard of the passing away of his beloved father, his tallest tower of strength.
Or the day he decided to settle down in the United States and buy a ranch – and then gave in to his father’s request to come back and face the city that painted slurs on him; the moment when the phone rang in a Mauritius hotel, announcing that he was suspected of being a terrorist. And the moment when the judge said the words his father could not hear before dying: that Sanjay Dutt was not a terrorist.
<b2>“I hope this case was the last step back in my life – and god willing this will be the last,” Dutt told the Hindustan Times in a recent interview.
And what a life. He meandered through a dazzling, pampered childhood as the son of two of Hindi cinema’s greatest film stars ever, nearly destroyed his youth, then rebuilt it, and was entangled in India’s biggest ever terrorism trial – all running alongside superstardom and huge successes in many of his hundred-odd films.
In the last week before the verdict, he was shooting for his newest film, Sanjay Gupta’s Alibaug. He put on a tuxedo and jived with Bappi Lahiri for the film’s song Raat Khamosh Hai. Dutt plays a former professor whose favourite students come together at a beachhouse more than a decade after they said goodbyes.
In a few apartments and row houses dotted across suburban Mumbai, his closest friends and family also await such a reunion.