And it was hard to tell, through the bars of the navy-blue police van that tore through the night, if the white shirt and the pair of blue jeans that Sanjay Dutt had on was any worse for wear from when he appeared in court in them on Tuesday.
The van roared out from in front of Arthur Road Jail, past the frenzied crowd of onlookers, the photographers with their arms aloft, clicking, the reporters desperate for a sound bite, any sound bite, and headed towards Saat Rasta in Mahalaxmi.
It then turned into the comparatively empty Sewri Road.
It was hard to tell at that point, driving close behind the police van, that the shoulders would very soon no longer be slumped, that the head would jerk up, the expression on his face change. It happened once the van had hit the Vashi-Panvel highway.
A white Honda Accord, registration number 4545, rocketed past the media cars tailing Dutt and slid into position parallel to the van carrying the actor.
The car was actually Dutt’s. Someone else was driving it. And in the back seat was Bunty Walia, Dutt’s old friend and film producer.
Walia hung his head out of the back seat, Dutt pressed his face against the bars of the van, and they started having a conversation.
The cars kept abreast of each other and they spoke, despite the speed at which both vehicles were going, and the sounds of the traffic and the night around them. They did it for the 45-odd km till Lonavala.
After they had reached Lonavala, a white police Sumo barged its way in between the Honda and the van. Officers asked Walia to fall back.
From there till he reached Yerawada Jail in Pune at 10.27pm, Walia tailed the van along with reporters and photographers.
In front of the jail, on the other side of a 10-foot-wide road, Dutt’s fans had gathered in hundreds. For many, it was the closest that they would ever get to their favourite star.
The Honda stopped a little distance away. Walia got out. And from the back seat, through a window, emerged the head of Maanyata, Dutt’s partner.
The actor waved to his fans. He looked towards his friend and Maanyata, raised his arm and, as the iron gates of Yerawada Jail swung shut behind him, was swallowed up by the night.