Sanjay paid for being a Dutt, says Priya
Priya Dutt attributes the actor's suffering to his being a star's son, in an interview with Neelesh Misra.Updated: Sep 28, 2007, 00:12 IST
It is a searing image from an afternoon many years ago that Priya Dutt has never forgotten: her father Sunil Dutt sitting for hours outside a police detention facility in Mumbai, waiting to see his son, the jailed Sanjay.
And she wonders what led up to that afternoon. "Sometimes he (Sunil Dutt) did blame himself for what happened to Sanjay. He felt "maybe Sanjay is suffering because of me" - I don't know, because of politics, he is caught up in all this," she told the Hindustan Times.
"I think he paid for being a Dutt. People might say anything - that he got special treatment - (but) people were not there when this happened," said Dutt, a Congress party member of Parliament who has written a book with her elder sister Namrata about their parents. <b1>
Mr and Mrs Dutt: Memories of our Parents, published by Roli, will be released on Friday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a ceremony to be attended by ruling coalition head Sonia Gandhi.
Politics gave her father much heartbreak. "There were many times when he did feel let down, when he felt his voice was not reaching the right places. He was a very different sort of a person. Even if he was in politics, the priority was his people," she said.
"I wouldn't say that every single person in the Congress was with him - obviously not. He knew that. But that didn't deter him from what he believed in," said Priya Dutt, sitting in the garage of her official residence in New Delhi as her house was cleaned. "I always say that in politics, you make more enemies than friends, even if you are the most non-controversial person … but my father was never bothered about these things."
The book features a rare insight into what Priya called the "lifelong romance" of her parents. Nargis Dutt died in 1981 after battling cancer, Sunil Dutt had to soon deal with another new crisis: his son's drug addiction.
Sunil Dutt sent his son to the United States de-addiction centre, helping him kick the habit. And that set off another, possibly the toughest journey of his life - his son's arrest and trial in India's biggest terrorism trial. The terrorism charge was dropped, but Sanjay Dutt was convicted under the Arms Act - a sentence he is appealing.
Priya Dutt describes the moments when she first saw him at the Yerwada jail near Pune. "He was wearing his jail clothes. It was a very very difficult moment. But we have been strong, we knew we have to fight it through. He has been very strong," she said. "And we all know that we have to do it on our own, Dad's not there."