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Sanjay's tryst with Mahatma at Yerwada

The 48-year-old actor was shifted to the historic Yerawada jail in Pune that once had Gandhi as its inmate.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 03, 2007 04:45 PM IST

Celebrated Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt could have never imagined that his tryst with Mahatma Gandhi in Lage Raho Munna Bhai would come true in real life.

The 48-year-old actor was shifted to the historic Yerawada jail in Pune that once had Gandhi as its inmate. And that's not it, he is likely to attend a course there on Gandhian principles and take a test on the subject too!

Mahatma Gandhi spent many years in Yerwada Jail in Pune during India's freedom struggle. In 2002, a programme designed to spread Gandhian principles among the inmates was introduced.

As a part of this optional programme, the prisoners are taught Gandhian principles for one year after which they have to appear for an exam.

In Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Sanjay who plays a gangster goes to study Gandhi's life at a desolate library to impress his beloved. In real life, the actor is to attend the 'Gandhi Darshan' course and take the 'Gandhi Vichar Pariksha' in jail.

"It will be really good to have Sanjay in this course," Asim Sarode, director of human rights and law defenders (HRLD) of Sahyog Trust, the body that conducts the course, told IANS over the phone.

"The course is helpful for prisoners who undergo severe emotional stress and mental trauma and Sanjay who is surely going through all this can actually benefit from the course. And he should also appear for the test as it will give him a good conduct."

The macho star, who has been sentenced to six years in jail under the Arms Act for the 1993 Mumbai bombings, has been projecting himself as a reformed person - much like the reformed criminal he played in Lage Raho..

Support for Sanjay is flowing from the Bollywood fraternity, who believe that he's suffered enough for the last 14 years - the time taken for the trial to end. He has already spent 16 months in jail.

Lage Raho... sees the actor in the role of a gangster who undergoes transformation after reading Gandhi's principles and values. In several dramatic sequences, he also meets Gandhi in his imagination, debates the applicability of Gandhian principles in today's world, and is convinced by the Mahatma to give it a try.

The film ends on a happy note. Sanjay's fans now hope that he finds a silver lining in his troubled real life.

"It's very strange but it seems like a full circle for him," said Ravi Sharma, a fan of Sanjay. "I'm sure he has changed a lot but with him housed at the same prison where Gandhiji was kept will motivate him further towards goodness."

"He is bound to remember his shooting experiences for Lage Raho Munna Bhai. I feel sorry for him that he has to go through so much," said Manisha Das, a college student.

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