Sanjay Balraj Dutt (Urdu: سنجے دتّ, Hindi: संजय दत्त, born 29 July 1959) is an Indian film actor and producer known for his work in Hindi cinema (Bollywood). He was educated at The Lawrence School, Sanawar. The son of veteran Hindi film actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt, he made his acting debut in 1981 and has since appeared in more than 187 Hindi films. Although Dutt has enjoyed great success as a lead actor in genres ranging from romance to comedy, it has been the roles of gangsters, thugs and police officers in the drama and action genres that have won him much appreciation. The Indian media and audiences alike popularly refer to him as Deadly Dutt for his larger-than-life portrayals of such characters.
Dutt on the sets of Torbaaz
Sanjay Balraj Dutt|
29 July 1959
Bombay State, India
|Occupation||Film actor, film producer, comedian, politician, television presenter|
|Years active||1981– present|
(m. 1987; d. 1996)
(m. 1998; div. 2008)
Sunil Dutt |
|Relatives||See Dutt family|
In a film career spanning more than 37 years, Dutt has won two Filmfare Awards, two IIFA Awards, two Bollywood Movie Awards, three Screen Awards, three Stardust Awards, two Zee Cine Awards, and a Global Indian Film Award. Four of his films have won various National Film Awards. He has won most of his awards for Vaastav: The Reality, Mission Kashmir, Munna Bhai MBBS, and Lage Raho Munna Bhai. He won three Best Actor awards for Vaastav: The Reality.
Dutt was arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in April 1993. Charges of terrorism were dropped but he was convicted of illegal possession of weapons. After serving his sentence with good behaviour and conduct, he was released on 25 February 2016.
Dutt was born to cinema actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis. He has two sisters, Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt. He is a devout Hindu who has read holy scriptures and theological works. His mother died in 1981, shortly before his debut film's premiere; her death is cited as the instigator of his drug abuse. As a child actor, Dutt appeared in the 1972 film Reshma Aur Shera, which starred his father; he appeared briefly as a qawali singer. Dutt married actress Richa Sharma in 1987. She died of a brain tumour in 1996. The couple have a daughter, Trishala, born in 1988, who lives in the United States with her maternal grandparents. Dutt's second marriage was to model Rhea Pillai in 1998. The divorce finalised in 2008. Dutt married Manyata (born Dilnawaz Sheikh) in 2008 in a private ceremony in Goa, after two years of dating. On 21 October 2010, he became a father to twins, a boy and a girl.
Dutt made his Bollywood movie debut with the box office super hit Rocky in 1981. Dutt then went on to star in Vidhaata, the highest grossing Hindi film of 1982, along with movies like Main Awara Hoon (1983). In 1985 he shot for his first film in three years, Jaan ki Baazi (1985). Jaan ki Baazi marked a comeback for Dutt and he appeared in successful films throughout the 80s such as Imaandaar, Inaam Dus Hazaar, Jeete Hain Shaan Se (1988), Mardon Wali Baat (1988), Ilaaka (1989), Hum Bhi Insaan Hain (1989), Kanoon Apna Apna (1989), and Taaqatwar.
The 1986 blockbuster Naam was Dutt's first major critical success and a turning point in his career, the film firmly cemented him amongst India's finest young main stream leading actors as he earned praise for his portrayal of an illegal immigrant in Dubai who spirals into a life of crime.
His performances in both Kabzaa (1988) and J. P. Dutta's 1989 Hathyar were both well received by critics although both films only managed average collections at the box office. In the late 1980s he was seen in a number of multi-starrers alongside actors like Govinda, Mithun, Dharmendra, Jackie Shroff and Sunny Deol.
His successes continued in the 1990s, with films that include Tejaa, Khatarnaak, Zahreelay, Thanedaar, Khoon Ka Karz, Yalgaar, Gumrah, Sahibaan, and Aatish: Feel the Fire. He went on to star in some of the most era-defining Indian films of the early 1990s such as Sadak, Saajan (for which he was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award) and Khal Nayak, for which he earned his second Filmfare Best Actor Award nomination. The Hindu wrote that "Sanjay's earlier films (like Naam and Sadak) got him a lot of favourable attention." and "Saajan established Sanjay Dutt as the conventional soft hero."Saajan was the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1991, and Sadak was the sixth highest grosser of 1991. Khal Nayak was a box office success. The movie was the second highest grosser of 1993. This was followed by another box office success Gumrah (1993 film), this was Dutt's second consecutive hit of the year.
Dutt's first film after his 1993 arrest was Daud (1997). It did not do well at the box office. He followed this with the 1998 Dushman which did not do well at the box office either. 1999 was an excellent year for Dutt and one that is regarded as his comeback, with all of his five releases being amongst the highest-grossing films of that year. He began it by starring in the Mahesh Bhatt-directed hit Kartoos, followed by Khoobsurat, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, Daag: The Fire and Vaastav: The Reality, for which he won many awards, including his first Filmfare Best Actor Award. His role in 2000's Mission Kashmir won him critical acclaim and a number of awards and nominations. Dutt was also invited by the President of India to Rashtrapati Bhavan for his performance in the movie.
As the decade went on, he continued to play lead roles in popular and critical successes such as Jodi No.1 (2001), Pitaah (2002), Kaante (2002) and the National Award-winning blockbuster Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003), which garnered him several awards. At the box office Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. achieved a silver jubilee status (25-week run) being one of only eight films to have achieved this status since the year 2000. In its 26th week of release, the film could still be found playing on 257 screens throughout India. Later successes came with Musafir (2004), Plan (2004), Parineeta (2005) and Dus (2005). He won critical acclaim for his performances in Shabd (2005) and Zinda.
The blockbuster sequel of Munna Bhai M.B.B.S, Lage Raho Munna Bhai was released in late 2006. Dutt received a number of awards for his performance in the film, along with an award from the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his work in the Munna bhai series. NDTV India counted the character Munna Bhai as one of top 20 fictional characters in Bollywood. Later Dutt starred in movies like Dhamaal (2007), Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007), All the Best (2009), Double Dhamaal (2011), Son of Sardaar (2012) Agneepath (2012) and PK.
In January 2008, the Indian film Institute Filmfare listed 12 films featuring Dutt in its top 100 highest-grossing movies of all-time list. In its May 2013 edition 100 years of Indian cinema Filmfare listed three films featuring Dutt in its top 20 list of highest-grossing Hindi films of all time, adjusted for inflation these films were Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Khalnayak and Saajan.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra on 29 September 2016 announced that the third Munna Bhai film, starring Dutt in the title role, would begin soon. In 2017, Dutt appeared as the lead in Bhoomi, directed by Omung Kumar. In 2018 he starred in Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3. On June 29 2018, his biopic Sanju released in which he made a special appearance.
Bigg Boss 5
Dutt co-hosted the fifth season of the Indian reality show Bigg Boss along with Salman Khan. The show aired on Colors television from 2 October 2011 to 7 January 2012. Dutt later said it was Khan who persuaded him to co-host the show.
Super Fight League
Dutt and entrepreneur Indian Premier League-cricket team owner Raj Kundra together launched India's first professionally- organised mixed martial arts league — the Super Fight League — on 16 January 2012.
Bombay (now Mumbai) suffered a series of serial bombings in 1993. Dutt was among several people associated with Bollywood who were accused of involvement. It was alleged that Dutt accepted a delivery of weapons at his house from Abu Salem and co-accused Riyaz Siddiqui, who had also been implicated in relation to the Mumbai blasts. It was claimed that the weapons formed a part of a large consignment of arms connected to the terrorists. Dutt however in his confession stated that he took only one AK-56 from the producers of his movie Sanam, for his own family protection. It has also been reported that Sanjay Dutt's father Sunil Dutt's political rivalry caused Sanjay Dutt's conviction.
In April 1993, he was arrested under the provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). Dutt was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India on 5th May 1993, however on July 4th 1994 his bail was cancelled and he was re-arrested. On October 16 1995 he was granted bail.
Abdul Qayyum Abdul Karim Shaikh, who was thought to be a close aide of the terrorists' ringleader, Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested. Dutt had given Qayuum's name to the police when confessing to arms possession, saying that in September 1992 he had bought a pistol from Qayuum in Dubai.
On 31 July 2007, Dutt was cleared of the charges relating to the Mumbai Blast, however the TADA court sentenced Dutt to six years' rigorous imprisonment under Arms' act for illegal possession of weapons. According to The Guardian, "The actor claimed he feared for his life after the notorious 'Black Friday' bombings, which were allegedly staged by Mumbai's Muslim-dominated mafia in retaliation for deadly Hindu-Muslim clashes a few months earlier. But the judge rejected this defence and also refused bail." Dutt was returned to jail at Arthur Road and soon after moved to the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune.
Dutt appealed against the sentence and was granted interim bail on 20 August 2007 until such time as the TADA court provided him with a copy of its judgement. On 22 October 2007 Dutt was back in jail but again applied for bail. On 27 November 2007, Dutt was granted bail by the Supreme Court. On 21 March 2013 the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the TADA court but shortened the sentence to five years' imprisonment. Dutt was given a month to surrender before the authorities.
Dutt has said that "I am not a politician but I belong to a political family." He was persuaded by a close friend to contest the 2009 Lok Sabha elections as a candidate for the Samajwadi Party but withdrew when the court refused to suspend his conviction. He was then appointed General Secretary of the party, leaving that post in December 2010.
Re-imprisonment and release
In March 2013 the Supreme Court upheld Dutt's five-year sentence, 18 months of which he already spent in jail during the trial. He was given four weeks to surrender to the authorities, the court having refused to release him on probation due to the severity of the offence.
With analysts believing that his imprisonment would have a significant impact on the fortunes of Bollywood, people from the movie business made statements of support following the ruling and some said that they would be making appeals for him to be pardoned. On 10 May, the Supreme Court rejected Dutt's review petition for the reconsideration of his conviction and asked him to surrender on the stipulated date. On 13 May, the Supreme Court rejected appeals filed by two film producers who were seeking more time for the actor to surrender so that he could complete two of his under-production films. On 14 May, Dutt withdrew the mercy plea and surrendered to the Mumbai Police on 16 May 2013. Just before the surrender, the Mumbai jail authority got an anonymous letter threatening Dutt's life. Dutt filed an appeal to allow him to surrender before entering Yerwada Central Jail. Later, Dutt withdrew this request too. Dutt subsequently surrendered in court as ordered. He was paroled from 21 December 2013. The parole was extended three times until March 2014, raising concern in Bombay High Court and a proposal from the Government of Maharashtra to amend the law of parole. He returned to Yerwada Central Jail after his parole ended. Dutt was out on a two weeks' furlough granted by the Yerwada Central Jail authorities on 24 December. He said "I have lost 18kg. Now if I lose any more weight, I will vanish." Sanjay Dutt was subsequently incarcerated in Yerwada Central Jail, to complete his jail term. He was released from there on 25 February 2016 after serving his sentence.
In popular culture
Awards and nominations
- 1992: Nominated, Best Actor for Saajan
- 1994: Nominated, Best Actor for Khalnayak
- 2000: Winner, Best Actor for Vaastav: The Reality
- 2001: Nominated, Best Actor for Mission Kashmir
- 2003: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for Kaante
- 2004: Winner, Best Comedian for Munnabhai M.B.B.S.
- 2006: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for Parineeta
- 2007: Nominated, Best Actor for Lage Raho Munna Bhai
- 2000: Winner, Best Actor for Vaastav: The Reality
- 2001: Nominated, Best Actor for Kurukshetra
- 2001: Winner, Best Supporting Actor for Mission Kashmir
- 2004: Nominated, Best Actor for Munnabhai M.B.B.S.
- 2005: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for Musafir
- 2000: Winner, Best Actor for Vaastav: The Reality
- 2001: Nominated, Best Actor for Mission Kashmir
- 2007: Nominated, Best Actor for Lage Raho Munna Bhai 
- 2010: Winner, Best Performance in a Comic Role for All the Best
- 2006: Winner, Global Indian Film Awards, Critics Choice Awards – Best Actor (Male) for Lage Raho Munna Bhai
- 2004: Winner, Stardust Star of the Year Award - Male, Munnabhai M.B.B.S.
- 2007: Winner, Stardust Star of the Year Award - Male, Lage Raho Munna Bhai
- 2013: Winner, Stardust Award for Best Actor in Negative Role, Agneepath
- 2001: Winner, Zee Premiere Choice- Male for Mission Kashmir
- 2007: Winner, Zee Cine Awards – Best Actor (Male) Critics Awards for Lage Raho Munna Bhai
- 2003: Winner, Bollywood Movie Award - Critics Award Male for Kaante
- 2004: Winner, Bollywood Movie Award - Most Sensational Actor for Munnabhai M.B.B.S.
- 2004: Winner, Celebrity Style Male at the Bollywood Fashion Awards
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