How I did It

The Never-back-down Attitude of Sanjay Dutt

In the span of 36 years with so many actors coming to the forefront, his place in Bollywood still remains untouched
The Never-back-down Attitude of Sanjay Dutt
Image credit: Dabboo Ratnani Photography
Assistant Editor, Entrepreneur India
5 min read
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“Success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom” --General George Patton

When the unsudden moments strike you, it’s your resilience as an individual which either brings you stronger or you let the storm sweep you away. Those who survive through it all, make for the best stories to be told. Saluting that spirit of ‘rising out of the ashes like a phoenix’, Entrepreneur focuses on such people and their secrets on making through it all. Our ensuing pages, with a great focus on “comebacks”, feature some of the best stories about the journey of entrepreneurs, celebrities and superstars on how to overcome major obstacles and bounce back after each setback. As humans we love comeback stories, as they capture a celluloid drama.

From rise to roadblock to recovery, each of these stories holds inspiration to many of us. Nobody can pull you out of a storm; you have to create your own history. Such has been the path for our heroes. Every time the world has written them off, they have emerged stronger. An actor in his late 50s, who has just been released from Jail makes for the most interesting comeback saga in this issue. Read on to find out how they all lived a life no less ordinary.

After a month long wait to hear from Sanjay Dutt’s team, I finally ended up meeting him at his Imperial Heights apartment on a Sunday afternoon. The high-rise building, which earlier used to be a bungalow owned by his parents Nargis and Sunil Dutt, has been broken down to be rebuilt.

As my team and I reached there, 15 minutes prior to our scheduled meeting, we were warmly welcomed by him at the door. Dressed in crisp white kurta-pyjama, owing to the Ganesha festival, the tattooed, mustachioed, actor at 58 looked no less dapper than his favorite Hollywood heroes, Denzel Washington or Mel Gibson.

Life seems back to normal at the Dutt dome. It seems like the house of any other celebrity caught in the nitty-gritty of his celeb circle. Friends like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Sachiin Joshi (producer) with wife Urvashi Sharma (Model and Actress) flock the house.

In his own words, his life has been an open book. From drugs, keeping a gun at home, even being charged under TADA — not a single word has been left to be written, not even for his autobiography.

Also Read: Exclusive: The Rise, Fall and Return of Sanjay Dutt

Early Stardom

An overly pampered child of acclaimed actors Nargis and Sunil Dutt, Sanjay shot to stardom immediately after his first film Rocky released in 1981.

Super stardom at such a young age became difficult to be handled and he got into drugs. However, with immense support from his father, he came out of this phase. (It is also rumored that he met his first wife Richa Sharma, when he was at the rehab in the US.)

Trial and Conviction

He came with a huge commercial hit, Naam, after being written off by the critics. Things were smooth for sometime, as he delivered back-to-back hits like Thanedaar, Saajan, Sadak and Khalnayak. In 1993, he was linked to the Mumbai serial blasts. After the trial, he was convicted in the Arms Act. With every low, Sanjay emerged even stronger.

No Dent in Popularity 

In the span of 36 years with so many actors coming to the forefront, his place in Bollywood still remains untouched. People know what Dutt can deliver cannot be matched by any other. The father to six-year-old twins, Dutt now spends most of his time with his son and daughter. Though nobody shies away from talking about the past, but everyone seems to have moved on.

Comeback

People around him have stood by him to bring him back to the place where his passion lies – cinema. September marks the release of Sanjay’s comeback film – Bhoomi, which happens to be his first film after his five-year imprisonment.

The setback didn’t set him back, as he seemed humble and mellow. Leaving the past behind, Rocky is all set to roll. The room where we were offered to sit, houses pictures of his parents and his present wife Manyata with kids and a painting of his.

Though he is much mellowed down today, his hand seemed shaking while he struck a pose for Dabbu Ratnani for our photoshoot.

Speaking about what kept him going all these year, he credits his father and Manyata for their immense support. After the shoot, we came down to the ground floor as the family prepares to leave for Ganesha Visharjan. The papparazi had gathered to click pictures of Sanjay Dutt – the star. It was magnificent to see how his popularity continues to prosper. While on my way back from Sanjay Dutt’s Pali Hill house, these lyrics play at the back of my mind from James Fortune and Fiya. “I can’t be stopped I keep on rising The greater my struggle I just keep dancing I won’t stay down Don’t think it’s over After every attempt I bounce back.”

(This article was first published in the September 2017 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here) 

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The Rise, Fall and Return of Sanjay Dutt