Free Press Journal

Friendship even in ‘Crime & Punishment” for Salman and Sanjay Dutt


Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt

 Both Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan are free men, even if the latter is seen to have escaped the wheels of justice, as of now. Sometimes real life can play out eerily like a film, writes VIRAJ SAWANT.

Back in 1991, Sanjay Dutt played a handicapped friend to Salman Khan in the film SAAJAN, wherein both of them fall for the same girl, Madhuri Dixit. SAAJAN marked the beginning of a great friendship between the two. Little did they know that both would also share a controversial future fighting court cases!

In 1993, Bombay saw a series of bomb blasts that shook the country. Orchestrated by Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, 257 people lost their lives and 1400 were injured. Never before had the city witnessed carnage of this magnitude. In the investigations that followed, one name emerged that shook the nation – that of Sanjay Dutt. How could an actor be responsible for the blast? How could this son of actor-politician Sunil Dutt and ‘Mother India’ Nargis be part of the conspiracy? All these questions were answered by the report filed by the Mumbai police.

Sanjay Dutt apparently knew about the shipment of guns and grenades, yet kept mum about it. Had he informed the police, the 13 blasts might have been avoided. Dutt was accused of illegal possession of arms and ammunition. With this revelation, much about his past was unearthed, including his battle with drug addiction and proximity to the underworld. Sanjay Dutt was jailed for possessing guns and grenades.

The industry sympathised with Sanju Baba. Huge amounts of money were riding on his shoulders. With analysts believing that his imprisonment would have a significant impact on the fortunes of Bollywood, concerned filmmakers made appeals for him to be pardoned. Two producers appealed to the Supreme Court seeking extension of his bail to complete their films. Dutt did complete his jail term after all and finally walked free on February 27, 2016.

While Sanjay Dutt was serving his sentence, his friend Salman was caught in a controversy during the shooting of HUM SAATH SAATH HAI. The entire cast was summoned by the Jodhpur court for black buck poaching. Apparently, the lead actresses of the film, Sonali Bendre, Neelam, Tabu, along with Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan were identified by the witness for hunting two Chinkara deer and one black buck. While others were accomplices, Salman was the main accused and sentenced to one year in jail.

Salman’s run-in with the law did not end there. The dawn of September 29, 2002 brought shocking news to the country and the Khan family in particular.

Salman Khan, allegedly in an inebriated state, had apparently run over a few people who were sleeping on a Bandra footpath. One died on the spot while three others were injured. Salman was accused of rash driving and culpable homicide. Later, charges of culpable homicide were dropped. With ‘so called’ evidence and witnesses, the case took 11 years to stand in the Bombay Sessions Court. Convicted, he was granted bail within a few hours. Finally, in December 2015, Salman was acquitted of all charges evidently due to faulty investigation by the police and lack of evidence. Salman was a free man again.

Both Dutt and Khan are free men, even if the latter is seen to have escaped the wheels of justice, as of now. Sometimes real life can play out eerily like a film…

Other crimes that shook Bollywood: Pakistani-born Bollywood actor, Laila Khan, who starred in WAFAA (2008), was killed by her step-father, Parvez Tak. Kamal Sadanah, who had made his debut opposite Kajol in BEKHUDI (1992), had witnessed his filmmaker father Brij Sadanah kill his mother and sister, before committing suicide. Priya Rajvansh, best remembered for her performance in HEER RAANJHA (1970) and HANSTE ZAKHM (1973), was allegedly murdered by the sons of Chetan Anand, whom she’d had a long-standing relationship with. Nadeem, of the popular music composer duo Nadeem-Shravan, was accused of plotting the murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar in 1997.