As Bollywood fastens its seatbelts to go on a roller coaster ride with Rajkumar Hirani’s upcoming film Sanju, which is based on Sanjay Dutt, we remember the bygone era when dad Sunil Dutt ruled the industry with his charm. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role and Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt.
Sunil Dutt, born on June 6, 1928 is best known for giving the Hindi cinema hits like Sadhna (1958), Sujata (1959), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Khandan (1965) and Padosan (1967). Very few know that he started off as a radio show host and slowly made his way to films.
May 25, 2005 was a dark day in the history of Bollywood as the industry and its audience lost a magnificent star of its time. Sunil Dutt was without a doubt an ace actor, politician but above all, a father who never let the world get to his son. He was the super dad who died on the battlefield of life amidst the crisis faced by his son Sanjay. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and reminisce the times Sunil Dutt was the ideal father who could never be rattled.
Yasser Usman’s book ‘Sanjay Dutt: The Crazy Untold Story of Bollywood’s Bad Boy’ has provided some insight into the actor’s life through the perspective of his father Sunil Dutt.
Sunil Dutt (born on 6 June 1929) was grappled with misfortune since his early days. He fought against all odds, from losing his father, the 1947 partition and his life as a struggling actor in Mumbai, then Bombay.
Nargis called Sunil Dutt Elvis Presley and that’s how Sanjay got the name of Presley Junior.
Coming from all sorts of hardships, Sunil made sure he was always there was his little boy. When Nargis left her baggage of fame behind and took up the role of a loving mother and wife, Sunil headed as the breadwinner for the family.
Since Sanjay Dutt turned into a spoilt brat, Sunil played the bad cop once in a while to make sure his kiddo was on the track of good discipline. Once, when Sanjay demanded his first cigarette as a child, his father refused, but the little lad was very stubborn to find other ways to grab on to one. Sunil used a quirky parenting method and played along in showing Sanjay how to take a puff to which he followed studiously. Daddy Sunil had underestimated his son since he finished the entire cigarette and eventually beat him up.
Due to lack of control over his own kid, Sunil sent his boy to a boarding school in Sanawar in a bid to discipline him. In a bad turn of events, their relationship strained and Sanjay resented his father.
Sanjay fell under the spell of drugs and sometimes his mother would cover up for him. It didn’t take long for Sanjay to drop out of college and pursue acting as a profession. His father was not liking the choice but did plan a training session for his son.
Sanjay Dutt signed his first film, Rocky. And then, Nargis was diagnosed with cancer. Sunil flew her to the US for treatment and stayed with her every step of the way. However, Nargis didn’t last long to see her son take the plight to success.
Sunil Dutt faced the ultimate fear of a father. Sanjay was arrested under the TADA act in 1993, for alleged involvement in the Mumbai blasts. Sunil was crestfallen and couldn’t bear to see his son with the tag of allegations of being called a terrorist. But as a father he did not give up. By this time, Dutt had entered politics and was a part of the Indian National Congress. He managed to secure interim bail for Sanjay in May 1993. But his changing political relations couldn’t keep Sanjay safe for long.
It was finally Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray who managed to pull Sanjay out on 18 October, after 15 months behind bars.
Sunil Dutt’s final screen time was with his son, for Munna Bhai MBBS, where he played an upright father.
On 25 May 2005, Sunil Dutt passed away from a cardiac arrest in his sleep.
We remember him for the good times and for his role as an actor and an ideal father. May his soul rest in peace.