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Rs 100 Crore Locked Up In Jail
Just days before the judgement, Sanjay Dutt had decided to revive his father Sunil Dutt's banner Ajanta Arts with a new production—Beehad. The Rs 20-crore project, starring Sanjay, Vidya Balan and Ajay Devgan, to be directed by Milan Luthria, now hangs fire. The pre-production and scripting are done. "We have been trying to slot it into a schedule and are waiting to hear from Sanjay on when to roll," says Luthria. But all that will now depend on what Sanjay's sentence will be. Will his bail be extended? For how long? "It will affect the time-frame of the film," says Luthria. "We'll have to reapproach all the other actors for their dates." However, what he is sure of is that the film cannot be made without Sanjay.
With every major high in his career, Sanjay's seen a deep personal low. With Khalnayak's supersuccess came the 16-month jail term. Now, he should have been officially anointed Hero No. 1 with Lage Raho Munnabhai. He can't sign any new ventures, no producer will risk it. The third sequel of Munnabhai, to be shot in the US, is a distant dream. Sanjay was also to star in the new Karan Johar production Race Director, to be directed by Soham Shah. Shah apparently couldn't wait for Sanjay and Johar wouldn't start the film without him. So, Shah is now making the film under a rival banner with a new set of stars.
Shah's still lucky. Other projects will be left mid-way: Raman Kumar's Sarhad Paar, Abbas-Mustan's Mr Fraud, Indra Kumar's Dhamaal, Ajay Chandok's Nehle Pe Dehla and Apoorva Lakhia's Shootout at Lokhandwala, which Sanjay himself is co-producing with friend Sanjay Gupta. The industry estimates that about Rs 75-100 crore is riding on these ventures. Sanjay has, however, finished work on Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya which is ready for release early February. He also has a cameo in Priyadarshan's Bhagam Bhag which hits screens in December.