Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt’s life has had more twists and turns than what you may have ever seen in any of his films in the past 39 years. Now, the 61-year-old has reportedly been diagnosed with the stage III of lung cancer, which has sent shock waves among his admirers. As prayers and get-well wishes pour in for his speedy recovery from across the globe, here is a lowdown on the ups and downs in his life and career ever since he made his debut in Rocky in 1981.
- Worried about their wayward son, Sunil Dutt and Nargis decided to launch Sanjay Dutt in Bollywood when he was barely out of his teens. Rocky was launched with much fanfare but suddenly, mother Nargis was diagnosed with cancer. Sunil Dutt, the director of the film, had to leave the film midway and take her to New York for treatment. Some portions of the film had to be shot by director Raj Khosla.
- Rocky carried excellent pre-release reports and had great music by Rahul Dev Burman. The Dutts had planned a grand premiere to introduce their son to the film industry but before its release, Nargis passed away with an unfulfilled wish to see her beloved son as a star.
- After Rocky, a star was born. Producers made a beeline to his Pali Hill bungalow in Mumbai to sign him on the dotted lines, but Sanjay Dutt was found to be grappling with drug problems. Dad Sunil Dutt had to take him abroad for treatment which brought his budding career to a grinding halt.
- Sanjay Dutt returned after a few years and staged a comeback of sorts with Jaan ki Baazi (1985), but he really impressed the masses and the classes alike in Mahesh Bhatt’s Naam in 1986.
- He found his true love in actress Richa Sharma, a Dev Anand discovery. They married and had a daughter named Trishla. But she was diagnosed with a brain turmour only two years after they got married in 1987. She went back to the US, where her parents lived and passed away.
- In spite of delivering a huge hit like Naam, he could not capitalise on his success in the 1980s. In an era when his contemporaries such as Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff were consolidating their position as the leading stars in the post-Amitabh Bachchan era, his career floundered with a string of flops. Any other star would have vanished but he staged a triumphant comeback with Raj Sippy’s Thaanedar (1990), Mahesh Bhatt’s Sadak (1990) and Lawrence D’Souza’s Saajan (1991). He was suddenly in the top league and was signed by several big banners.
- He was considered to be the biggest star of the early 1990s when he was arrested under TADA for possessing Ak-47 after the Mumbai riots. He went to jail but his next release, Khalnayak, turned out to be a huge hit.
- Sanjay Dutt’s legal battle continued for years till he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment under Arms Act in 2013. In between, his career took off in a big way with films like Vaastav (1999) and Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003), which saw his best performances.
- He returned from Pune jail after serving his jail sentence in 2016 and found producers waiting for him. He did a number of big movies, from Bhoomi (2017) to Kalank (2019) and Prassthanam (2019), but they all bombed. But his biopic, Sanju, (2018) made by Raj Kumari Hirani, turned out to be the biggest hit of the year.
- In between, he got married to Manyata Dutt, had two children and was happily settled down to a peaceful life. With big upcoming movies like Bhuj: The Pride of India and KGF Chapter 2 lined up for release, he was looking forward to a long innings in his career when the latest setback hit him. He had also completed Mahesh Bhatt’s Sadak 2 but only a day before its trailer was released, he informed his fans that he was taking a break. His admirers now hope he will show the same resilience to fight back one more time which he has demonstrated all through the vicissitudes of his life so far.
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