Sanjay Dutt, the "Khalnayak" who rose to re-invent Gandhi for the Gen-X, is now the flag-bearer of a political party that claims to espouse the cause of socialism. Son of iconic Bollywood couple Sunil and Nargis Dutt, Sanjay was never shy of controversy. In fact, he had an affinity for trouble, which is evident from the issues he made headlines with, apart from his acting drugs, 1993 Mumbai blasts, relations with the D-company and acquiring AK 56 rifles.
The survivor: Sanjay Dutt with Rajat Sharma on the relaunch show of Aap ki Adalat
Sanjay is known for his defiant struggle against forces that threatened to finish him off but each time the affable Munnabhai has come out victorious wearing the innocent smile that made him a darling of millions of movie fans.
Like the showbiz, politics was something Sanjay has grown up with. His father late Sunil Dutt was one of the most respected politicians of the recent times. But unlike his sister Priya who chose to follow her father's legacy, remaining with the Congress, Sanjay joined the Samajwadi Party, which shares a sort of love-hate relationship with the grand-old party.
As the first guest on the new season of India TV's hit series Aap Ki Adalat hosted by eminent journalist Rajat Sharma, Sanjay talks about why he is still close to his sister Priya, his motivation behind entering politics, friends and foes in Bollywood and wife Manyata.
Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) never wanted you to become an actor...
Exactly, he wanted me to complete my studies but I thought acting was an easier option to pursue. So, I told daddy that I wanted to become an actor. But only when he sent me for training I realised how hard acting was.
You are the real 'bhai' of the film industry.
Rather, I am the real Gandhi of the industry because I have friends across all sections of the film world. I feel I have this great capacity to arbitrate and help forge friendships be it among actors or workers.
I have heard that you tried to mediate between Salman and Shah Rukh Khan too
No, I didn't exactly try to mediate but I felt bad because we (the film industry) are like a big family and each family has its share of troubles. But you must have the dialogue going. Therefore, I requested them to be at least on talking terms with each other.
Do you agree you have been careless about your life'
Yes, I agree.
You aim to improve upon that...
I am about to turn 50. Improvement is bound to happen.
An old letter from your mother describes you as someone 'stupid in the head', someone 'who doesn't know what he is doing'. When you introspect do you feel you were clueless about what you were doing'
I think every mother has similar sentiments about her children. It was all a part of my growing up but as I was the son of Nargis Dutt, my personality and actions remained in the public eye.
When you went to jail after being convicted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Priya (Priya Dutt) tried hard to secure your release. Why is it that now your relationship has soured'
I believe that in a brother-sister relationship you don't even name things you've done for each other. If I would do something for Priya I would do it as my duty towards her. But I pray to god that bad times do not befall on my sisters.
But you married and didn't even invite your sisters...
Absolutely wrong. I did invite them. But they didn't come.
They didn't come on your marriage anniversary too.
They should've come. As my younger sisters they should've shown respect. Each family has its own share of troubles but as an elder brother I have forgiven them.
Don't you think a jadu ki jhappi would do the trick for Priya'
I want her to give me a jhappi. I really need it.
Don't you think it was wrong on your part to say there was just one Mr and Mrs Dutt'
Yes, it was true. There's nobody else.
Don't you want Priya to use her father's name'
Why not' She can use it but it is very important that she respects my wife. If I respect my wife then I expect others to do so too.
Is it true that Manyata decided that you should enter politics and contest polls'
Manyata's decisions are limited to the kitchen only. She decides between biryani and chicken. Politics was wholly my and Amar Singhji's decision.
Your family has a long-standing relationship with the Congress. But you chose the Samajwadi Party. Why'
I haven't left Congress. The Congress and Samajwadi Party are allies and therefore, in a way, I am with the Congress.
Did you enter politics to cash in on the popularity you got from the Munnabhai movies'
No. Actually the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai prompted me to join politics. When I saw a handful of people holding an entire city to ransom for 60 hours, I realised nobody cares about the common man who pays taxes to run the country. I chose politics to voice my opinion for the public.
We've heard that Amar Singh has said that if the court disqualifies you, Manyata will contest in your place'
I will ask Manyata to be at home and write a cookery book instead.
You have a long list of friends in Bollywood. Will they hit the campaign trail for you'
I won't ask anybody. But if they feel like doing so, they are welcome.
Whom do you expect the most...
Priya Dutt, my sister.
The relaunch show will be aired on India TV at 10 pm on Saturday, March 21, 2009.