Sanjay Dutt’s life is a story of epic proportions. He has always lived under the media spotlight. His life has been documented in print and on film right from his birth. Even his very name was the result of a competition held by a film magazine where readers sent in their suggestions to his superstar parents, Nargis and Sunil Dutt. In 2017, when Yasser Usman, one of India’s top Bollywood biographers, asked him, ‘When you look back upon your life, what is it that you would like to change?’ ‘Kuch nahi! [Nothing!],’ he replied immediately. ‘Given a chance, I would like to live the same life again.’ Given that his life was full of heartbreaking tragedy that drove him to bouts of insanity, it was interesting that Sanjay wouldn’t change any of it.
Here are 5 intriguing facts about his roller-coaster life –
A young rebel, Sanjay Dutt took to drugs after his mother Nargis’ death from cancer. During the release of his debut film Rocky (1981), Nargis’ cancer had reached a very severe stage. The actress’s last wish was to watch her son on the big screen. Unfortunately, Nargis passed away just 5 days before the release of Rocky. The intake of alcohol and drugs proved lethal for him and he spent five months behind bars in 1982 for drug possession. His father Sunil Dutt put him in a rehabilitation center in Texas, US.
Sanjay was once so high on LSD that he jumped on his father because he was hallucinating that his father’s head was melting down due to a lit wick. He was also replaced by Jackie Shroff for the movie ‘Hero’. He was the first choice for the movie but however, his drug addiction left no other option for Subhash Ghai. The movie did wonders for Jackie Shroff.
Sanjay Dutt had his first cigarette when he was just 9 years old. Sanjay’s father, Sunil Dutt would often host parties at the Dutt residence and during those parties, little Sanjay got fascinated by watching people smoke. Sanjay Dutt began taking unfinished cigarettes from the ashtray and this is how he started smoking. Sunil Dutt once found Sanjay smoking in the bathroom after which he took him to a room and beat him with shoes.
The 1993 Mumbai blasts proved to be a turning point in Sanjay’s life. He was booked for possessing a pistol and a rifle and was convicted for possession of arms which were part of a consignment brought to India for the coordinated serial blasts that claimed 257 people and injured over 700 in 1993. From 1993 to 2006, his life was overshadowed by visits to jail and courts.
In 2013, when Sanjay Dutt was arrested, he was given duties just like every other prisoner. During his time in prison, he was assigned the duty of making paper bags for which he received a salary of Rs 50 per day. When he was released from jail in 2016, his total earnings had exceeded 30,000 rupees but since he spent most of it for purchasing food from the jail canteen, the balance left with him was only 450 rupees which he gave to his wife Manyata Dutt.