Raj Kumar Hirani’s proposed Sanjay Dutt bio-pic — no, it’s not called Digging Up Dutt — has a happy ending. The prodigal returns home after, presumably, a tearful farewell and jadoo ki jhappis galore for his adopted family in Pune.
Back home, his wife Maanyata Dutt can be visualised with an auspicious thaali in hand waiting for her husband to return home, the way wives wait for soldiers after war. Maanyata could even sing the classic Lata Mangeshkar song 'Ghar aaya mera pardesi' from Raj Kapoor’s Awara, a song that Maanyata’s mother-in-law the late Nargis sang on screen.
Now after February, Sanjay Dutt can sit down with Ranbir Kapoor, who will play Dutt, and his Munnabhai director Hirani to sculpt, mould and tailor the ideal anti-hero for the bio-pic. The Khalnaayak with a heart of gold, yes? Culpable or not, it is of no consequence to the friends of Dutt.
Seemingly responsible members of the film fraternity like Mahesh Bhatt have formed a protective cordon around their Sanju ‘Baba’ like doting parents spoiling their precious son silly, even allowing him to play with dangerous toys.
Now that Sanju Baba is on his way to becoming a buddha baba, the Sanjay Dutt saga makes for an amazing screenplay. The enfant terrible of Indian showbiz, Dutt has been pretty much allowed to have his way all through his life. It started with Sanju’s mother, the legendary actress Nargis, who never allowed her precious son to grow up.
When he was a child, father Sunil Dutt could see the signs of the impending storm. He tried to discipline his son. But Nargis stood in the way. She would hide all of her precious darling little Sanju Baba’s trespasses from the troubled father, conceal the fact that their son would not come home for entire nights, some times many days.
The spoilt ghar ka chiragh never knew what discipline was. He was never made to realize his mistakes. So he continued making them, the old again and the dangerously self-destructive fresh ones.
Many of his friends have played Nargis in Sanjay’s later life, cocooning him from impending infamy, glorifying his charitable deeds the same way that Salman Khan’s large-heartedness is repeatedly glorified. In fact, Salman has openly admitted to considering Dutt a role model. Once when I had mentioned this to Dutt, and he retorted, “He should not try to emulate me in wrong things.”
The one redeeming factor that has saved Dutt’s life from catastrophe is his self-honesty. Deep in his heart Dutt knows of all the mistakes he has made in his life.
An old friend who has distanced himself from Dutt comments that the star has been allowed to behave badly. “He is constantly being mollycoddled first by his family, then by the film industry. Everyone around him pampers him silly. Until that doesn’t stop, Sanjay Dutt will continue to be ‘Sanju Baba’. He never grew up. He never got a chance.”
The jail term has been pretty much an occasion for the actor to travel back and forth between Pune and Mumbai. The number of times that he has been allowed to visit home during jail term would have made Sanju Baba’s mom smile. It looks like she has left a trail of allies behind.
Back home in Pali Hill, Dutt’s little twins have been told Papa is coming back from shooting. Shooting what, the kids haven’t been told.