Sanjay Dutt on Bhoomi: 'The industry has stood by me, wanted to make comeback with the right film'

Seema Sinha

Sep 19, 2017 10:04:45 IST

Sanjay Dutt is a free man quite literally and metaphorically. The looming fear of a conviction has now gone after the actual completion of his sentence — something that kept him silent for 25 long years, at the advice of his lawyers.

Now the actor is speaking his heart out and how. He clearly seems to have dropped his guard. “You must understand that I had a burden of a case on my head for 25 years and I couldn’t speak what I really wanted to. There’s no sword hanging on my head now. That burden has come off  and I am feeling light. I can speak about anything, I have nothing to hide now. I have nothing to fear. You can ask me anything and I will talk,” said Dutt with a warm smile.

He further added, “I’m loving my life, spending time with my family, my wife, my children, my sisters. Now I don’t want to take my freedom for granted.”

Sanjay Dutt on Bhoomi: The industry has stood by me, wanted to make comeback with the right film

Sanjay Dutt, Aditi Rao Hydari in Bhoomi. Youtube screengrab.

Wearing a black T-shirt, faded jeans and sporting a beard, 58-year-old Dutt is gearing up for his comeback film Bhoomi, which will hit the screens on 22 September. Directed by Omung Kumar, Bhoomi is an intense social drama about a father-daughter relationship with Aditi Rao Hydari playing Dutt’s daughter.

There was much speculation about Dutt's second innings in Bollywood from the time he was released from Yerwada jail last February. While some reports suggested that his old friends — Subhash Ghai, Sanjay Gupta — were keen on working with him, there were other reports attributing the delay in his comeback to his wife, Maanayata, who was apparently demanding huge remuneration and as a result turning off the filmmakers.

“None of this is true. It was my decision to start after a gap. I wanted a break of about six months. I wanted to be with my family, my children,” clarified Dutt, further adding, “The industry has always stood by me but I wanted to come back with the right film. I heard many scripts, and Omung also narrated few stories to me, but I loved Bhoomi. It is an entertainer, a commercial, action film and this is the genre I want to be in. The film’s about the trauma of a lower middle class family. It has a message but it is not preachy. I play a tough father who gets his daughter justice.”

Reminiscing about the first day of the shoot for Bhoomi, he said, “We were shooting in Agra and as soon as I entered the sets, all the crew members welcomed me with a huge round of applause. I am passionate about films and acting, it’s my life. I was choked on seeing cameras, lights. Every day, while in jail I would get anxious about getting back to movies when I am out. I remember telling Omung to keep a light scene on the first day. So we shot that scene where my ‘daughter’ is applying dye in my hair. I gave my final shot in the second take,” said Dutt.

Director Omung Kumar briefs Sanjay Dutt on the sets of his first film since his release from Yerawada Jail

Director Omung Kumar briefs Sanjay Dutt on the sets of his first film since his release from Yerawada Jail

Considering the number of films Dutt has signed in the last few months, it looks like he has been welcomed into the industry with open arms.

Soon after the release of Bhoomi, Dutt will start shooting for Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3, from 26 September. The third movie in the franchise will be directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia and will see Dutt essaying the role of a gangster. He had earlier played a gangster in Mahesh Manjrekar directed, 1999-release Vaastav. Soon after, he will play the lead in a thriller love story titled Malang, to be directed by debutant Aarambhh Singh, who assisted Omung on Bhoomi.

Sometime next year, Dutt will be teaming up with Omung once again, for a historical titled Good Maharaja, a film based on Maharaja Jam Sahib Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji, who was the ruler of Nawanagar, a princely state in British India. Then there’s Girish Malik’s Torbaaz — an action-thriller set in Afghanistan. Sanjay Dutt will be essaying the role of an army man and father to a young child in the film.

“My character fights for the young Fidayeens and tries to rehabilitate them through cricket,” said Dutt sounding extremely excited about the film. And finally, there's the cherry on the cake — much awaited, Hirani’s third instalment of Munnabhai franchise, which is most likely to roll at the end of 2018.

Talking about his biopic with Ranbir Kapoor portraying him, Dutt said he was both, shocked and intrigued on hearing about it.

“What’s so interesting about my life? I wondered. But Ranbir is perfect for the part. Those few days, when I was out on parole, I would sit with the team for hours and talk about my life and they would record. While letting them into my life, I was able to reflect on all those years that have gone by. The story will tell the truth, it will not glorify me. I have told them to put good, bad, everything,” said Dutt, who would like to watch it only after the first copy is out.

Sanjay Dutt's look from The Good Maharaja. Image from Twitter.

Sanjay Dutt's look from The Good Maharaja. Image from Twitter.

The actor is also happy about his co-star of several films, Manisha Koirala, essaying the role of his mother, Nargis. “I saw one photograph of hers and it reminded me of my mom. Manisha and I did speak to each other few times but we never discussed the biopic,” said Dutt.

The last few months has seen movies of such formidable stars like Salman, Shah Rukh, Ranbir Kapoor failing at the box office, leading to speculation about the industry’s most bankable pillar – the star system. Is it coming to end, and are only strong content-based films are working?

“I don’t know about all this. Aisa hai kya (Is this so?) But some films work and some don’t which doesn’t mean that the stars are over. And if you are saying that only strong content is working then Bhoomi has got a lot of good content,” Dutt laughs out loud.

Updated Date: Sep 19, 2017 10:04:45 IST

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