"Eventually the truth will come out in the open. I'm not a terrorist and I was never involved in any act of terrorism against this country. I'm happy that it is coming to an end. The world will know the truth soon
."
(Filmfare Online, 2002)

Sanjay Dutt's professions of innocence have met with renewed skepticism now that he's been allegedly caught on tape chatting about various incendiary issues with an infamous mobster. Already implicated in the planting of a series of bombs that sparked the 1993 riots in Bombay, charged with assault by a rickshaw driver, accused of slugging a journalist during a concert tour in the U.K., and surviving a serious drug addiction, Sanjay Dutt is without doubt Bollywood's biggest Bad Boy.

    The 1993 riots in Bombay remain one of India's most bloody episodes in recent history. Allegedly organized by Muslim mob don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar and his henchman Tiger Memon, the attacks were in response to the destruction of a mosque on a disputed site in Ayodhya, legendary home of one of Hinduism's most revered gods. So how in the world does Sanjay Dutt, Hindu son of screen legends Nargis and Sunil Dutt, factor in?

    In an industry with close and much-documented ties to the underworld of organized crime, stars often receive extortion and death threats. Shortly before the riots, Dutt allegedly received threats that moved him to purchase an Sanjay DuttAK-47 from Dawood's cohorts. According to Rediff.com (October 1998), "When asked if he owned such a gun, he denied it while simultaneously arranging for the weapon to be surreptitiously destroyed." He was arrested not only for owning the rifle, but also for plotting to blow up the Indian Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of India. The vast majority of Indians considered the charges ludicrous, though their reasons varied, as is sarcastically evident in Shatrughan Sinha's reaction: "Don't be ridiculous! He doesn't even know what a stock exchange is." (Rediff, Oct. 1998)

   Sanjay himself vehemently protests his innocence, and has retracted an earlier confession admitting to ownership of the AK-47. He now denies it ever existed. Freed after several months in prison, he still must ask permission before leaving the country. In a 2002 interview with Filmfare Online, he reflects, "In fact, the court has been kind to me. Whenever I needed permission to shoot abroad, they granted it to me. I have to attend the court only 15 days a month now." Dutt looks forward to the trial's conclusion: "I'm keenly waiting for the verdict. Eventually the truth will come out in the open. I'm not a terrorist and I was never involved in any act of terrorism against this country. I'm happy that it is coming to an end. The world will know the truth soon." (Filmfare Online, 2002)

    Unfortunately, that his name will be totally cleared seems increasingly unlikely. In the course of another trial related to mafia dealings, prosecutors have produced a tape recording of an alleged phone conversation in which Sanjay Dutt and Mahesh Manjrekar (the renowned director of films including 1999's Hu Tu Tu and 2000's Astitva) buddy up to infamous underworld kingpin Chhota Shakeel, discussing everything from the co-stars they dislike most (Sanjay thinks poorly of Govinda, who he claims always shows up late) to the rumor that Chota Shakeel is extorting money from actress Preity Zinta (the gangster tells Sanjay that he would never take money from ladies, and to please explain that to Preity). "In the 45 minutes of sometimes rambling conversation on tape, actor Sanjay Dutt asks Shakeel about favors the gangster had promised him and complains about actors including [Hrithik] Roshan. Shakeel assures Dutt that Roshan 'will not be around for too many days.'" (lDaily Variety, July 31, 2002)  Naturally, the recording has caused a furor in India. A court order has been successfully issued to prohibit the media from continuing to play it for the public.

    Sanjay has also known scandals of the more mundane brand. He rarely sees the daughter of his first marriage, Trishala, but has no plans to relocate her from the United States: "She is happy in the US, so why disturb her? Having stayed there since her childhood, she will find it hard to adjust here." (Filmfare Online, 2002) Also, his current marriage to Rhea Dutt, begun on Valentine's Day in 1999, is crumbling; unofficially separated from her, Sanjay has few hopes for their domestic prospects: "I have signed on at least seven films in the last one year. All of them are being shot now. I don't know what to do with my time, so I keep working. My personal life is almost over...Rhea and me will always care for each other and be there for each other. That is what counts in the end, not that we are no longer together." (Rediff, Dec. 2002)

   Despite his apparent return to bachelorhood, he decries the recent rumors of romances with Preity Zinta, Sushmita Sen and Tabu. "I'm 43 years old and all these girls you are talking about are younger than me by 12 to 13 years. They are kids. Some section of the media just writes whatever it wants. They have some preconceived notions about me. Just because I did some wild things in the past, they write whatever they want to about me. It used to affect me, but not any more. I care a damn about it." (Filmfare Online, 2002)

   However, many gossip columnists seem sure that he was recently caught necking with Tabu at a film party and later in a parked car. Tabu herself isn't surprised: "I'm aware of when these rumours started. Sanju, a group of friends and I had a rip-roaring time in Sun City where we'd gone to attend an awards function. No one had ever seen me freaking out earlier. So imaginations ran riot." (Filmfare, Oct. 2001) It seems no surprise that maginations tend to do that where Sanjay is concerned.

Sanjay Dutt
born: July 29, 1959
height: 6' 1"

FILMS

1981 Rocky
1982 Johnny I Love You
1982 Vidhaata
1983 Main Awara Hoon
1984 Bekaraar
1984 Mera Faisla
1984 Zameen Aasman
1985 Do Dilon Ki Dastaan
1985 Jaan Ki Baazi
1986 Imaandaar
1986 Mera Haq
1986 Naam
1987 Naam-O-Nishaan
1988 Ilaaka
1988 Jeete Hain Shaan Se
1988 Kabzaa
1988 Khatron Ke Khiladi
1988 Mardon Wali Baat
1988 Mohabbat Ke Dushman
1989 Do Qaidi
1989 Hathyar
1989 Hum Bhi Insaan Hain
1989 Taaqatwar
1990 Khatarnaak
1990 Krodh
1990 Zahreelay
1991 Do Matwale
1991 Fateh
1991 Khoon Ka Karz
1991 Qurbani Rang Layegi
1991 Saajan*
1991 Sadak
1991 Yodha
1992 Adharm
1992 Kshatriya
1992 Sahebzaade
1992 Sarphira
1992 Teja
1992 Yalgaar
1993 Aatish
1993 Gumrah
1993 Khalnayak*
1993 Sahibaan
1994 Amaanat
1994 Andolan
1994 Insaaf Apne Lahoo Se
1994 Zamane Se Kya Darna
1995 Vijeta
1997 Daud
1997 Mahanta
1997 Namak
1997 Sanam
1998 Chhota Chetan
1998 Dushman*
1999 Daag
1999 Haseena Maan Jayegi
1999 Kartoos
1999 Khoobsurat
1999 Safari
1999 Vaastav*
2000 Baaghi
2000 Chal Mere Bhai
2000 Dus
2000 Jung
2000 Khauff
2000 Kurukshetra
2000 Mission: Kashmir*
2001 Jodi No.1
2001 Nayak*
2002 Kaante
2002 Pitaah
2003 Ek Aur Ek Gyaarah
2003 LOC: Kargil
2003 Plan
2004 Deewaar
2004 Musafir
2004 Munnabhai MBBS
2004 Rakht
2004 Rudraksh
2004 Shabd

* acclaimed performance


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