I picked Yasser Usman’s Dutt after watching Raju Hirani’s Sanju. Here’s my take!
I never read up on the life of Sanjay Dutt. It didn’t interest me. His public demeanour, acting skills, personality… none attracted me much. Nonetheless, I was always following his criminal case on television channels. But I happened to watch Sanju, thanks to my admiration for Ranbir Kapoor, and also Rajkumar Hirani’s cinema to some extent. I found him to be a guy who made disastrous blunders in unusual circumstances. But critics tore apart Hirani and his Sanju for doing a whitewash on the screen. That actually triggered my interest in Dutt’s life.
To clear my doubts, I picked up Dutt, an official biographical book penned by film journalist Yasser Usman on the star. It is a larger journalistic documentation on various phases of Sanjay Dutt’s life so far. Usman’s neutral approach to the subject is devoid of emotions and politely calls a spade a spade. In most cases, it is racier and more brutal than the movie. It doesn’t tell you to hate Sanjay Dutt for being a bad boy, who did all kinds of drugs, opened fire in neighbourhood, loved hunting, hid arms, had connection with fugitives and underworld mafias, treated women like replaceable objects or took everything for granted in life (there’s more to it, just read Dutt), it just reveals a simple fact that the actor made conscious choices in all his wrongdoings.
Among all the chapters, what fascinated me the most was Dutt’s unsteady romantic relationships. Despite being nightmare of a boyfriend and a husband, he had this impeccable knack of flooring the most gorgeous women around. Surprisingly, all the ones mentioned in the book would agree to his condition of giving up on their careers to become homemakers. He used to wear this MCP (male chauvinist pig) label arrogantly as a badge of honour. First, his addiction to drugs rattled his relationship with Tina Munim. What led to the oust of his another girlfriend Rati Agnihotri has not been described in the book even though they were giving romantic interviews together to the press. Sanjay’s first wife, Richa Sharma, was battling abroad against cancer when he started romancing with Madhuri Dixit in Mumbai. The Dhak Dhak Girl disappeared abruptly from his life after his name figured in the Bombay blast case (1993). Dutt got married to Rhea Pillai in 1998 but the duo couldn’t sustain together. Suddenly, Pakistan belly dancer Nadia Durrani happened just before Maanayata finally took over.
There’s more to him… and much more to come. There might be Dutt Part 2 after twenty years.
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