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Rise and reprise

Sanjay Dutt has been under pressure time and again. And yet he surfaces above the turbulent waters.



GUTSY HERO: Sanjay Dutt sports a cool attitude. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

THERE IS an inner strength in him, which makes him bear things with fortitude. Beneath the tough exterior lies a man who has gone through pain and trauma and yet borne it stoically.

He has been able to bounce back every time he was in `trouble'. Yes Sanjay Dutt, the man in question, has always been in the news for something or the other. Yet he remains calm and goes about his work seriously. One admires his resolute determination to swim across turbulent waters to reach the shore. From the handsome young lad of Rocky, he has indeed come a long way - maturing as a strong individual picking up the threads of life at every critical juncture. Today he stands poised on a career, which has won him accolades and recognition again. The fire in him to counter allegations and to prove himself may be raging within but that does not reflect on his cool exterior. He presents a new image - coloured hair (which looks little funky) and a lankier physical frame.

"I will speak to you when I finish some shots," he says. Shooting for Rudraksh, directed by Mani Shankar, one watches him on the sets meticulously giving finishing touches to the false hair (the role demands so) he dons. Baba, as he is called by everyone, looks a modern-age baba (the spiritual role he is essaying). After a couple of shots he keeps his word.

He pulls a chair and sits ready to field questions. On talking to him one notices that he is a man of few words.

As one puts across the first question on the reason behind signing Rudraksh he is happy to talk about it. "It's such a different subject and it is so new. I had seen 16 December and was impressed with Mani's work as he tried to do something so different. So I approached him and this project materialised. I have never done something like this before," he says.

In Rudraksh he essays the role of a spiritual healer who has a lot of powers but does not use them normally.

Did this require some preparation? "As long as Mani Shankar is there I don't need to prepare (laughs). He is superb," full of praise for his director.

The talk then revolves around the second phase of his career. Are you happy now as you are doing a lot of films now where you get to experiment diverse roles? "Yes. I am very happy. I've reached a stage where I do films that matter. I get wonderful roles to play."

Sanjay, like some of his ilk, ventured into production with Kaante. "I produced Kaante because it was different and a kind of a crossover film. Everybody discouraged us in the beginning and told us not to make an all-man film. We (Sanjay Gupta) wanted to do something different and went ahead." Their second venture is Plan, a light comedy.

Do you think crossover cinema is here to stay? "Yes." Do you think more and more people will be venturing into this kind of cinema? "I think they should."

Sanjay's faith in god and his prayers has seen him pull through tough times.

"God's grace has helped me. I am spiritual. I believe in god and I pray." Another thing Sanjay believes in is work - hard work. "I keep working and moving on," he says with cultured demeanour.

In all the crises Sanjay's family has been a pillar of support. "I am very close to the family. I am close to my father too."

The next question then veers to whether he would talk about his mother.

"She passed away very early. As long as she was there she was very loving and caring and a pure person. She left her career when she was at the peak after marriage and raised us three into wonderful children. We miss her," he says with moist eyes.

Did you ever find it difficult to carry on the lineage? "It is difficult to measure up to the parents but you have to start making your own place, having your own identity and you have to work on it."

How difficult was it? "It's OK. I realised it early and worked on myself- tried to have my own image and identity."

Acting is certainly in his blood but it is also good scripts and good characters, which motivate him to act.

His latest film is Ek aur ek gyarah (a comedy directed by David Dhawan), and forthcoming ones are Plan, LOC and another venture by Mani Shankar (which will be started next year).

Sanjay feels that the bad patch in Bollywood is because of the kind of movies being made.

"Until you don't make good movies away from the run-of-the-mill fare on professional and thinking lines one cannot expect movies to do well. People are sick of seeing dancing in Switzerland. They see so many American films which are released almost simultaneously."

Sanjay Dutt has no plans for direction. "Everything is fine now," he says winding up and one wishes him a smooth and happy life ahead.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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