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Take Dutt

Veteran actor Sunil Dutt plays his new role as Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs with aplomb.


THOUGH IN Munnabhai MBBS, Sanjay Dutt, walked away with all the laurels, it was dad Sunil Dutt's cameo role that formed the fulcrum of the story and the film became the biggest blockbuster of 2003. But then, bogged down in his new role as Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, the senior Dutt claims he has little time even to talk to his "only beta" over the phone; let alone don the grease paint again.

Still remembered for his sterling performances in films such as Sujatha, Waqt, Milan, Gumrah and Padosan, the actor-turned-minister appears to have taken his new job, rather seriously.

"I now have the responsibility of channelling the country's youth into becoming the most formidable force in the world. So where is the question of doing films?" he asks. "I agreed to do Munnabhai... as it was a very small role. Otherwise, politics is a serious job and you need to devote 100 per cent attention," he insists.

Sitting in New Delhi, does he get time to meet son Sanjay? "No way, yaar, I do not get time to speak to him even over the mobile. He is busy with his schedules and I have my own hectic work," says the senior Dutt, adding that he does not have time to watch movies even once in a while.

Personal loss

Many acknowledge that the death of wife Nargis was the biggest personal loss to him, so much so he never entertained the idea of marrying again. The prolonged incarceration of son Sanjay under the infamous, but now repealed TADA, was also a blow to him. But Sunil Dutt seemed to have taken the setbacks in his stride.

As he puts it philosophically, "Life has to be dynamic. There is nothing like personal loss, gain or sufferings. Everybody has got a role to play in life. One has to fulfil it to the maximum," he says.

"The smiles on the face of the victims of the tsunami tragedy when the relief material was being distributed in my presence was the happiest moment in my life, " he says. It is only when you ameliorate the sufferings of your fellow beings, does your life's mission get fulfilled, he insists.

Youth power

About 40 per cent of the country's population comprises the youth. "My mission is to ensure that this youth power which has got so much talent is converted into a potent force. I also want to see India as a major force in the world's sports arena," he says, like an archetypal politician.

Still retaining his youthful exuberance, but refusing to divulge his age, he says with a wink, "I am just 25 years old! Do you have any doubts about it?"

And the yesteryear actor seemed to justify the arguments, as scores of people were seen jostling and trying to get closer for his autograph.

R. BALAJI

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