Sanjay Dutt, like Amitabh Bacchan, represents the angry man. While Amitabh as an angry man has mellowed into a contented grandfather, and a perennial showman, Sanjay Dutt presents a different kind of ambivalence and luminosity. TV is “organizing” his defense in fact opened up the many facets of the man.
He begins as a confused child, unable to understand the legendary status of his parents. His early shorts present him as a confused kid, already called upon to play, in fact to enact his childhood as a cameo role.
He responds Bollywood style to the social challenge by turning into a bully from a B grade movie. He looks oversize, over grown, brash, adolescent, a lout from a public school called Sanawar. He hammered his way through life long before hammered his way through movies. TV captures it in snippets. He was not a star.
He first was a huge Neanderthal adolescent who was puzzled by his own presence. He was not larger than life, he was merely loud. His identity fit as the legendary son of Nargis and Sunil merely made it a Pandora box of problems. He should have been an ordinary child instead of a son of two MPs who successfully combined film and politics and provided for a creative reciprocity between Hinduism and Islam. For Sanjay identity was an affliction like measles.
He never solved it. If Bollywood created drama of domesticity, Mumbai, the Bombay created the wider public drama with political characters like Dawood Ibrahim and Bal Thackeray. Sunil Dutt’s open style of politics must have received frequent threats from fundamental forces. Sunil might have retained his equanimity under pressure but when the Bombay blast happened, Sanjay as a trigger happy kid must have been pardoned. Priya dutt, his sister explains on TV,” those were confused times of threat, suspicion and terror.”
For a brash adolescent, who saw masculinity in a muscular sense, the only answer was to reach for guns. He wanted an armory of weapons as a wall of protection. One does not quite know what went on in his adolescent mind, but the guns he procured would have done a James Bond proud.
The fatal irony was that the arms he acquired were part of a consignment Dawood had smuggled in before the blast. In that moment of turmoil Sanjay becomes guilty in three ways: for the company he kept, for the arms he acquired and for the crime and anxiety.
The Bombay blast must have created an end of the world feeling and it became literally that as Sanjay Dutt faced prosecution for over twenty years. Time, the delay in time, has been more ruthless than the verdict. As one watches the flash backs, one realized that a teenager is charged for illegal possession of arms but the person who is sentenced is a large beefy middle-aged man attempting to live a normal life with a wife and three children.
Bollywood also stands to lose as Sanjay is neck deep in over half a dozen films. The drama cannot end there with top congress politicians joining the major stars of Bollywood to write to the president for clemency. In fact it might open the doors to help other Muslims who have been harshly sentenced. As a TV watched, one is not questioning the rule of law.
What one is exploring is the biography and sociology which accompanies law. Dutt’s arrest like a Bollywood film leaves you caught between law and sentiment, between punishment and pity. TV by creating a scrap book of flashbacks has poignantly elaborated the story one waits the Sanjay Dutt story unfolds like a gripping serial.