You can never write off Sanjay Dutt, every time you get a sense he is down and out, he comes back with a bang. He did that some years ago with his hugely successful Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai, and he was back again with his innocuous war cry ‘All The Best’. The film was one of the highest grossers of last year and went on to prove that Sanju′s charisma is intact, his popularity undiminished. “It′s all the blessings of my elders and well-wishers,” he says softly. And also his peers in the industry, Sanju has unparalleled goodwill in this industry. Could that be because when other actors get into the game of upmanship, Sanjay has never harped on his successes? “I have never been like that man,” he says simply. “People have been very kind and I have been able to do some good work here. It′s the kind of work I will be proud of. Of course there have been some disasters too,” he laughs. “But I am happy with my journey here. No matter how much I′d like to compare my track record with anybody else′s it can′t be done, so what′s the point? I believe everybody should be happy in their place,” he says wisely.
Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai elevated Sanjay Dutts career to new heights
What makes Sanju so calm today, we wonder. After all he is the same man known for his on-the-edge lifestyle. “There is a time for everything,” he explains. “I have grown out of that. When you are younger maybe, or have less responsibilities or in a different place in life where you want to take chances, or risks, you do certain things. But then you move on, and I have done a lot of growing up in the last years,” he admits. And it also has to do with his wife Manyata who is said to be the calming influence in his life. Has she changed his life for better then? “Absolutely,” he says. “Manyata has definitely changed my life for the better. It′s amazing what kind of influence just one person can have in your life. And it happened at the right time for me, like it was meant to be. And everything falls into place at that point. Manyata makes me happy and completes my life in every which way. If I am at peace today, it has to do a lot with her. I am in a much better place in life because of her,” he gushes. “And I want to make her happy,” he smiles, much in love.
What the success of ‘All The Best’ has done is taken the focus away from his short but eventful stint in politics, which didn′t go down too well. “Well, I have always been an actor and I will always be,” he claims. “I wanted to enter politics to serve all those people who have stood by me in my difficult times and I wanted to make that difference. And I will try and do that one way or another, politics or not,” he declares. Does he feel that his political sojourn has left a bad taste in his mouth after the acrimonious end to his association with his political party? “I like to look at positivity around me and brighter side of life. I had to take a stand at the point that I did because I couldn′t just sit quietly and watch the injustice meted out to Amar Singh. Amar Singh is like family to me, he is more than my brother to me, and I will always be by his side. That′s what I did and I will do that again if I have to,” he adds.
There was a time last year when there was a talk of Dutt bidding goodbye to Bollywood for his political career. Did Sanjay have to convince makers that he wasn′t going anywhere when he came back? He is signing films left, right and centre right now; is that in a bid to prove that he is still around and serious about his film career? “Like I said earlier, I am an actor first and I will always be,” he explains. “All the love I have received from the people all over the country is because they have connected with my through my films. I just wanted to give something back to those people. There was never any need to explain to anyone that I was stepping away from movies. I was doing films then, I am doing films now,” he states. “And there is no need to sign too many films to prove anything to anyone. Do you think at this stage of my career I am going to be thinking about what I need to do to prove a point to someone? I am happy that I am getting interesting work even today, and that′s what I want to do now. I am not in any kind of race, neither am I in a hurry to sign too many films. I am right here and not going anywhere,” he declares.
Things might be going his way now on, but what happens to his past films which have faced indefinite delays; take Rahul Dholakia′s ‘Lamhaa’ or ‘Chatur Singh Two Star’ for example. “There are lots of things that are behind a film going to the box-office,” he says rationally. “A lot of films have been delayed last year because of the kind of atmosphere we were in then. Things are changing for the better and when the time is right, things will start rolling again for these movies too,” he says positively. And what about the next installment of ‘Munnabhai’ series? Talk is that Sanju is likely to be replaced by a younger actor in the coming future? “It′s a question you will have to ask Raju and Vinod (director and producer of the film),” he says. “They genuinely are the best people to answer it. For me it′s a very special film because of several reasons, but mainly also because I could act with my dad in the movie. The film has given me a lot and will always be special to me. And I have a very good personal relationship with Vinod Chopra, I have worked with him from ‘Mission Kashmir’ to ‘Eklavya’ and I am sure we will continue to work together in the future. I love working with him, and I assume he likes working with me too,” he concludes tongue-in-cheek. Que sera sera is the new mantra for Sanjay and it seems to be working.