If there is a Bollywood star who justifies the term – man with the macabre, it is none other than the original bad boy of Bollywood, Sanjay Dutt. He is one of the few original ‘star kids’ who justified their star-studded launch with their talent.
Launched by his father Sunil Dutt in Rocky (1981), Sanju baba as he is fondly known, established himself as a romantic hero both on and off-screen. However, his superhit debut was followed by a string of duds at the box office. It wasn’t until 1991 when Saajan’s success made Sanjay a romantic star. The film also starred Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit. The love triangle enticed the audience and its music is still considered one of the best in Bollywood. Post his newfound success, Dutt’s career went to a new high with Subhash Ghai’s Khalnayak. Sanjay made immense impact by playing the role of the antagonist who was bad not by circumstances but by nature. This role can be counted as one of the best works of Sanjay Dutt.
Post this movie, Sanjay Dutt was embroiled in major controversies which threatened to destroy his career. His movies started seeing a slump and he was almost written off. The TADA case took a heavy toll on his reputation. Despite all the controversy surrounding him, Sanjay gave the glimpse of his brilliance in films like Kaante.
Sanjay made a marvelous comeback as gangster Raghu in Mahesh Manjrekar’s Vaastav in 1999. The film not only won him accolades but also best actor award at Filmfare and IIFA. His second comeback can be credited to Rajkumar Hirani who casted him in Munna Bhai MBBS. The role was first offered to Shah Rukh Khan but he recommended Sanjay Dutt. Sanjay was loved by the audience as the comical gangster and they gave him a huge ‘jadu ki jhappi’. The film was Sanjay’s last film with Sunil Dutt.
Three years later Hirani returned with its sequel Lage Raho Munna Bhai which cemented Sanjay’s position as a comic star, and it is also remembered for promoting Gandhigiri among the youth. Sanjay went on to star in many box office hits such as Dhamaal, Shoot Out At Lokhandwala, etc. He even donned the role of antagonist in the Agneepath remake.
2018 saw the blockbuster success of Sanjay Dutt biopic, Sanju where Ranbir Kapoor played his real-life character. Critics felt that this film was made to whitewash Dutt’s image. 2019 has been a good year for Sanjay Dutt with films like Panipat, Kalank and Prassthanam. 2020 looks even better where he is reuniting with Pooja Bhatt for Alia Bhatt and Aditya Roy Kapoor-starrer Sadak 2. He will also be seen in Torbaaz, KGF Chapter 2 and Bhuj: The Pride of India.