When Nargis’s voice saved her darling son, Sanjay Dutt even after death


Nargis Dutt was one of the most luminous actresses to have graced the silver screen. Besides being unforgettable for a gamut of films, including her iconic role in and as Mother India, she was also a loyal wife, a devoted mother and a friend to all in need. Her premature death due to cancer on May 3, 1981, perhaps took its harshest toll on her son, Sanjay Dutt. She had passed away just before the release of his debut film, Rocky.

Dutt had been struggling with serious issues at the time including severe drug addiction. He was simply unable to cope with the loss of his beloved mother and had been incapable of dealing with her demise. For three long years, his feelings lay dammed until one fateful day… Sanju, as he is fondly called by all, was at a rehab centre in the USA. His father Sunil Dutt had sent him a bunch of audio tapes. Not knowing what they contained, he simply pressed the play button. And that was the moment that changed his life…

Immediately his darling mother’s voice filled the room. She was weak and in pain but she spoke on, sharing her dreams for her adored son. She advised him to keep his humility and his character. “Never show off. Always be humble and always respect the elders. That is the thing that is going to take you far. And that is going to give you strength in your work,” she encouraged.

These recordings made by Nargis in her final days came a bolt from the blue, reaching out like a bridge to her troubled son. Sanju reveals that in that moment he burst out crying. He couldn’t stop. The weeping and sobbing continued for four full days. All his pent-up grief, rage and hurt poured out, as he realised the depth of his mother’s love and care. “Her voice and those tapes changed everything in my life,” he later shared.

Nargis reached out a healing hand to her son… long after her death.