Stranger than fiction: 'Sanju' dramatises unbelievable episodes from Sanjay Dutt’s life


Sanju faithfully depicts the life of Sanjay Dutt – it didn’t need to add additional drama; not when the star’s real-life reads more like fiction than fact. The film features all the landmark events in Dutt’s life, including the death of his mother Nargis, his drug habit and rehabilitation, his love life, his arrest in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case and subsequent conviction.

Recently director Rajkumar Hirani, who is good friends with Sanjay Dutt, declared that the star’s real life story is “unbelievable but true”. This pretty much sums up every person’s reaction to the extremes in Dutt’s life, which are larger than life and stranger than fiction…

He travelled with 1 kilo heroin in his shoes

Sanjay Dutt has never hidden his drug habit in his interviews. In the film, Sanju reveals that he first took drugs because he was angry with his father, and it soon became a habit after his mother Nargis died. His addiction has been truthfully chronicled in the film, just as openly as Dutt had once shared in a BBC interview, “I have done every drug there is. I was already on drugs when my mother was being treated for cancer. Once during shooting for Rocky (his debut film), I was so addicted that once I travelled with 1 kg heroin hidden in my shoes.” Yes, you read that right…

A love count of 308 women
It might seem a tad too implausible but, by his own admission, Dutt revealed that he had bedded 308 women “not including prostitutes”. He has married thrice – to actor Richa Sharma, followed by Rhea Pillai and then to his current wife Maanyata. And don’t forget he was linked with practically all his leading ladies. Completely at ease with his charmer image, he has even revealed that he was in three relationships at one point of time, “You need to be clever... one shouldn't know what is happening with the other,” he shared, adding, “It was nice to be loved by people. Especially by the ladies!”

He actually did ring his girlfriend’s neck with a toilet seat
The 'toilet seat' scene featuring Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor left jaws dropping and is one of the film’s most dramatic scenes. And no surprises for guessing, that again it’s all fact. Recently, Sonam revealed that the scene wherein she hysterically questions Sanju about her mangalsutra and he responds by tugging off the toilet seat and dumping it around her neck, was no fiction. “The incident actually happened,” divulged Sonam, who plays Sanju’s girlfriend in the film. High on alcohol, this incident is not something Dutt would be proud of…

His dramatic arrest from the airport
If you thought melodramatic arrests happened only in the movies, well Dutt experienced it first-hand and for real. As the actor had revealed in an interview, “When I reached Bombay airport, I was coming down from the slide and I saw 50,000 policemen pointing their guns at me as if I was Osama Bin Laden.” Once arrested, he was interrogated by the police and tried hard declaiming his innocence. “I am not a terrorist,” he repeated. The circumstantial evidence couldn’t be ignored and Dutt was convicted by a special court under the Arms Act for illegally obtaining an AK-56 automatic rifle from gangster Abu Salem and attempting to destroy it. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction by the special court and awarded a five-year jail term to him.

His grim jail term

The scene portraying Sanju’s overflowing toilet in his prison cell was deemed too extreme by the Censor Board and was snipped. None of this is an exaggeration. According to Dutt, he did not get any VIP treatment while in prison. “In fact, I was treated worse than normal inmates as everyone thought I was getting special treatment. The worse thing about jail was the food, it was terrible and not edible at all,” he had revealed at an event after his release. Every bit of his humiliation in jail is true to his real-life experiences.

His underworld connections

Dutt had been accused of getting the AK-56 rifle, thanks to his links with the Dawood Ibrahim gang. The film talks of the actor’s alleged links with the underworld but Dutt has largely played it down in real life. When the Supreme Court had asked the actor about his links with the gangster, Dutt’s lawyer said that Dutt had merely attended an event hosted by the gangster with two film producers before the 1993 blasts. It was maintained that there were no other ties with the gangster. The Mumbai Police also claimed to have a tape of the actor and others speaking with Dawood’s associate Chhota Shakeel, but the actor was not prosecuted for it.