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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

90s Reinvention! Hero or villain, 4 decades later Sanjay Dutt still enters on screen to cheers

When Sanjay Dutt walked in a white mundu and shirt in the pre-climax scene of 'Jawan' in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer for a special appearance, he was welcomed to hoots and cheers in the theatres. In the larger-than-life film, Dutt arrives in the picture in a scooter as a government official who just wants to get his job done quickly and go back to his wife for Onam celebration. His minimal screen time, however, sticks with the audience thanks to his effortless charm on screen.

It has been over four decades since Sanjay Dutt made his acting debut in 'Rocky'. The son of popular actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis, Dutt had a journey on his own in the industry much different than his star parents. Most of his personal life and career was well put together by filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani in the film 'Sanju'. The actor's role was played by Ranbir Kapoor. The movie opened to largely positive reactions. While there was criticism for whitewashing Dutt's life and personality, many also felt empathy for the actor.

Despite going to jail for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, the actor's fandom was untouched. After Dutt's initial arrest in 1993, he was first seen in the film Daud which was an average film at best. In the year 1999, he made a massive comeback with five superhit films. He began it by starring in the Mahesh Bhatt-directed film Kartoos, followed by Khoobsurat, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, Daag: The Fire, and Vaastav: The Reality, for which he won many awards, including his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor.

Entering into a new century and a new decade of his career, Dutt was seen in critical and commercial successes. From 'Pitaah' to 'Kaante' to 'Dus' to 'Munnabhai MBBS', Dutt's versatility was at its peak. Munnabhai proved to be a milestone film in his career that went on to become a part of pop culture. The film also marked the debut of filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani who went on to make a film based on Dutt's life. Hirani and Dutt have worked together in Munnabhai, Lage Rao Munnabhai, and PK.

Dutt then had people noticing him for his outright vicious character in Hrithik Roshan-starerr Agneepath. He followed up his villain act with Shamshera. While the film failed to connect with the audience, the actor stood by the film and its team by penning an open letter. While Dutt was in the scene constantly, post-Agneepath, he did not have a massive hit in his hand apart from the biopic that featured him in the post-credit song.

It was in 2022 as 'Adheera', the antagonist of the Kannada film 'KGF Chapter 2' that the actor once again made noise. He will next be seen in the Tamil film 'Leo' playing the antagonist opposite Vijay in Lokesh Kangaraj's directorial. In the coming months, Dutt will also be making his Telugu and Punjabi debut with Double iSmat and Sheran Di Kaum respectively.

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