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After Hirani’s whitewashed blockbuster biopic, Ram Gopal Varma promises the ‘real’ Dutt story

July 20, 2018 06:05 AM


RGV ka Sanju

After Hirani’s whitewashed blockbuster biopic, Ram Gopal Varma promises the ‘real’ Dutt story
Varma’s movie will focus only on Dutt’s arrest in connection with the 1993 blasts and for possessing an AK-56 rifle
| Vijay Tagore and Roshmila Bhattacharya
TWEETS @MumbaiMirror

Even as Rajkumar Hirani’s biopic on Sanjay Dutt – ‘Sanju’ – continues its record-breaking run at the box-office raking up over Rs 300 crore, maverick director-producer Ram Gopal Varma has begun work on another film on the actor tentatively titled ‘Sanju: The Real Story’. While Hirani’s film has been a runaway hit, it has been criticised for whitewashing Dutt’s life, choosing to skirt his arrest in connection with the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai for possessing an AK-56 rifle. Sources said Varma’s film will focus only on this part of the 58-yearold actor’s life.

When Mumbai Mirror reached out to Varma on Thursday evening, he confirmed the news with a terse -- “Yes, I am making the film.” According to a source, RGV, as Ram Gopal Varma is popularly known in the film industry, watched Hirani’s Sanju and loved it for its emotional intensity. He, however, was disappointed that it dealt with the actor’s brush with law in the backdrop of the 1993 blasts only peripherally. “That Dutt was doing drugs, was traumatised by his mother’s battle with cancer [she died just three days before the release of his first film Rocky], had multiple flings, many of them onenight stands, is all well documented,” said the source, adding that what people wanted was background information that only Sanjay would know on the controversy which dogged him for over two decades.

RGV’s film will delve into details like who were the people who threatened Dutt’s family — spurring him to acquire the rifle that got him in trouble — how the firearm was delivered to him, and how it was disposed of.

After the 1993 Mumbai blasts, Dutt accepted delivery of the rifle at his Bandra home from underworld don Abu Salem and co-accused Riyaz Siddiqui. The weapon was part of a large consignment of arms connected to the conspiracy to attack Mumbai.

In his confession, Dutt stated that he acquired the firearm after he got threat calls making him fear for the safety of his sisters Namrata and Priya.

In April 1993, the actor was arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act but was granted bail by the Supreme Court on May

5. On July 4 the next year, his bail was cancelled and Dutt was rearrested. He was in jail for almost two years till he was granted bail on October 16, 1995.

On July 31, 2007, the actor was cleared of terrorism charges, but the TADA court sentenced him to six years of rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act for illegal possession of weapons. He returned to the Arthur Road Jail and was subsequently shifted to Pune’s Yerwada Central Jail. Dutt appealed against the sentence and was granted interim bail on August 20 until such time as the TADA court provided him with a copy of its judgement. On October 22, he was back behind the bars only to be granted bail by the Supreme Court on November

27. Six years later, on March 21, 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the TADA court and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment, 18 months of which he had already served during the trial.

His review petition was rejected by the Supreme Court on May 10 and the court, three days later, turned down appeals filed by two film producers who were seeking more time for the actor so he could complete his under-production films. The following day, Dutt withdrew his mercy plea and surrendered to the Mumbai police on May 16.

“Ramu has been meeting Sanjay’s associates and cops involved with the investigation as part of his research,” the source said, adding it was too early to comment on when the film would roll.

When Mirror asked the filmmaker who would play Sanju after Ranbir Kapoor’s stellar turn in the Hirani biopic, he said: “Details later.”

Varma has directed Dutt in two films. In the filmmaker’s 1997 crime-comedy Daud, Dutt played the affable Nandu, a small-time crook who is hired to deliver a mysterious package to a notorious criminal named Pinky. In the 2012 film Department, Dutt was Inspector Mahadev Bhosale who is asked by his seniors to form a hit squad to take on the Mumbai underworld, when he puts together his team to get the job done.

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