Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt can imagine his popular film character Munnabhai to fight the communal Hindu-Muslim divide in India by Gandhigiri. “I wish I can do it (bridge the communal divide) and I will do it but I think we should take a ‘Munna Bhai’ to deal with this problem,” Sanjay said during the interactive session ‘Leadership Lessons from Munnabhai’ at last month’s Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2008.
“Munna Bhai is me. He is straight from his heart, emotional and a fool. But I think my father was a great Gandhian. He raised us that way. As far as the film is concerned, it definitely changed my life, especially ‘Lage Raho..’. It enlightened me,” Sanjay added, remembering his late father, veteran actor and MB Sunil Dutt. “My father always taught me to be a good human being… and I always try to be that and I want to bring peace in the world. There is so much violence happening everywhere. Why can’t we live in peace? After all we are all brothers and family.”
Questioned about dynasty dominance in the film industry and politics, Dutt said, “That constituency was very close to my father’s heart. He wanted to do so much for it. He raised it as his own child and when he suddenly passed away someone from the family had to take over and carry on the work.”
Sanjay doesn’t quite share the opinion that star’s children get an easy entry in Bollywood. He thinks it is more difficult for them because they always have to fight against being overshadowed by their fathers’ iconic images. “When I came here I wanted to create my own identity and this is why I build my body and grew my hair.”
When they talked about his experiences in jail, Sanjay joked, “I can even boast about it”. But he also expressed his hope to finally get back his freedom after more than fifteen years. “I hope the honourable judges get the time to read the 15 thousand pages of evidence and documents and all the innocent people get out of this ordeal,” he said.