It has all the hallmarks of a gripping Bollywood political thriller — a bad boy turns good; adoring crowds and triumphal visits, a family rift played on the bigger stage of politics, a political divide and a Deus ex Machina in the form of an aging ex-PM. It’s Sanjay Dutt in his latest role of a wild young rebel who grows into a serious politician with a social conscience.
Since Sanjay’s decision to stand for the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, he must be turning half a thought to the hope that Aamir Khan might portray him in his biopic after it’s all over. It’s still not entirely clear that he will context Lucknow as that depends on whether former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee also decides to stand there: “Atalji has been my prime minister,” explains Sanjay, “He is a very, very senior leader who all of us respect. That’s not how I have been raised — to stand opposite any one who’s senior.”
However, he will stand somewhere and this has caused a rift with his sister Priya, a Congress Party MP. Sanjay argues, however, that any political rift has to be kept in context: “I think she respects my decision like I respect hers,” he says, “I am always there for her. If she tells me, ‘Bhaiyya, you have to be there’, I will be there 100 per cent. It’s vice-versa and that’s the truth.”
But as one of the best-loved actors in Bollywood, won’t Sanjay be disappointing his fans if he does an Arnie and drifts into politics? “It’s not that I am going to leave my acting career and just jump into politics,” he assures, “I know I will have to balance it in a right way. I’ll have to spend a lot of time in the constituency. I’ll have to cut my work (in films) but it does not means I will have to leave it. I will choose my movies and work in the right films.”