He hardly sleeps these nights. But Sanjay Dutt just loves it because there are two reasons for his sleeplessness – his month-and-a-half young twins Shahraan and Iqra. And being a good husband, he won’t let his wife do all the work alone. “I attend to one baby, while my wife Maanayata attends to the other. I change the diapers, clean the poop, feed them, burp them, do everything that most hands-on-fathers do. Bringing up babies is a different high… and I must confess I’m enjoying it.” Compared to his first child Trishala, he experiences fatherhood in a different way this time as, due to his first wife Richa’s brain tumor, Trishala grew up in the United States. “So I didn’t get the pleasure of raising a child, but now, I will enjoy it. I am trying everything to be a good father. It’s a great feeling to become a father and take care of them. I am really enjoying it.”
Sanju reveals that it was Maanayata who chose the unusual names for the twins. “There were a lot of suggestions, which Maanya and I discussed. But she was keen on these Persian names. Iqra means the most learned and Shahraan is a royal warrior,” he says. He spends every free minute with his babies, especially as he knows that two month-long outdoor schedules are lying ahead of him and he’ll miss his babies when he’ll be abroad. “I’m worried about not being able to see my kids for two months, when I go to Hong Kong for Double Dhamaal and then to Bangkok for Rascals,” he confesses and is happy about the advantage of shooting in Mehboob studio in Bandra right now as this gives him the chance to go home for lunch every day and be with his kids.
It’s his maiden home production Rascals with Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal and Kangna Ranaut he’s working on at the moment together with his friend and director David Dhawan. Talking about his production house, Sanju states, “The idea is to make absolute entertainers…total commercial fare”. That’s why his next home production after Rascals will be Soham Shah’s remake of Satte Pe Satta, in association with Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision. “Yes, I am producing the film and also playing the role of Amitabh Bachchan in the film. It is a challenge, and I hope I do justice to the role. But now it’s too early to talk about the project because the star cast is not yet finalized.”
Looking at his two home productions plus Indra Kumar’s Double Dhamaal, not to forget Anees Bazmee’s No Problem which releases this Friday, one might think that Sanju nowadays is completely focussing on comedy. “I’m happy to be doing my share of comic capers,” he says. “I’ve been in the comedy action genre since Thanedaar (1990). The success of films like All The Best, Dabangg and Golmaal 3 is proof that the audience wants to be entertained.” But being “one of the most underrated actors of his time”, as the TOI recently called the 51-year-old rock star, Sanju is still searching for changes and challenges as he has always done during his 30 years in the industry. “I’m balancing the light-hearted stuff with Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Power and Karan Johar’s Agneepath, where I play a suave villain. I shared a very deep bond with Yash Johar, Karan’s father… and I’m happy that Dharma Productions and I are coming together again.”
Without doubt, Sanju is still a very sought-after actor whose position is beyond ups and downs at the Box Office. At the same time he is a very happy family man, and the media’s pot-shots at his private life every now and then don’t seem to affect him very much. “I don’t react much to the occasional media interpretation of how Maanayata wears the pants at home, or how she’s overtly ambitious, simply because I’m the one who is married to her, right? I can tell you, Maana doesn’t interfere in my career. She’s got the babies to look after”, he laughs and also rubbishes the rumours that he had called the press to write about the Rollys Royce he gifted to his wife. “It was the idea of the car showroom guys to include the media in this car tamasha. Left to myself, I couldn’t be bothered. I’ve owned the best cars for the last 30 years.”
So No Problem everywhere – even on screen as Anees Bazmee’s comedy will hit the theatres this Friday. “It’s a typical Anees Bazmee film. He’s a great writer, so we have some fantastic dialogue and one-liners,” he says and tells about the fun he and Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna and Paresh Rawal had while shooting for No Problem and working with Bazmee. “Anees has given superb films like No Entry and Welcome. I remember I have laughed so much while watching those films. He is a talented director, so it was a pleasure working with him.” And he’d love to work with him again and already suggested the film title Please to him . “After No Problem, Anees also has Thank you. So why not Please? If he comes up with a suitable script, I just might produce it,” he says.
Sanju admits that he is excited about No Problem. “I have done many comedy films, but No Problem is special.”