The esteemed film actor who has had multiple life’s in movies and one of the few actors who can claim to have hits in Indian cinema in almost every decade since the 80s.
The recent supreme court verdict that said he has to spend about 3 and half years in jail has let some media and people uproar. There are people on both sides of the story with his cine friends and fans saying he should be pardoned while the other intellectual community saying, he deserves more tougher punishment and should suffer the same as others involved in the case.
When the verdict came out, I was on the side of the intellectuals and was thinking he deserved more but reading this lengthy article on Tehelka made me re-remember the 80s and the 90s one more time. It was the time when our cine stars like Anil Kapoor used to watch cricket match with Dawood Ibrahim, it was the time when the underworld used to finance most of the Hindi movies, it was the time when our A-class cine actresses used to perform shows for the underworld dons in Dubai and other places. It was time before the economy was opened up. It was a time when it was fashionable to pose with underworld dons and share drinks with them. In short, the nexus between Bollywood and underworld was real tight. Needless to say most of these came about right after the blasts of 1993 and before that it was all hunky-dory.
What I said above is the history, now to the facts. Sunil Dutt (Sanjay’s father) was hated for doing relief work for the Muslim community (we know who they were). If the Tehelka article is to be believed Sunil Dutt’s own party members distanced him. The family was getting threatening calls. Now the choice came about, should the junior Dutt have trusted the Indian police to protect himself an the family against a mob attack or try and do something on his own. He went the other way on his own. His possession of assault rifles and grenades made me think he is off to a war or something but that is a useful way to protect against a mob attack (assuming he knew how to use it).
Another problem is the case has run for nearly 20 years and as the saying goes “justice delayed is justice denied”. It is kind of weird to impose a sentence on a crime like this (charge of possessing and destroying an assault rifle, never fired or killed anybody) that was committed 20 years ago, they could have let all the people off with fines and community services. Another problem with this long gap is it removes an entire generation that lived the times and understood what it was like and adds a generation that has no understanding of the whole issue in hand.
All the above said, I am not advocating that anybody should be above the law. My points of view are only for this case.