Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sunil Dutt

Sunil Dutt actor-minister passed away on Wednesday May 25th in Bombay, India of a heart attack. He was 75 and represented my constituency in Bombay as a Lok Sabha MP. Though I am not a big fan of Sunil Dutt movies, the role that I will always remember him by will be ‘Bhola’ in Padosan, one of India’s best made original comedy film. Despite such stalwarts like Mehmood, Om Prakash and Kishore Kumar, Sunil Dutt held his own very well and one cannot think about better parody by anyone in a comedy role. Indian comedy is mostly slapstick and loud, but Sunil Dutt played this character with the perfect mix of ‘lost puppy’ ambivalence demeanor and the right touch of buffoonery to play the perfect foil for Kishore Kumar/Mehmood’s sometimes ‘over the top’ but absolutely hilarious shenanigans. Despite being the romantic lead in the movie, he stayed true to the character he played in the movie, cropping his hair pretty short and dressing up in loose pajamas, geeky shirts and an oversized forest rangers hat. Very few lead actors in India, contemporary or vintage, will risk experimentations with their image, in their movies to ‘get into character’. This is my all time favorite Hindi comedy, and despite having watched it over a dozen times, I never am bored to watch a rerun of this classic.

An incident that stands out in my mind is watching Sunil Dutt in 1980, at a temple near our house in Bombay, direct his son Sanjay Dutt in his first movie ‘Rocky’. Sanjay Dutt, after the shoot, with the indifference of his age and youthful arrogance, perched himself on the hood of a car parked nearby, while Sunil Dutt was reviewing the shot with his technicians. After the shot had been reviewed, Sunil Dutt turned around and saw his son sitting on the hood of the car. He walked over to Dutt Jr. and sternly admonished him to get off the car and was overheard telling him ‘Chalo gaadi se neeche utro. Yeh gaadi tumhari baap ki nahin hai.’ (Get down from the car. It doesn’t belong to your father). Sanjay Dutt sulked and sheepishly climbed down from the hood of the car. Says a lot about a man a how he perceives, values and respects others around him.

I’ve also heard from friends living in the Bandra area the social work that he had done for the slum dwellers in Bombay. Above and beyond everything, his son Sanjay Dutt, owes his life, career and all his trappings to his father. I cannot recollect any father do so much for his son as Sunil Dutt did for Sanjay Dutt when he was jailed for his role in the Bombay bomb blasts. Sunil Dutt seemed to be a genuine and sincere human being, a good husband, a good father and a good MP to his constituents. Sunil Dutt, as they would say in Brooklyn, was good people.


Blogger Anshul said...

Some more facts on Sunil Dutt...

His motto: Boond boond se sagar banta hai (Little drops make an ocean). He would be disturbed by the thought that while he luxuriated in an air-conditioned house, a few thousand feet away, people lived in slums and struggled for basic amenities.

Sunil Dutt wasn't a matinee idol who stood apart from the crowds. He stood with the common man, shoulder to shoulder.

He said once, "When I go away, people should say a decent man has gone away." And, his wish has been fulfilled. Amply.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

chek a diffrent kind of obituary to Sunil Dutt, by Vir Sanghvi,00300001.htm

4:26 PM  

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