Sanjay Dutt is looking forward to his first release after his release from prison in February 2016, Bhoomi, directed by Omung Kumar. The actor is in no mood for a conversation as his children are down with viral fever. However, he attempts to make the conversation light. “Bhoomi is a great script and I related to it as it spoke of a beautiful relationship between a father and daughter. It’s an emotional story and has a lot of middle-class values. Omung is a great director, he’s very focused, passionate and dedicated. He knows what he wants. When I was shooting for the film, it reminded me of my sister Priya’s relationship with my father,” he says.
The revenge-thriller is about a father (Sanjay Dutt) seeking vendetta from those who sexually assaulted his daughter Bhoomi (Aditi Rao Hydari). The film hit theatres on Friday. Bhoomi frightened Sanjay as he has two daughters and “it’s terrible for any girl to experience something like this. This film is a tribute to all the families whose daughters or sisters had to bear this ordeal”. It brought back memories of jail when he would come across rape convicts. “It used to anger me. I could imagine what must have happened to all the girls who had fallen prey to them,” he says.
He kept his sensibilities in jail intact by reading religious texts. “I’m a believer of Lord Shiva. I read books on Him, Lord Ganesh, Mahabharata, Ramayana. I received a lot of knowledge. I participated in plays in jail. I taught convicts voice modulations and gave them acting tips. I turned radio jockey for them,” he says.
Sanjay dotes on his children. “I don’t think I was a bad father or a bad son. I’ve tried to do the best for my children. I try to emulate my father (late actor and politician Sunil Dutt). Manyata has been a wonderful wife and has stood by me in my ups and downs. She’s the anchor of my life. I’ve never had a lonely moment. My family has stood by me through thick and thin.”
While a biopic is being made on him, he wants to make movies on great personalities. “I’m happy I’ve moved on and am doing cinema that I have been waiting to do. I can no longer play young college roles, and mature roles are being written for me. I’d like to do something on freedom fighters, especially the 21 Sardar soldiers of the British Indian Army who fought the battles of 1820, the Battle of Saragarhi.”
He wants his children to watch his biopic to see the kind of life he has led.
“I’m doing Omung’s The Good Maharaja, which is based on the life of Maharaja Jam Sahib Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji. Then there’s director Aarambh’s Malang, Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Aur Gangster 3, and Torbaaz.”
He has some familial advice for the youth. “Always be in touch with your parents. I’ve made mistakes, I spent less time with my family. When you don’t communicate with your family, you develop a communication gap, which leads to trouble. I lost my mother (actress Nargis) very early in life. I couldn’t spend time with her. I was never scared of my father, I was in awe of him. I could never raise my eyes and look at him, so I could not open up to him. Parents can stop their children from going wayward without being strict with them.”