The serial blast in Mumbai (then Bombay) was one of the most horrific incidents of all time. It was the first large-scale terrorist attack in India, that too in a bustling (and financially the most important) city. That is the time the city earned its reputation of resilience.
Then: The most shocking accused individual was Sanjay Dutt. Then a very, very big star, he had crores riding on him when he was first imprisoned in the Arthur Road jail. Subhash Ghai, who was making Trimurti at that time earned ire of the film folk and film journalists by replacing Dutt with Anil Kapoor. With all the noise about Sanju being “baba” and oh-so-lovable people wanted to believe that he was innocent.
Explanations and theories abounded that he was “misguided” and “liked to play with danger” but didn’t really know what he was doing.
And he walked out of prison (unlike most other accused). He made movies again. And shamelessly lapped up the adulation.
Interim: Dutt married Manyata. Manyata, a no one from nowhere. Though he was aging, Dutt who was at one time involved with Madhuri Dixit (in her heydays) and the Rhea Pillai was clearly into a different “type” of woman. So this marriage was extremely strange (to say the least). Rather quickly they went in for IVF and had twins to complete the happy family picture. Even more strange because after Trishala with wife Richa, Dutt showed no interest in kids. Even with Trishala he wasn’t exactly the most involved father.
When the case was being fought, Dutt’s lawyers made an appeal for leniency for Dutt because he had little children who needed their father. Ah ha!
This reason is often used effectively by lawyers. It is even possible and probable that the Dutt wedding and paternity happened on their advise. Whether this carried any weight in the final judgement is conjucture, but the ploy was pretty disgusting.
Now: Finally the judgement on the Bombay Blasts case came. Sanjay Dutt was found guilty. Still a star – especially after Agneepath – he, in all probability imagined that he’d walk free again.
Thankfully, the law judges only on evidence. And all evidence (despite a lot being suppressed – allegedly the police had gathered cartloads of evidence against Dutt. So much so that he was to be booked under TADA.) clearly shouted “guilty”.
A politician asked that the sentence be reconsidered because Dutt was “immature” at that time. Immature? At 33? But by then he was mature enough to have been married and father a child. He was mature enough to have been involved with multiple women. He was mature enough to act in movies and have a huge fan base that looked up to him. He was mature enough to have multiple crores invested in him. He was mature enough to legally drink. Mature enough to legally drive. Mature enough to vote. Mature enough to hobnob with criminal elements in the world. Mature enough for the said elements to trust him to be their conduit. Mature enough to take delivery and hide arms. Mature enough to keep the secret. Mature enough to distribute them to the people they were meant for. So what exactly was “immature” about him?
Though his offence is so grave, it is rumoured that Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan have offered all possible support to Sanjay Dutt – from completing his movies to working in any movie that his production house makes to helping Manyata run the production house.
Present: Dutt has self-pityingly gone on record to complain that he feels betrayed by the film industry.
The sheer audacity of this individual is amazing. He betrayed the country. The whole country! He harboured arms meant to destabilize the financial capital of India. He was a conduit in distributing the same. And he is betrayed?!
A star of his stature should have had better morals, ethics and ideals. A man to whom the country had given so much, owed the country safety not tragedy. And he feels betrayed?!
He is able to sleep peacefully. Have a family. Face the world. He has no remorse or guilt about what he did. He actually expects to be forgiven? He has the gall to go back into the court with a plea – which thankfully has been dismissed.
Sanjay Dutt is as much as terrorist as those who masterminded the operation. He is as guilty as each person who reached the bombs to their destination. He is in fact, more guilty than any of those people because he abused the love and power that society had bestowed on him. The position of privilege that he has makes his crime more heinous. His position does not make him eligible for a lesser punishment, it makes him deserving of much greater punishment.
Image Source: IANS