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Film fraternity stands by Sanjay Dutt

The actor, convicted under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, has about Dh68 million riding on him.

Image Credit: IANS
Sanjay Dutt has been convicted un der the Arms Act for possession of an AK 56 and a 9mm pistol
Tabloid on Saturday

An estimated Rs100 crore (Dh68 million) is riding on Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, who faces jail again after the Supreme Court Thursday upheld his conviction under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, industry insiders said.

The 53-year-old, who has films such as the Zanjeer remake, Policegiri, Munna Bhai 3 and P.K. in the works, was charged with illegal possession of arms and sentenced to six years in jail in 2007. The Supreme Court has now handed him a reduced term of five years.

Dutt, who has already served 18 months of his sentence, has been given four weeks to surrender.

“Dutt’s upcoming films Policegiri and Zanjeer might get affected as some portions are still left to shoot... P.K. is scheduled for release next year. Besides P.K. is more of Aamir Khan’s film. I would say not more than Rs100 crore is at stake,” trade analyst Komal Nahata said.

Distributor Rajesh Thadani agreed. “Approximately Rs100 crore to Rs120 crore is at stake.

“The films, which are midway, will be affected. But it eventually depends on what the makers plan to do, and a lot also depends on how much time Dutt goes in (the jail) for. Some amount of loss is bound to happen,” he added.

Dutt has been entertaining moviegoers for over three decades. Last seen in Zilla Ghaziabad in February, he has already wrapped shooting for his part as Sher Khan in the remake of Zanjeer, which has a budget of Rs50 crore.

“We wrapped up shooting all his scenes just four days back,” Amit Mehra, the film’s producer, said, adding that “this news has came as a shock and is very heartbreaking”.

“I can’t imagine this as he is such a wonderful human being and an amazing person,” he added.

Several members of the film fraternity, including Karan Johar, Mahesh Bhatt, Vishal Dadlani and Pritish Nandy, took to Twitter to share their views on the conviction of the actor

“I am truly shattered to hear of Sanju’s sentence... the nicest guy I have known just doesn’t deserve this. My heart goes out to him,” posted Karan Johar, who is producing one of Dutt’s films titled Ungli.

The news of his conviction has especially hit those with whom he shares a close bond, which goes beyond business.

Policegiri producer T.P. Aggarwal said: “We have completed 95 per cent of the film and just 12 to 15 days of shoot is left. The budget for the film should be around Rs.25 crore, but I am not bothered about the film, I am only worried about Sanjay Dutt.”

Dutt also has a part to play in Rajkumar Hirani’s P.K., which is said to have been made in a budget of around Rs50 crore. The actor’s part, said to be a cameo, has been closely guarded.

On the endorsement front, Dutt promotes a jewellery brand with wife Manyata.

The actor was charged with being in possession of an AK-56 rifle and a 9mm pistol. The 1993 serial blasts that ripped through India’s financial capital killed 257 people and injured more than 700.