Namrata Shirodkar happily married to Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu, once had a blooming career in Bollywood.
And the only co-star she recalls with wistful affection is Sanjay Dutt. They did Dutt’s best film Vaastav and then its sequel Hathyar together.
Namrata brightens up when she speaks of Dutt. “Is he really 60 now? How time flies! I always recall Sanju as a child-man , very gentle and vulnerable. I was and I am extremely fond of him. He is one of my favourite co-stars.”
In her 7-year Bollywood career Namrata didn’t socialize with any of her co-stars. “The camaraderie and warmth were restricted to the sets. It started at 9 am and ended at 6 pm. But I did have a terrific rapport withSanjay. I recall him as a warm chivalrous and protective co-star. Whenever we were shooting in crowds he would look after me and my female team .He’d ensure the crowds didn’t come too close .I don’t remember any other co-star, or for that matter anyone from the cast or crew, being so concerned about my safety.”
So safe and comfortable did Namrata feel with Dutt that he was the first and only co-star who got to know about her relationship with Mahesh Babu.
Recalls Namrata, “I did confide in Sanju about Mahesh. He would pull my leg endlessly about it and he would speak in riddles about Mahesh in front of the unit.”
Says Namrata fondly, “I think he is highly misunderstood by a lot of people around him. Sanju is the kind of friend who will stand with you at 3 am.”