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When Sunil Dutt Shared Screen Space With Sanjay Dutt

After Mother India when Sunil  Dutt married  Nargis, she  was seen with him on screen only once, and that too in a one-shot appearance in Yaadein, the 1964 film that Sunil Dutt directed. With his  son Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Dutt  was seen  in 4 films , and  at least one  of them will surprise  you

1.     Reshma  Aur Shera(1971) : Sanjay  Dutt  was all of  11 when he  made an  appearance alongside his  father  Sunil Dutt in this legendary  love story  where Dutt Saab played Shera to Waheeda Rehman’s Reshma. Junior Dutt  joined the cast  on his own  insistence. They were shooting  a Qawwalli  number  Zaalim meri sharaab when  little Dutt  dropped in at  the  location to  meet his  Papa.  When he  saw  what was being shot little Sanju  was excited. He  joined  the Qawwalli singers  on camera  and that’s  how Sanjay Dutt made his  unplanned  screen  debut. Recalled Sanjay Dutt, “I  was  too young  to  understand  what was  going on. I am still learning.”

2.     Rocky(1981): When  Sanjay Dutt made his debut as  a leading man, Dutt Saab chose Raakhee Gulzar to  play  Sanjay’s mother. Raakhee  and  Sunil Dutt shared a  warm  rapport from the time  she  played a small but significant role  in  Reshma Aur Shera. For  the father’s role  Dutt Saab  wanted  another actor. He felt casting himself would be  too gimmicky. But  Nargijis  would hear none  of  it. “How could anyone  else play our son’s father? Who would accept  any other actor in that role?”  Finally Dutt Saab stepped into his  son’s father’s  role  in Rocky , although sadly  father and  son did  not  have any scenes together. “I made my  entry into the   film after  my dad’s character  died.”

3.     Kshatriya (1993):  This epic story  of Rajputana valour  finally brought  father and  son Dutt together on the   70 mm screen . They were a solid pair playing against  Dharmendra and Sunny Deol who played father and son too. Recalling the  epic casting  director J P Dutta says, “It was not easy   getting them  together . Dutt Saab  wanted  to   avoid  comparisons  with his  son.But finally he  agreed. The result  was  dynamite.  Both Sunil Dutt and Sanju have a powerful screen presence individually. When they came  together  the  frames exploded.”

4.     Munnabhai MBBS(2003):  Who was  to know  this would be  Sunil Dutt’s last screen  appearance? Playing Munnabhai’s upright father  Hari  Prasad Sharma came easily  to Dutt Saab. An ideologue,a  man of principles  with  a heart  soft and gentle contrary to the cold hearted dacoits he  repeatedly  played  in  the 1970s  and  80s.  Recalling  the  experience  of  playing his father’s son one last time  Sanjay Dutt told me, “Initially when I had to face the camera with him for Munnabhai I felt  a certain  awkwardness, you know how it is. But Dad is so cool. Before we shot together he called me to his makeup van and helped me  chill out.He  told me  to not  think of  our  relationship but  of  two actors  doing their jobs.  That did it.I learnt  all the  right values from my Dad. But I am sorry to say I couldn’t  implement  all of them.”

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