Friday, March 30, 2018

Book Review: Sanjay Dutt by Yasser Usman

Sanjay Dutt by Yasser Usman is published by Juggernaut Books --- and the tagline of this biography goes as --- The Crazy Untold Story of Bollywood's BAD BOY

Yes, the book says, 'Before there was Salman Khan, there was Sanjay Dutt.'

When the book arrived, it reminded me of my school/college days when I used to read film magazines with great interest. I'm not that interested now, however, while reading this book, I realized that Indian cinema still interests me. Even though Sanjay Dutt is not my favourite hero, I liked reading this book. He was indeed a crazy man!

'When you look back upon your life, what is it that you would like to change?'

'Kuchh nahin! Given a chance, I would like to live the same life again.'

And, this is insane because this book reveals that Sanjay Dutt's life is full of blunders. 

Quoting the book ---

'Sanjay Dutt was never a great actor in the traditional sense. Yes, he was good at projecting raw primal emotions but in a career spanning more than a hundred films, Sanjay only has around ten noteworthy movies, a poor average by any standards. Then what did people see in him?'

While reading these lines, I remembered an incident. When Sanjay Dutt got arrested for his involvement in 1993 Mumbai bomb blast, a die hard Sanjay Dutt fan tried to defend him. I was still in school, and I did like him in Saajan, but I was so surprised and even argued. 

True, those who loved him, loved him truly.

As the author quotes Shatrughan Sinha ---

When he was alleged that Sanjay knew beforehand about terrorists planning to blow up the Bombay Stock Exchange, Shatrughan Sinha retorted, 'Don't be ridiculous. He doesn't even know what a stock exchange is!'

Sanjay Dutt has lived his life under the protective shadow of  naivety and childishness. The words foolish, stupid, naive have been used (for Sanjay, by several film personalities) so many times that it annoyed me. You can't be naive or childish at the age of 35-40!

This book covers Sanjay Dutt's whole life (till date). His arrogant, stubborn childhood, careless adolescence, and his irresponsible, terribly irresponsible youth (Plus adulthood). It briefly tells the love story of Nargis and Sunil Dutt. It tells about Sanjay's mother's (painfully) unconditional love and patience; his father's undying support and efforts to protect him. About his addiction, about his love affairs, his connection with underworld, his terrible mistakes --- everything!

It has some unseen pictures plus a list of several resources.

'There's old saying about addicts: the addict loves his addiction more than he loves anything or anyone else.'

And, this saying truly reflects in the chapter : Rehab.

'I don't want to come back. I want to have a life on the ranches,' Sanjay said to his father.

While I kept reading the chapters after Rehab, I kept wondering, 'What if Sunil Dutt had agreed with Sanjay Dutt's decision about having a life on the ranches. What if?'

It's a well written book. The book starts (First chapter: Guitars and Tennis Balls (!!) really well, however sometimes it's a tad repetitive (Repeated incidents that we already read in the introduction). Also, I didn't find the last chapter, his current life, that interesting mainly because we already know everything plus there was nothing to know more.

Overall, this book is a fast paced, easy and engaging read. Full of interesting, funny, sometimes lesser known (even though we know a lot about Sanjay's life) incidents and twists. If you have interest in cinema, and even if you are not a Sanjay Dutt fan (like me), you will find this book engaging and interesting.


  1. I'm not a Sanjay Dutt fan as such but his life truly has been a roller coaster ride. I might pick this up someday just to know how he survived it all. He sprang back every time, and that's a true hero act.

  2. I am not a Sanjay Dutt fan so reading this book was not on my agenda. But your review has piqued my interest and I would like to know more about him. Thanks for the recommendation, Tarang!
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  3. Wow! Interesting review and I so agree with all that you said for that is exactly what I observed while reading this book too.