Sanjay Dutt’s candid conversation about his experiences with contraband and then with prison enthralled the audiences at Goafest 2017 on Friday evening. Dutt, who spoke at the Leadership Summit segment of the event, claimed that he managed to bounce back every time life threw challenges at him by looking the problem in the eye and saying, “You will run away, not me.”
Drugs came into his life as early as school days and the journey was truly devastating. “I recall how to avoid withdrawal symptoms, I carried the contraband in my shoes to New York where I was visiting my mother who was fighting cancer at a hospital there. I was travelling with my two sisters and now, the thought of the consequences of getting caught leave me disturbed,” said Dutt.
Dutt narrated how once he collapsed in his bowl of dal at the dining table owing to the effect of drugs. On another occasion, Dutt started hallucinating and mistook his sister Priya for a guard and pushed her to supply him drugs.
“I would request the youths to stay high on life, not on drugs,” said Dutt on an emotional note.
Dutt, who recently served a jail term of five years in connection with the 1993 Bombay blast case, hinted that perhaps he became part of the case owing to his ignorance of the law. “It is very important to know the law of the land. This is something I learnt during the 25 years of my experience of fighting a court battle,” added Dutt.
Later, talking about his days in prison, Dutt said that the thought of his kids seeing him in jail uniform killed him for the four years that he was there. “When I was first jailed in the 90s, it wasn’t that difficult. But, after becoming a father, the very thought of my kids ever seeing me in uniform killed me from inside,” he claimed. In prison, he ate dal after removing flies from it for weeks.
Coming to his career as an actor, Dutt said he believed that the negative roles have greater scope for craft over straightforward hero roles. “There is no fun in playing the role of an ideal school teacher or a principal. An actor enjoys his performance more when the character has several shades to it,” he stated. On a lighter note, when asked which current actress he would have liked to get married to, Dutt named his Khalnayak co-star Madhuri Dixit. Dutt also left the audience in splits with his tips on handling women. “The secret to a long-lasting relationship? Quietly agree to whatever your lady tells you as you have a drink,” he said.
Finally, speaking on his biopic, Dutt said he has told his director to ensure that the biopic ends with a message. “It should be an eye opener for the youths and have them abstain from drugs.”