Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s film makers will have to take a hit to the tune of Rs.80 crore as he prepares for a jail sentence of three and a half years after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case.
While upholding his conviction by a special court, the apex court reduced Dutt’s jail sentence from six years to five years. The 53-year-old actor, who was given four weeks to surrender, has already spent 18 months in prison.
Dutt has four unfinished films—Policegiri, Zanjeer, and P.K and an untitled movie with production company Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd.
Film trade experts pegged the loss from his imprisonment at around Rs.80 crore.
“The film under the Ashtavinayak banner is stuck due to the production company’s issues, so that film won’t be affected by Sanjay’s jail sentence, but the other films will now be in trouble,” said Komal Nahta, a film trade analyst.
Dutt who has a special appearance in P.K, a film with a Rs.55 crore budget that is jointly produced by Aamir Khan Productions, Raj Kumar Hirani and Vinod Chopra Productions, still has to complete the shooting of some scenes, according to a person familiar with the situation who wished not to be identified.
Zanjeer, a remake of Prakash Mehra’s 1973 film, in which Dutt is playing the role of Sher Khan (earlier played by Pran), is slated for a June release. The movie is being co-produced by Reliance Entertainment. A company spokesperson declined to comment.
Film-maker K.S. Ravikumar’s Policegiri will take a beating as the film is still on the floors.
Calls made to Ravikumar went unanswered. Vidhu Vinod Chopra, a producer of P.K., is in Los Angeles and could not be reached. Hirani, the director of P.K., declined to comment.
Dutt’s career includes movies such as his debut feature Rocky, Naam, Khalnayak, Vaastav, Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., its sequel Lage Raho Munna Bhai, and Agneepath, among others.
“I still believe in judiciary. My family is with me and I am still strong,” the actor said in a text message after the judgement upholding his conviction, PTI reported.
In 2007, Dutt was cleared of conspiracy charges in the Mumbai serial blasts but was found guilty of illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol.
“We will wait for a copy of the Supreme Court judgement and then decide the further course of action,” Reuters cited Dutt’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde as saying.
According to PTI, Maneshinde said Dutt will abide by the apex court’s order of undergoing the sentence of three and a half years in letter and spirit. “Three-and-a-half-years is not a long period.”
Bollywood came out in support of Dutt. Hrithik Roshan, who co-starred with the actor in Agneepath and Mission Kashmir, said on Twitter, “I cannot comprehend. I know d law is d LAW. But I can bet my Life 2 say that Sanju sir doesn’t deserve this! D most loved man I stand for Sanjay Dutt.”
Actor Arshad Warsi, who played a character called Circuit in the two Munna Bhai films, tweeted, “I am numb, I don’t know what to say. Sanjay Dutt is not a criminal. This is too harsh a decision.”
Film-maker Karan Johar tweeted, “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.”
Reuters and PTI contributed to the story.