Sunil Dutt

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Sunil Dutt
A still of the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Sunil Dutt in New Delhi on April 15, 2005.jpg
Dutt at his New Delhi office in 2005.
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
In office
22 May 2004 25 May 2005
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Vikram Verma
Succeeded by Mani Shankar Aiyar
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded by Ram Jethmalani
Succeeded by Madhukar Sarpotdar
Constituency Mumbai North West
In office
Preceded by Madhukar Sarpotdar
Succeeded by Priya Dutt
ConstituencyMumbai North West
Personal details
Balraj Dutt

(1929-06-06)6 June 1929
Nakka Khurd, Punjab Province, British India [1] [2]
(present-day Punjab, Pakistan)
Died25 May 2005(2005-05-25) (aged 75)
Mumbai, India
Cause of death Heart attack
Political party Indian National Congress
(m. 1958;died 1981)
Children3, including Sanjay Dutt and Priya Dutt
RelativesSee Dutt family
Residence Bandra, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Actor
  • producer
  • director
  • politician
Awards Padma Shri (1968)

Sunil Dutt (born Balraj Dutt; 6 June 1929 - 25 May 2005) was an Indian film actor, producer, director and politician. [3] He was the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in the Manmohan Singh government (2004–2005). He was a former Sheriff of Mumbai. He is the father of actor Sanjay Dutt and politician Priya Dutt. [4]


In 1968, he was honoured by the Padma Shri by the Government of India. [5] In 1984 he joined the Indian National Congress party and was elected to the Parliament of India for five terms from the constituency of Mumbai North West. [6]

Early life

Sunil Dutt was born on 6 June 1929 to father Diwan Raghunath Dutt and mother Kulwantidevi Dutt. [3] [7] in Nakka Khurd, Punjab Province, British India (now in Punjab, Pakistan). [3] [1] [2] When he was five years old, Dutt's father died. When he was 18, the Partition of India began inciting Hindu-Muslim violence across the country. A Muslim named Yakub, who had been friend with Dutt's father, saved their entire family. [8] The family resettled in the small village of Mandauli on the bank of the river Yamuna located in Yamuna Nagar, Punjab, which is now a district of Haryana. Later he moved to Lucknow with his mother, Kulwantidevi Dutt, and spent a long time in Aminabad during graduation. He then moved to Bombay (present-day Mumbai), where he joined Jai Hind College as an undergraduate and took up a job at the city's BEST Transportation Engineering division. [3] [9] He graduated with B.A. (Hons.) in History in 1954. [3] [10]

Early career

Starting out in radio, with his command over the Urdu language, Sunil Dutt was hugely popular on the Hindi service of Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. He moved to act in Hindi films and got introduced to the industry in 1955's Railway Platform .

Film career

Nargis tends to an injured Sunil Dutt during the filming of Mother India Nargis tends to an injured Sunil Dutt during the filming of Mother India.jpg
Nargis tends to an injured Sunil Dutt during the filming of Mother India

Debut and coining of the screen name "Sunil Dutt"

Director Ramesh Saigal was instrumental in giving Dutt a break in the film Railway Platform (1955) when the latter was hosting the show, Lipton Ki Mehfil on Radio Ceylon. [11] While covering the Dilip Kumar film Shikast in 1953, Dutt met director Saigal, who impressed by his personality and voice, offered him a role in his upcoming film. Saigal came up with the new screen name "Sunil Dutt" for the debutante actor whose real name was Balraj Dutt to avoid name conflicts with the then veteran actor Balraj Sahni. [12] [13]

Rise to stardom

Dutt in 1958 Sadhna 1958 (cropped).jpg
Dutt in 1958

Dutt shot to stardom in the 1957 film Mother India in which he co-starred with Nargis as her short-tempered, angry son. During the making of this film, a fire happened on the set. It is believed that Dutt braved the raging fire to save Nargis and thereby won her love. They went on to marry in 1958. They had one son Sanjay Dutt, also a successful film actor, and two daughters, Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt. His daughter Namrata married Kumar Gaurav, son of Rajendra Kumar. The two fathers were co-stars in Mother India.

Dutt was one of the major stars of Hindi cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s and continued to star in many successful films which included Sadhna (1958), Insan Jaag Utha (1959), Sujata (1959), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Khandan (1965), Mera Saaya (1966) and Padosan (1967). His collaboration with B.R. Chopra proved to be successful in films such as Gumraah (1963), Waqt (1965) and Hamraaz (1967). One of his favourite writers and friends was Aghajani Kashmeri. Dutt made his directorial debut and was the only actor to feature in the 1964 film Yaadein . The film was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for Fewest Actors in a Narrative Film. [14] He later produced the 1968 film Man Ka Meet which introduced his brother Som Dutt, Vinod Khanna and Leena Chandavarkar. In 1971, he produced, directed and starred in Reshma Aur Shera (1971) which was critically well received but a box office failure.

During the early 1970s, his career as an actor was at a stand-still. Admist this setback, he played Madhubala's hero in the 1971 film Jwala , which was a delayed film that had started production in the late 1950s and was Madhubala's last film. It was Geeta Mera Naam (1974) that brought him into the limelight again. The anti-hero was reborn after a long gap of films like Mother India and Mujhe Jeene Do. Sunil Dutt's performance of Johnny was liked by the masses as he clearly stole the limelight. It was one of the best performances of his career. He continued to star in hits that included Heera (1973), Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), Nagin (1976), Jaani Dushman (1979), Muqabla (1979), and Shaan (1980). He also starred in a series of Punjabi religious movies in the 1970s: Man Jeete Jag Jeet (1973), Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam (1974), and Sat Sri Akal (1977). [15] Even in 1980s he starred in both leading and supporting role in several successful movies such as Dard Ka Rishta (1982), Badle Ki Aag (1982), Raaj Tilak (1984), Mangal Dada (1986), Watan Ke Rakhwale (1987) and Dharamyudh (1988).

He launched his son Sanjay's career with Rocky in 1981 which was a success. Shortly before the film's release, Nargis died of pancreatic cancer. He founded the Nargis Dutt Foundation in her memory for the curing of cancer patients. [16] He was a sponsor of the India Project, an organisation akin to Operation Smile for the treatment of Indian children with facial deformities. [17]

In 1982, he was appointed as the Sheriff of Bombay, an apolitical titular position bestowed on him by the Maharashtra government for a year. [18]

He retired from the film industry in the early 1990s to turn to politics after his last few releases including Yash Chopra's Parampara (1992) and J.P. Dutta's Kshatriya (1993). His political career was halted for some years in the early 1990s when he worked to free his son from jail after he was arrested for keeping an AK-56 that he claimed was for the protection of his family after bomb blasts in Bombay. [19]

In 1995, he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry for four decades. He returned to acting shortly before his death in 2003's Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. in which he shared the screen with son Sanjay for the first time although they had appeared earlier in Rocky and Kshatriya but did not share any scenes together.


Sunil Dutt assumes the charge of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in New Delhi on 25 May 2004 Shri Sunil Dutt assumes the charge of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in New Delhi on May 25, 2004.jpg
Sunil Dutt assumes the charge of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in New Delhi on 25 May 2004

Sunil Dutt died of a heart attack on 25 May 2005 at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai, two weeks before his 76th birthday, [20] At the time of his death, he was the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports in the Union Government led by Dr. Manmohan Singh and was the Member of Parliament from North-west Mumbai. He was cremated with full state honours at Santacruz Crematorium in Mumbai. He was succeeded as Minister by Mani Shankar Aiyar. His seat in the Parliament was contested by his daughter, Priya Dutt, who won it and was a Member of Parliament until May 2014. [21]

Paresh Rawal played the role of Sunil Dutt in the biopic on his son titled Sanju . [22]

Awards and honours


As an Actor
Railway Platform 1955RamRamesh Saigal
Kundan Amrit Sohrab Modi
Rajdhani 1956Naresh Saigal
Kismet Ka Khel Prakash VermaKishore Sahu
Ek-Hi-Raasta Amar B.R. Chopra
Mother India 1957Birju Mehboob Khan
Paayal MohanJoseph Taliath
Sadhna 1958Mohan B.R. Chopra
Post Box 999 VikasRavindra Dave
Insaan Jaag Utha 1959Ranjeet Shakti Samanta
Didi GopalK. Narayan Kale
Sujata Adhir Bimal Roy
Usne Kaha Tha 1960NanduMoni Bhattacharjee
Hum Hindustani Surendra NathRam Mukherjee
Ek Phool Char Kaante Sanjeev Bhappi Sonie
Duniya Jhukti Hai Mohan / BankelalJ.B.H. WadiaDouble Role
Chhaya 1961Arun/Poet Rahee Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Main Chup Rahungi 1962Kamal Kumar A. Bhimsingh
Jhoola Dr. Arun K. Shankar
Aaj Aur Kal 1963Dr. SanjayVasant Joglekar
Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke Anilkumar G. SahniR. K. Nayyar
Nartakee Professor Nirmal Kumar Nitin Bose
Mujhe Jeene Do Thakur Jarnail Singh Moni Bhattacharjee Won 1964 Filmfare Best Actor Award
Gumraah RajendraB. R. Chopra
Yaadein 1964AnilSunil DuttAlso Director & Producer
Gazal EjaazVed-Madan
Beti BeteRamu/KrishnaL. V. Prasad
Waqt 1965Advocate RaviYash Chopra
Khandan Govind Shankar. Lal A. Bhimsingh Won Filmfare Best Actor Award
Mera Saaya 1966Thakur Rakesh Singh Raj Khosla
Maitighar SunilB.S. ThapaSpecial Appearance in Nepali Film
Gaban RamnathHrishikesh Mukherjee
Amrapali Magadh Samrat Ajatashatru Lekh Tandon
Milan 1967Gopi/GopinathAdurthi Subba Rao BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) – Sunil Dutt
Hamraaz Kumar B. R. Chopra
Mehrban Kanhaiya A. Bhimsingh
Sadhu Aur Shaitaan 1968Catholic Priest D'souza A. Bhimsingh Guest Role
Padosan Bhola Jyoti Swaroop
Gauri Sunil Kumar A. Bhimsingh
Pyasi Sham 1969RajaAmar Kumar
Meri Bhabhi RajuKhalid Akhtar
Jwala Sunil M. Krishnan Nair Guest Role
Chirag Ajay Singh Raj Khosla
Bhai Bahen Surendra Pratap A. Bhimsingh
Darpan (1970) 1970Balraj Dutt Adurthi Subba Rao
Bhai-Bhai Deep/Ashok/Sangram Raja Nawathe Double Role
Reshma Aur Shera 1971Shera SinghSunil DuttDirector & Producer
Jwala JwalaM.V. RamanDelayed Film
Zameen Aasmaan 1972RaviA Veerappan
Zindagi Zindagi Dr. SunilTapan Sinha
Jai Jwala SunilManohar Deepak
Man Jeete Jag Jeet 1973Bagga Daaku / Baghel SinghB.S. ThapaPunjabi Film
Heera 1973HeeraSultan Ahmed
Geeta Mera Naam 1974Suraj/Johnny Sadhana Negative Role
Kora Badan 1974SunilB.S. GhadGuest Role
Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye 1974Raja Thakur S. Ali Raza
Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam 1974SadhuB.S.ThapaGuest Role in Punjabi Film
36 Ghante 1974Himmat SinghRaj TilakNegative Role
Zakhmee 1975Anand Raja Thakur
Umar Qaid 1975RajaSikandar Khanna
Neelima1975SunilPushprajGuest Role
Himalay Se Ooncha 1975VijayB.S. Thapa
Nagin 1976Vijay Rajkumar Kohli Supernatural Thriller
Nehle Pe Dehla 1976Sunil Raj Khosla
Darinda 1977Krishna/YogiduttKaushal Bharati
Gyaani Ji 1977Pilot Sardar Hari SinghChaman NillayPunjabi Name : Sat Sri Akal (1977)
Paapi 1977Raj KumarO. P. Ralhan
Ladki Jawan Ho Gayi 1977SunilAnand Dasani
Charandas 1977Advocate TondonB.S. ThapaGuest Role
Aakhri Goli 1977Vikram Shibu Mitra
Ram Kasam 1978Bhola/ShankarChandDouble Role
Kaala Aadmi 1978BirjuRamesh Lakhanpal
Daaku Aur Jawan 1978BirjuSunil Dutt
Muqabla 1979Vikram 'Vicky' Rajkumar Kohli
Jaani Dushman 1979Laakhan Rajkumar Kohli Horror Thriller
Ahinsa 1979BirjuChand
Salaam Memsaab 1979Naresh Sarit Asrani Guest Appearance
Shaan 1980DSP Shiv Kumar Ramesh Sippy
Yari Dushmani 1980ShambhuSikandar Khanna
Lahu Pukarega 1980JituAkhtar-Ul-Iman
Ganga Aur Suraj 1980Inspector GangaA. Salaam
Ek Gunah Aur Sahi 1980Shankar RamdasYogi Kathuria
Rocky 1981ShankarSunil DuttGuest Appearance
Badle Ki Aag 1982Lakhan Rajkumar Kohli
Dard Ka Rishta 1982Dr. Ravi Kant SharmaSunil DuttProducer & Director
Laila 1984Dharamraj Singh / Thakur Prithviraj Singh Saawan Kumar Double Role
Yaadon Ki Zanjeer 1984Ravi Kumar Shibu Mitra Film delayed for 5 years
Raaj Tilak 1984Jai Singh Rajkumar Kohli
Faasle 1985Vikram Yash Chopra
Kala Dhanda Goray Log 1986Gauri Shankar / Michael Sanjay Khan
Mangal Dada 1986Mangal DadaRamesh GuptaFilm Delayed for 6 Years
Watan Ke Rakhwale 1987Jailor Suraj Prakash T. Rama Rao
Dharamyudh 1988Thakur Vikram SinghSudarshan Nag
Yeh Aag Kab Bujhegi 1991Prof. KishnaSunil Dutt
Kurbaan 1991Prithvi Singh Deepak Bahry
Pratigyabadh 1991Pascal Ravi Chopra
Hai Meri Jaan 1991Telegram WalaRoopesh KumarGuest Role
Virodhi 1992Police Commissioner Rajkumar Kohli
Kshatriya 1993Maharaj Bhavani Singh J.P. Dutta
Parampara 1993Thakur Bhavani Singh Yash Chopra
Phool 1993Balram Choudhary Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. 2003Hari Prasad Sharma Rajkumar Hirani
Lage Raho Munna Bhai 2006Shri Hari Prasad Sharma Rajkumar Hirani Photo used in many scenes as Munna's Father
Om Shanti Om 2007 Magadh Samrat Ajatashatru Farah Khan Recreated Via CGI during the song "Dhoom Tana"

See also

Further reading

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