By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: The last day’s shooting for Zanjeer on Monday, May 13, was also the final day of Sanjay Dutt’s shooting before he goes into prison.
Understandably, it was a very emotional moment, laden with much talk of assumed bravado, false optimism and genuine nostalgia.
Says an eyewitness from the set, “The final shots of Zanjeer were taken at the Chandivali Studio in suburban Andheri. Look at Sanjay Dutt’s spirit! He drove all the way from his residence in Pali Hill to the studio which is a good two-hour drive, leaving behind his wife and kids with whom he wants to spend the final days of freedom. But since everyone else had flown in for the final shot from different cities Sanjay had to be there.”
For that final day of shooting Priyanka Chopra had flown in from Goa, Ramcharan Teja from Norway and Srihari – who plays Dutt’s role in the Telugu version of Zanjeer – came in from Hyderabad.
The atmosphere on the sets was “charged, emotional but controlled.”
Says the eyewitness, “Everyone kept the spirit light and even. We all felt the weight of what we were doing. I mean, sh.t man! This was Sanjay Dutt’s final shot for the next three years. I don’t know how we all kept laughing and joking. Gifts were exchanged and everyone tried to keep calm. But everyone was disturbed. Many times we saw tears well up in Sanjay’s eyes. It was a very, very sad moment.”
Sanjay Dutt left the shooting with a smile asking everyone to pray for him.
The actor will surrender before a special TADA court here on Thursday.When he goes to jail, his life will change drastically. As a prisoner, he will have to choose a profession such carpet weaving, carpentry or leather work. For his labour, he will be paid Rs 25 daily.
He will also be allowed to get Rs 1,500 per month from his family who will be allowed to meet him once a month for 20 minutes.
The actor was first arrested in April 1993 after an AK-56 rifle and a 9mm pistol were recovered from him. He spent 18 months in jail. The AK-56 was part of a consignment of weapons smuggled from Pakistan into India to cause the serial blasts that rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993.
The serial blasts, which were aimed to revenge the destruction of the Babri Masjid and subsequent riots in Mumbai, were planned by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who is hiding in Pakistan. In the 13 blasts that rocked Mumbai, 257 people were killed and over 700 injured.
Sanjay Dutt was sentenced by a special court in 2007 under the Arms Act for possession of illegal weapons and sentenced to six years in jail.
In March this year, the Indian Supreme Court upheld his conviction by the special court, though it reduced his jail time from six to five years.
Since Sanjay Dutt has already spent one and a half years in jail (in 1993-94), he will be in jail for three and a half years.