About Sunil Dutt

Sunil Dutt (June 6, 1930 - May 25, 2005), born as Balraj Dutt was an Indian Bollywood actor and politician. He was the cabinet minister for Youth Affairs and Sports in the Manmohan Singh government (2004-2005). He was a recipient of the Padma Shri. He had one son Sanjay Dutt, also a successful film actor and two daughters, Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt(Anju). His daughter Namrata married Sunil Dutt's good friend and also "Mother India" co-star Rajendra Kumar's son Kumar Gaurav.

Sunil Dutt,A Mohyal Brahmin by caste, was born in the village of Khurd in the Jhelum District of Punjab in British India (now located in Pakistan). His family moved to India during the Partition of India (1947) and they settled in a small village on the bank of river Yamuna called Mandoli which is in Yamunanagar district of Haryana.

Later he moved to Mumbai to fulfill his dreams.In Mumbai, he joined Jai Hind College as an undergraduate and took up a job. A stroke of luck fetched him an additional assignment with an advertisement company and he could supplement his income by a few hundred more rupees.

While working for it, he got introduced to the cream of film industry including Nargis, whom he married on March 11, 1958.He introduced his son Sanjay in Rocky in 1981. In that same year, his wife died of pancreatic cancer. He set up Nargis Dutt foundation in memory of his wife for the cure of cancer patients. He was also a sponsor of the India Project, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated organization akin to Operation Smile for the treatment of Indian children with facial deformities.

Starting out in radio, Sunil Dutt was a hugely popular announcer on the Hindi Service of Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. He moved to acting in Hindi films and got introduced to the film industry in the 1955 film "Railway Platform". He shot to the stardom in the 1957 film "Mother India" in which he co-starred with Nargis, whom he married on March11, 1958.

Dutt was one of the major stars of Bollywood in the late 1950s and 1960s and continued to star in many successful films which included "Sadhna" (1958), "Sujata" (1959), "Mujhe Jeene Do" (1963) and "Padosan" (1967). His collaboration with B.R. Chopra proved to be successful in many hits such as "Gumraah" (1963), "Waqt" (1965) and "Hamraaz" (1967). He created a record of sorts by starring in the unique film "Yaadein" (1964) in which he was the only actor in the cast. He later turned producer and director with the big-budget period romantic film "Reshma Aur Shera" (1971) which was a huge failure at the box office. He then went on to appear in many multi-starrer hit films which included "Nagin" (1976), "Jaani Dushman" (1979) and "Shaan" (1980).

He acted in fewer films in the 1980s and 1990s and retired from the film industry to turn to politics after his last few film releases including "Parampara" (1992) and "Kshatriya" (1993).
In 1982 he was appointed as the Sheriff of Mumbai, an apolitical titular position, a position bestowed on him by the Maharashtra government for the period of a year.

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 following Hindu-Muslim clashes in Mumbai.

In 1995 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry for four decades.

He returned to films shortly before his death in the 2003 Bollywood film "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S". In this film he shared the screen with son Sanjay for the first time although they had both appeared earlier in "Rocky" (1981) and "Kshatriya" (1993) but did not appear in any scenes together.

He died of a heart attack at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai in his sleep. His seat in Parliament was contested by his daughter, Priya Dutt who eventually won it and is a Member of Parliament from North West Mumbai. His death coincided with the death of film producer Ismail Merchant who was famous for his Merchant-Ivory productions.

Photos of Sunil Dutt

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