“You’re Sanjay Dutt and You’re Not a Terrorist”

Crime

“You’re Sanjay Dutt and You’re Not a Terrorist”

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

O

utside the tall, grim, grey stone walls of the Arthur Road Jail, Sanjay Dutt’s star was on the ascent. He was riding on the enchanting wave of Lage Raho Munna Bhai’s success. Inside the walls though, Baba, an everlasting allusion perhaps to the child in him that never grew up, lumbered on an alien planet oblivious to his celebrity. Baba was being officiated upon by men in black-and-white spouting unintelligible legal patter for hours that seemed like days, and for months that had indeed been some years.

Dutt was tired of it all. Bole toh… poora khallaas, maamu. Yet he almost never let it show. Not even this day in early 2007, when he was only weeks away from being sentenced for his role in the 1993 serial blasts case. Somewhere between the metal detector outside the prison gates, and the long, lonely walk through the eerily expansive open-air corridor leading to the special TADA court, below which he now stood, his joy and verve, on every nagging visit, would be sucked out.

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