Vote: The Best Sanjay Dutt performance!
On April 26, 1981, a lanky actor was born to the screen, making a stunning debut in a film directed by his dad.
Sanjay Dutt's Rocky had an endearing charm, and he rode that bike straight into our hearts.
Over time, Dutt became the proverbial Phoenix who would rise after every fall, whose life would become as dramatic as his lifestyle. On screen, he's a charmer, a terrific actor who can make you cry and laugh as if it was for this that he was born.
As Sanjay Dutt completes 30 years in showbiz today, we trace his best performances. Check them out, and vote for the best at the end of the slide show.
Mahesh Bhatt's successful collaboration then solo scriptwriter Salim Khan, Naam is remembered for two people: Pankaj Udhas' soulful voice in Chhithi Aayi Hai and Sanjay Dutt's Dubai-returned gangster, who wants to make amends.
It's clear that the film is influenced by Deewar but Dutt becomes the very cause for watching Naam.
Image: The Chhithi Aayi Hai song from Naam
Our own Taxi Driver? Not quite.
Yet, this one has Dutt at his intense best. In love with a young woman being pushed into prostitution, Dutt rescues her single-handedly.
Although relying much on action, stunts and masculinity, Dutt is tender in the romantic moments, making it a fully potboiler-ish performance.
Image: The Sadak trailer
The film would be the same even if you remove the Choli Ke Peechhe song. But the moment you distance Dutt from Khalnayak, it falls irredeemably.
With a Wayne-ish patch on one eye, Ballu is a terrifying criminal who'll go to any length to win Ganga's (Madhuri Dixit) love. Ballu is as bad as it can get and is rather unapologetic about his misdoings.
Image: The Khalnayak trailer
Adopted as a kid, Aman grows up to be the kind of son every parent would hope to have. Aman represents the good qualities a man should have. Despite being handicap, he's a man, he proves he's one.
Saajan is one of Dutt's most under-stated acts. It works because he uses less to say more, because he sacrifices without thinking of himself as a saint.
Image: The Saajan trailer
Director Sanjay Gupta's attempt at male bonding and friendship -- a theme which would eventually become a hallmark of his later films -- Aatish's Baba and Nawab are 1990s' most loved movie characters.
Baba will do anything for Nawab. He lords over the gangland and he trusts Nawab with more than just his business. It helps, indeed, to have Dutt take on the screen name of Baba for the first time.
Image: A song from Aatish
Manic, mad and monstrous, Raghu is huffy throughout. Forced by circumstances to take up the life of crime simply because there seems to be no other choice, Dutt's Raghu does show an early promise of eking out a satisfied small-time existence.
As his pocket-sized business venture fails to take off, his little chance at simple life descends into the darkest hell-hole of psychosis. Dutt's act peaks in the climax when all he wishes for is death, nothing else.
Image: The Vaastav trailer
The Kashmiri top cop, Inayat Khan, is a doting dad. Yet, his ultimate fight is to preserve Kashmiriyat.
Dutt beautifully brings out the two dimensions his role demanded a man walking the thin line between personal and national, who has a duty towards the twin families of his beloved (if conflict-torn) state and his wife and son.
Image: Movie trailer of Mission Kashmir
Major, tu sirf bhaukega, ya kaatega bhi," remarked Dutt mordantly to the much-senior Amitabh Bachchan and nearly all the dialogue-loving cineaste loved it.
In a film which top-lines five other characters, the foxy club-owner Ajju stands out sharply with his cold detachment, street-side mannerisms and cool attitude.
Image: The Kaante trailer
It takes a goon, a self-styled doctor (quack, even) to teach us lessons of humanity.
In the titular role, Dutt surpasses his talent, exceeds his limits as an artist showing a great flair for tragicomedy. Here's an actor, who's been buttonholed as Bollywood's in-house gangster springing a surprise with his upliftingly humanistic performance.
Image: The Munnabhai MBBS trailer
Lage Raho Munna Bhai
The gangster with a golden heart, freshly inspired by the Gandhian philosophy, makes for one of Indian cinema's most endearing creations.
Munna Bhai wouldn't be Munna Bhai if any other actor had played him, for Dutt mixes hooliganism and humour with the kind of impish charm one rarely sees in modern Bollywood actors.
Image: The Lage Raho Munna Bhai trailer