Photographs: Still from Lamhaa Syed Firdaus Ashraf
He's the epitome of cool. At 50, he's still rocking it out on the big screen and now, with his latest offering Lamhaa hitting theatres on July 16, the bad boy of Bollywood Sanjay Dutt gets candid about his career, personality and dispenses advice to youngsters in an interview with rediff.com
If you weren't an actor and could take up a normal job, what would it be and why?
I would have been a pilot, because I always wanted to travel the world.
What is the golden rule of the entertainment business and more specifically, the Indian film industry?
Be down to earth and humble. Don't fly too high.
You have a reputation as a very faithful friend in an industry known for its treachery. If you are betrayed, are you able to forgive and forget easily?
How has marriage changed you as a person?
Marriage makes you more responsible, but marriage cannot change you as a person. You don't live for yourself, you have to live for your family -- these are the things you need to be responsible about after marriage.
Your advice for bachelors who don't want to tie the knot?
Marriage is a beautiful institution. I don't advise anybody to get married at 21 or 22. The right age is about 28-29. You need to go through that kind of phase, of going from teenager to boyhood. Don't rush into marriage because marriage is a commitment for life. You've got to be committed. There is a lot of sacrifice. If any of the two gives up on that sacrifice, then the marriage does not last.Follow Sanjay Dutt on Rediff Pages
'I think Ranbir Kapoor is Bollywood's best-looking actor'
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
So you've given up entirely on your partying lifestyle?
Ho gaya abhi, I have done that all my life. Kaun jayega, char baje tak, rave-wave sunney ke liye?
Why is that?
Mann nahin karta.
How do you maintain your looks?
I work out -- going to the gymnasium and staying on a diet.
What is your diet like?
Mainly salad, boiled fish and boiled vegetables.
What is your workout regime like?
Cardio in the morning and weights in the evening.
What is your personal sense of style like?
I am a simple guy. White shirt and blue jeans.
How do you manage to look stylish all the time?
That I don't know. Someone else should answer that question.
Do your fans ever shock you?
Yes, there was one in Kashmir who jumped in front of my car. He jumped on and wanted to meet me. He was whisked away and then turned up again at the shoot. I met him and told him he should not do such things, because the security guys would have shot him!
Who according to you is the best-looking actor in Bollywood?
'I am a spendthrift, but money is an important factor in life'
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
If a movie was made on your life, which of today's young actors would you like to see playing the lead role (you)?
Again, Ranbir Kapoor. I don't know, I relate to him -- in my childhood I looked like him only (laughs).
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, living or dead, with whom would it be and why?
One week is too little.
Okay then, if you could live life as any other famous personality?
I wouldn't mind being Ambanisaab.
Dhirubhai or Mukeshbhai or Anilbhai, with all that money yaar (smiles).
Does money bother you at this stage in life? Are you still a spendthrift?
I am a spendthrift, but money is an important factor in life. If you have money like that (the Ambanis), then you relax. I won't be doing five and six films a year.
You were once famous for giving away a lot of your money to the needy. Do you still do that?
That habit is still there. If I were Mukeshbhai, I would have set aside Rs 1,000 crore only for charity.
'Always move ahead -- you must fight and must not give up'
Photographs: Pawan Kumar/Reuters
Don't some then take advantage of your generosity? Do you ever get the feeling that not all cases are genuine and that some of them may be lying?
They do lie. But what to do? Even if they are lying, you've still donated that money. God is there to keep a check on them.
Have you ever experienced financial trouble, fallen short of money at some point in your life?
Yes, that used to happen to me many times before the credit card concept came in. People used to come and ask for money and I used to give them whatever I could manage from my pocket. Later on I started realising that I was always falling short of cash -- Rs 200-300 -- while eating in restaurants and had to plead with the managers that I would pay later.
Did it embarrass you?
I never felt embarrassed about that. What is wrong, yaar, if you're Rs 200 short? I used to tell the manager that I would send the money the next day. So that was okay (laughs).
What is your advice to the youngsters of today?
There will be failures and there will be times when you will win. The times when you fail in life are when you need to take care of yourself. Always move ahead -- you must fight and must not give up.
Photographs: Pawan Kumar/Reuters
Any hobbies you pursue in your spare time?
I like music.
Which is the most frequently played song on your Ipod?
Black Magic Woman
Which is your favourite cuisine?
Steak. No, cancel that. Chinese food.
Your favourite drink?
Alcoholic or non-alcoholic?
You love hanging out at?
Your favourite movie of all time?
Al Pacino's Scarface. It has a great story about relationships -- it is a lesson and tells you what drugs can do to a man.
Your favourite book?
A Stone For Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins.
Your preferred travel destination?
Your biggest indulgence?
I don't have one.
Your biggest challenge?
To make better films all the time.
Your idea of a perfect day?
18 degrees with sunshine.
Do you suffer from any phobias?
You cannot leave home without...
In your spare time, what do you like doing?
Listening to music, sitting at home and spending time with friends.
Some things you would like to do before you die?
Help people, do charity and be available when there is some natural calamity. That is the best thing you can do for your karma.