Indian Court Grants Bollywood Star Time to Finish Films Before Prison Term
India's Supreme Court has granted popular Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt some time to try to finish his multiple film projects before he goes to prison for a weapons conviction linked to the Mumbai bombings in 1993.
Dutt, 53 years old, is the son of the late Bollywood legends Sunil and Nargis Dutt. Dutt fils, a popular actor in Indian in his own right, is best known for his role as a gangster with a heart of gold from the Munnabhai film series.
In 2007, Dutt was convicted for illegal acquiring an AK-56 and a handgun from the perpetrators behind the Mumbai bombings, which killed 257 people. Dutt was cleared of conspiracy charges associated with the attacks, but was sentenced for the gun possession. He served 18 months of a five-year sentence and then appealed and was released on bail. Dutt claims that he only purchased the weapons to protect his family during the riots at the time of the bombings.
In March, Dutt’s appeal options ran out, and he was ordered to surrender himself to authorities by April 18 to serve his remaining 3.5 years. But last week, he asked the Supreme Court to defer his sentence, so that he can attempt to complete the various film projects he currently has in the works, which he says hinge on his participation and involve investments totaling $46 million (2.5 billion rupees).
The films Dutt is currently involved in include Peekay, Policegiri, Unglee and a remake of the 1973 Bollywood mega-hit Zanjeer. Most Bollywood insiders have said the extra four weeks accorded by the court will help the productions deal with their Dutt problem, but it’s highly unlikely the actor will be able to wrap all four films in such a short period of time.