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Bollywood waits for Sanjay Dutt's return

With just over a month left for Sanjay Dutt's release from jail, Bollywood is readying a few film scripts and the actor is expected to make a comeback to the silver screen with the third movie from the immensely popular "Munna Bhai" series post-incarceration.

Sanjay Dutt
Sanjay Dutt

From his drug and alcohol addiction days to his involvement in the 1993 bomb blasts case, which saw him landing in jail for illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle, Dutt has had a turbulent life.

The controversy's favourite child, whose life has been closely followed in the filmdom and by his fans, barring some last-minute hitches, will come out of Pune's Yerwada prison as a free man on February 25, earlier than expected thanks to his "good conduct" in jail that earned him remission in sentence.

On acting front, speculation is rife that once Dutt, 56, is out, he will start working on the third instalment of Rajkumar Hirani's "Munna Bhai" series. Filmmakers like Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Sanjay Gupta, too, will collaborate with the actor on some projects.

Besides this film, he will be releasing his home production, "Hasmukh Pighal Gaya", and co-produce the proposed biopic on his life.

However, there is no official confirmation as to when these projects would go on floors.

"He will be out (of jail) next month. But as far as his professional life is concerned I am not aware about it... The films he will do or not do. His wife Manyata takes care of it," Dutt's sister Priya told PTI when asked about the post-incarceration plans of her brother.

Manyata did not respond to phone calls and messages.

"Once Sanjay sir returns then work will begin and other things will be decided. As of now 'Hasmukh Pighal Gaya' is the only thing which is ready. We are waiting for him to come back," sources said.

A trade analyst said, "I don't think he has signed a film yet. Once he comes back he will start working depending on what is offered to him and what he wants to do. I think he would be offered mostly character roles."

Sharing similar views, another trade analyst said, "He would be a part of 'Munna Bhai' as the film is synonymous with him. Besides that he might get to do supporting parts."

Dutt's last release, in end-2014, was Hirani's "PK" where he played a supporting role.

They have started work on the third part of "Munna Bhai" series, which has been in the past directed by Hirani.

The film follows the comic adventures of Munnabhai aka Murli Prasad Sharma (Dutt) and his sidekick, Circuit or Cirkeshwar (Arshad) in "Munna Bhai MBBS" (2003) and "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" (2006). Both were huge box-office hits.

The third part was supposed to be directed by Subhash Kapoor but apparently due to creative differences things did not work out and he will not be helming the film now.

Fans were overjoyed when they first saw the teaser of "Munna Bhai Chale America" but it was short-lived. Apparently because of its similarity with Karan Johar's Shahrukh Khan-Kajol-starrer "My Name Is Khan', the idea was shelved.

"It was a good teaser but we couldn't crack it. That idea we dropped. That film is not done... We are working on another story for 'Munna Bhai'," Hirani said.

The 53-year-old filmmaker is working on the third instalment of the script with writer Abhijat Joshi. "In six months, it should be ready," Joshi said. For producer Chopra, story line is far more important than business prospects. "Munna Bhai (third instalment)...when we make it will be a great film. Will it do more business than 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai', we don't give a damn. But will it be as good or better than the first two films...yes it will be. We will try to make a good film."

Asked if Dutt has been signed for the third part of "Munna Bhai", Hirani said, "Sign? We don't have to sign and do all that. We did not sign him for 'Munna Bhai MBBS' and 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai'."

But sources close to the filmmakers said that they are planning to announce the film with Sanjay himself once he is out of jail.

Besides this much-awaited film, Dutt is likely to co-produce the biopic being made on him by Hirani.

"It (biopic) is at a very early stage... One draft of the script is done. And we have signed Ranbir Kapoor. But beyond that nothing has been finalised," Hirani said.

"Hasmukh Pighal Gaya", directed by Sejal Shah, is ready but its release date is not yet known. Dutt has done a cameo in his home production film which he has already shot.

"The film is ready. I don't know about the release date...the producers will be making an announcement. Once he (Dutt) is back maybe that time things will be decided," the sources said.

In 2014, there were reports that Dutt's production house was facing financial crisis, but it was denied by the company at that time.

Dutt was born to celebrity parents Sunil Dutt and Nargis but he had a turbulent life.

Nargis passed away just four days before the release of "Rocky", Dutt's debut film, in 1981 and it is said to have affected the actor badly.

In 1987, Dutt married Richa Sharma, who later succumbed to brain tumour. The couple has a daughter, Trishala, who lives in the United States.

Dutt's married model Rhea Pillai in 1998, but the alliance did not last long and they divorced in 2005.

In 2008, he married Manyata and in 2010, he became a father to twins, a boy named Shahraan and a girl named Iqra. The upheavals in his life notwithstanding, the actor tasted box-office success with films like "Naam", "Sadak", "Saajan", "Khalnayak", "Vaastav", "Mission Kashmir", "Munna Bhai MBBS", "Lage Raho Munna Bhai" and "Agneepath", among others.

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