Of all the roles that he essayed in his long and illustrious career in Bollywood, that of a jail convict was perhaps one that Sanjay Dutt least wanted to enact in real life. The superstar’s conviction under the Arms Act has brought about a dramatic reversal in his fortunes: Dutt (53), who has an average asking price of Rs 3-5 crore per film, will now earn approximately Rs 25 per day for the first six months of his stay in prison. This would make the millionaire’s earnings decelerate to almost a screeching halt, to Rs 650 a month.
Dutt, apart from having several films on the floor, was also endorsing several products. Taken together, these ratcheted up his annual income to a dizzying Rs 20 crore. In sharp contrast, Dutt’s yearly income in course of his jail stay won’t be over Rs 10,000 — and this, after he sweats it out, labouring in the small-scale unit in the central jail.
A senior jail official said, “Dutt will have to surrender before the TADA court in Mumbai on completion of four weeks, as per the apex court’s order. He can then file a review petition. If the apex court does not grant him bail during the hearing of the review petition, then Dutt will be taken to Arthur Road jail and later shifted to one of the six central prisons for convicts in Maharashtra.”
This means Dutt could be shifted to any of the following jails in the state — in Aurangabad, Nasik, Amravati, Nagpur, Kolhapur, or Pune. No decision has been taken yet. Additional Director General of Police (State Prisons) Meeran Chadha Borwankar said, “I am in Delhi. We shall decide after discussing with the officers.”
Another senior prison official revealed, “We usually consider the security and threat perception, if any, for a prisoner, and accordingly decide the jail where the convict is kept. Since Dutt is a convicted prisoner, he will have to be put in one of the six central prisons, where he will be made to work daily.”
Life in prison
The first in many changes that the superstar will have to grimace through is a change of garb — a far cry from the designer wear he is accustomed to, Dutt will have to don pajamas, cap and shirt. The man who is hailed as ‘Sanju baba’ will now be reduced to a token number, his new identity in jail. On day one of his prison stay, he will be given two blankets, a handmade mat, a pillow and sheet, which he must use to make his bed, on the floor. He will also be given training in any of the following — carpentry, cooking in the jail kitchen, carpet making, bakery, blacksmith’s work, weaving or making shoes and chappals in the leather workshop. In the first six months of his stay, he will be treated as an unskilled worker and will be paid Rs 25 daily; he will be paid only six days a week. A review meeting of senior jail officials will decide after six months if Dutt has acquired sufficient skill in the chosen field, after which he would be treated as a semi-skilled worker and his daily earnings will go up from Rs 25 to Rs 35. When he finally masters the work after a few months, he will be reviewed once again by senior jail officials, and paid Rs 40 per day, being placed in the skilled category. Senior jail officials at Yerwada revealed that during his last stay in the jail, Dutt had made a wooden chair, and that he was quite fond of carpentry.
No fine dining
During his prison stay, Dutt will be entitled to an allowance of Rs 1,500 per month from his family, which he can use to purchase essentials like toiletries or snacks from the prison canteen. He will also be allowed to meet a maximum of five members of his family at a time, for 20 minutes, once a month. His activities on Sunday will include drudgework like washing his own clothes, in addition to other chores that jail officials give him.
Hard day’s work
Dutt’s day will start at 8 am in the factory, after his prayers and tea at 7 am. Between 11.30 am and 12 noon he will be served food in the factory area. He will continue to work till 4 pm. Between 4 pm and 6 pm he will be allowed to read books and newspapers, and have his dinner. He will then have to retreat to his cell, to be locked up till the routine starts again the following day.
A senior jail official ruled out the possibility of Dutt being put under the open jail system, saying, “Convicts who are found guilty under offences of Arms Act are not sent to open jails.”
Ray of hope
Dutt may not have to spend the whole of his remaining term of three-and-a-half years in jail. According to senior jail officials, the actor might get some reprieve for good behaviour, which means his time may be commuted by seven days each month — of which four days is given for doing good work and another three days is given for good behaviour. This means Dutt will be entitled to 84 days of remission every year. The actual number of remission received will be then deducted from the actual conviction period and the convict will be set free.
I have to be strong: Dutt
“I have already suffered for 20 years and been in jail for 18 months. If they want me to suffer more I have to be strong. I am heart broken because today along with me, my 3 children and my wife and my family will undergo the punishment. I have always respected the judicial system and will continue to do so, even with tears in my eyes. I am going to complete all my films and won’t let anyone down. I am overwhelmed by the support of my fans the industry people, the media and all the well-wishers. They have always stood by me and supported me. I know in my heart that I have always been a good human being, respected the system and always been loyal to my country. My family is very emotional right now and I have to be strong for them. I am shattered and in emotional distress. I am sorry I can't come down and meet you all. God is great and he will guide me through this.”
- Dutt’s official statement