India Remembers Sunil Dutt on His 96th Birth Anniversary

 - Sakshi Post

An actor par excellence who charmed his audience with his suave looks and arresting screen presence, Sunil Dutt, aka Balraj Dutt, was born in Jhelum, Pakistan in 1926. Today is the 96th birth anniversary of Sunil Dutt. After matriculation, Sunil Dutt moved to India during Partition. He once spoke about his migration to India and elaborated how his father’s Muslim friend Yakub helped them escape to India. 

While still in college, Sunil took a job in Bombay’s BEST bus department and also started working as a radio interviewer in Radio Ceylon. Once he got an opportunity to interview the legendary actor Dilip Kumar on the sets of Hindi film ‘Shikast’.

On the film sets, he bumped into the film director Ramesh Saigal, who asked him to give an audition. For the screen test, Sunil was given the costume belonging to Dilip Kumar. The next day, Saigal met him with a Rs 300 cheque and said, “Chal tujhe hero banata hun main.”

However, Sunil Dutt politely refused to sign up for Saigal’s next movie saying he had promised his mother that he would complete his BA degree before taking any full time jobs. Saigal, who was taken by surprise, replied “Yaar tune maa ko vada kia hai, yahan log taraste hain hero banne ke liye.” and added he would wait for his return. 

Soon after completing his graduation, Sunil Dutt was back on the sets and made his Bollywood debut with Railway Platform movie in 1955. Later, he worked in several other movies but his big breakthrough came with Mother India in 1957. 

Directed by Mehboob Khan, Mother India portrays the life of a poverty-stricken woman, who raises her sons against all odds, facing all the hardships in life, including death, hunger, and natural calamities. In this movie, actress Nargis, Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar and Raaj Kumar were seen in pivotal roles. 

As an actor Sunil Dutt’s most memorable films include, Padosan, Humraaz, Gumraah, Waqt, Mujhe Jeene Do, Gumrah, Sujata, Mera Saaya, Kuurbaan, Yaadein, Khandaan to name a few.
In the later years of life, he was also seen in a blockbuster movie Munnabhai MBBS co-starring with his son Sanjay Dutt. 

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The legend has it Sunil and Nargis fell in love after a fire broke out on the sets of their magnum opus film Mother India and Sunil reportedly rescued her. They were said to have come closer while recuperating from the injuries. The couple tied the knot on March 11, 1958. In the film Mother India, Nargis and Sunil played the roles of mother and son. In the early 1980s, Nargis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and she died on May 3, 1981. Sunil died on May 25, 2005, following a heart attack. Sunil Dutt was also a Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports of India. 

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