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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Amid the ‘unauthorised’ biography tiff, here’s looking at BBC’s documentary on Sanjay Dutt – To Hell and Back

This 1996 documentary on Sanjay Dutt, To Hell and Back, offers an insight to the Sanjay Dutt of the 1990s. The accusations he faced following the 1993 bomb blasts, his drug fueled lifestyle and the threats his family faced, all are discussed in this film.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
March 21, 2018 8:53:46 pm
sanjay dutt The 1996 BBC documentary, To Hell and Back covers many facets of Sanjay Dutt’s life.

Sanjay Dutt’s life is the kind that demands a tell-all book or a biopic. The biopic of this actor is in the great hands of Rajkumar Hirani but the case of the book has now gone sour. An unauthorised biography of the actor is soon going to make its way to the stores but Sanjay Dutt has openly stated that he does not endorse the speculations that the book serves as facts.

Sanjay Dutt’s tumultuous journey was still underway when BBC made a documentary on the actor way back in 1996. To Hell and Back-1996 explores the circumstances under which Sanjay was arrested following the 1993 bomb blasts. Directed by Chris Rodley, this documentary includes interviews with Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Dutt (father), Namrata Kumar Dutt (sister), Prochi Bhatia (biographer and confidante of the family), Punkej Kharbanda (Sanjay’s manager) and a few other film journalists as well.

To Hell and Back paints a sympathetic picture of Sanjay Dutt and tries to delve into the political scenario that led up to his arrest. The communal tension and Dutt’s brat image were all factors that made it easier for people to believe that he could have committed any wrong-doings that he was being charged with. The tabloids were full of his drug-fueled lifestyle and he was just the bad-boy who didn’t necessarily look like the society’s hero. Sunil Dutt was an active politician in Bombay at the time and it is hinted that his work in the Muslim slums attracted opposition. Various instances are shared where the Dutt family was threatened with murder and rape.

In the documentary, Sanjay Dutt admits to being on drugs for the early part of his career but comes clean about his rehabilitation days as well. Over the years, Dutt has spoken about these years on various occasions and many of these interviews are easily available but this documentary was made at the time when even Dutt didn’t know that the bomb blast case was far from over.

As per the interviews in this documentary, it is strongly hinted that his image was that of a boy who had enough clout that he could get out of anything. And if some are to be believed, he used it to his advantage on many occasions. There is much more to Sanjay Dutt’s life than To Hell and Back but if one is interested in knowing more about the Sanjay Dutt of the 90s, this documentary offers some insight.

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