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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

From performing item numbers to becoming Mrs. Dutt: Manyata

What kind of control does Manyata wield over her husband and his new-found interest in politics.

Written by Harneet Singh | Mumbai |
January 29, 2009 2:45:02 pm

She’s married to one of the biggest stars in India but questions remain about who the new Mrs Dutt is,the kind of control she wields over her husband and her new-found interest in politics.

Even though her husband,Sanjay Dutt,thundered that “there’s only one Mr and Mrs Dutt on Pali Hill and it’s me and Manyata”,many questions remain unanswered about who exactly the new Mrs Dutt is and the kind of control she exerts over the life of her superstar husband.

It’s well established by now that the Dutt sisters,Priya and Namrata,are still to give their blessings to their brother’s third wife. Since stories of their relationship surfaced,Manyata has constantly dodged enquiries about her past. It was believed that she was a criminal psychologist. Well,she isn’t. She’s also been married and divorced from Mehraj-ur-Rehman,who was arrested for allegedly sending obscene messages to some Bollywood actresses.

The Dutt marriage got into a legal tangle when Rehman claimed to be still married to Manyata and the couple’s attempts to register the marriage in Goa also came under the scanner owing to reportedly fake domicile documents. That technicality has since been updated. So who is Manyata Dutt?

Few know that Manyata,or Maana as Sanju calls her,was born as Dilnawaz Shaikh. In film circles,she was also known as Sara Khan. Born in Mumbai,she spent her growing years in Dubai. Manyata moved to Mumbai a decade ago with Bollywood aspirations. She is best known for her 2003 raunchy item number in Prakash Jha’s Gangajal,in which she was given the screen name Manyata by Jha himself. The name switch,however,didn’t do much for her career and Manyata had to make do with a B grade film,Lovers Like Us,the rights of which were reportedly bought by Dutt for Rs 20 lakh. Dutt is said to have also gone to the extent of removing the VCDs and DVDs of the film from the market.

Manyata’s aspirations to become a star ended when her father passed away leaving her the family business. It is believed that she took charge of a textile factory that has offices in Navi Mumbai and Malad. The exact dateline of her romance with Dutt is also unclear. Though Manyata has said that they have known each other for nine years,industry insiders insist that they were introduced in 2006 by producer Nitin Manmohan. Publicly,they appeared as a couple at the Star Screen awards in January 2007. Dutt was instantly smitten and would go around telling friends to address Manyata as bhabhiji.

The wedding,when it finally took place in February 2008,was very sudden. The Dutt sisters had no clue. When Priya was asked for her reaction,she famously told the media,“They got married? I have no idea. Thanks for the news.”

The sisters’ response appears to have never mattered to Mr and Mrs Dutt. Manyata is constantly seen by her husband’s side. Family insiders reveal that she wields iron-fisted control over his life. She has phased out many of his old friends who she felt were fleecing her husband. Dutt’s long time secretary Kaleem Khan was also shown the door. Ditto for buddies Sanjay Gupta and Nitin Manmohan. Manyata handles her husband’s finances,looks after his diet and has a huge say in Sanju’s film decisions. Interestingly,some months ago,when Dutt decided to revive his father Sunil Dutt’s production company,Ajanta Arts,Manyata took creative charge and has lined up a host of directors.

And as Sanju gets set to contest the Lok Sabha election from Lucknow for the Samajwadi Party,it is believed that he is fulfilling Manyata’s dream to see her husband as a politician. Recently,when she walked from Xavier’s College to the Radio Club in Colaba as part of a protest rally organised by her to condemn the 26/11 attacks,she made public statements to the effect that “Sanju will be very good in politics because he has a mass appeal.” And though she has reportedly claimed that she’s not keen to enter politics,SP leader,Amar Singh’s statement that if legal obstacles don’t permit Dutt to contest polls,then the party will field Manyata as a candidate,has not gone unnoticed. Manyata’s next moves are not clear yet,but it is evident that the woman who nobody knew anything about until a couple of years ago has made sure she isn’t forgotten in a hurry.

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