Why Is the Crucial Bal Thackeray Episode Missing from ‘Sanju’?

Why Is the Crucial Bal Thackeray Episode Missing from ‘Sanju’?

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Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

'Sanju', a biopic of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, is setting the box office on fire. The film first crossed the Rs 100 crore and then the Rs 200 crore mark. But the one who helped Sanjay Dutt when he was going through tough times, hasn't even been mentioned in the film – Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray.

What remains unclear is whether filmmaker Raju Hirani and Sanjay Dutt deliberately dropped the Bal Thackeray episode from the film or whether some other factor came into play.

While it’s okay that they skipped mentioning Bal Thackeray, why did the film offer special thanks to Bal Thackeray’s nephew Raj Thackeray in its credits? It is not unknown that only after Bal Thackeray offered to help, Sanjay Dutt was granted bail after 18 months in jail.

Let us revisit the episode and find out how Congress MP Sunil Dutt had to seek help from Bal Thackeray.

Let’s rewind to the 1993 Mumbai blasts. The minute Sanjay Dutt’s name cropped up following investigations, the film industry went into a shock. Sunil Dutt was a Congress MP and extremely respected in the film industry. Sunil Dutt went from door to door, approaching everyone who could help his son. Neither the then chief minister, nor the then prime minister or any other minister helped him out. 

Time flew by and Sanjay Dutt had already spent more than a year in jail. It was difficult for him to get bail because he was sentenced under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) or the TADA Act.

In 1995, Shiv Sena and the BJP alliance took over from the erstwhile Congress govt. Bal Thackeray hd complete control of the newly formed government

When Sunil Dutt found help from nowhere else, his in-law Rajendra Kumar and actor Shatrughan Sinha advised him that if there was anyone who could help, it was Thackeray. 

Sunil Dutt was in a dilemma. Bal Thackeray's party Shiv Sena and the Congress were opponents. Sunil Dutt and Bal Thackeray had political differences too. Sunil Dutt was an MP from Mumbai's Bandra which had a high number of Muslim voters. Meeting Bal Thackeray could hamper Dutt's political career.

Also, in the aftermath of the Babri demolition, Shiv Sena’s role in the riots triggered in Mumbai was under scrutiny. Sunil Dutt led a ‘Shanti Yatra’ then which crossed Bal Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’.

When Sunil Dutt mentioned this to Rajendra Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha, they asked him not to worry. Following Kumar and Sinha's appeal, Bal Thackeray agreed to meet Sunil Dutt. Dutt has mentioned on several occasions that only after Bal Thackeray offered to help, Supreme Court granted bail to Sanjay Dutt on 16 October 1995, after he spent 18 months in jail.

After being released on bail, Sanjay Dutt headed straight to the Siddhi Vinayak temple. From there, instead of going home, he went to meet Bal Thackeray at his residence ‘Matoshree’. Dutt touched his feet and sought his blessings.

Now after the film's release, the video of Sanjay Dutt meeting Bal Thackeray back in 1995 is going viral on social media. This makes the picture clear now.

(Originally published on QuintHindi)

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