'I have partied a lot when I was growing up; now I want to spend time at home with the people I love,' says Sanjay Dutt aka Adheera from K.G.F: Chapter 2
The actor talks about playing Adheera in K.G.F: Chapter 2, his battle with cancer, his life off-camera and why comedy is a difficult genre
Sanjay Dutt is back on-screen as Adheera in K.G.F: Chapter 2. He opens up about his love for action films, the women in his life and his children.
Some men grow old, others wear their war wounds with pride while forging a new path and making the most of what they have. Actor Sanjay Dutt falls under the latter category. The 62-year-old actor is back on-screen as Adheera in K.G.F: Chapter 2. In its opening weekend, the multilingual movie broke box office records with its impressive collection worldwide, and it has revived Dutt’s on-screen avatar as a dreaded villain.
In real life, however, Sanju Baba, as he is fondly called by colleagues and fans, is a far cry from the ruthless character he has portrayed in his latest film. “I look tough, but I am quite a softie,” reveals the actor who in the past has done his fair share of philanthropy by helping cancer patients and the underprivileged. Though his controversial life and the high-profile weapons case that he was involved in have proven to be hurdles, the veteran actor has worked hard to stay in the business and is still going strong. As Adheera, he has upped the bar for antagonists in Indian commercial cinema. He says it was his wife who pushed him to sign the film. “My wife had watched K.G.F and had been raving about it. Then when I was approached to play Adheera, I thought it was an interesting character. Prashanth (Neel) is such an amazing director. The way he directed Yash as Rocky in K.G.F was just outstanding and I knew he would do justice to my character as well. That’s why I agreed to do the film,” he tells us.
The high octane action sequences and the out-an-out commercial dialogues of the film are reminiscent of Hindi cinema from the ’80s and ’90s. Dutt, who has been part of these movies during the early years of his career, is hoping that such films will make a comeback. “In South India, they continue to make such movies. I think it’s time Bollywood did the same — the heroism, the high-speed shots, the style, swag, and great action. I miss the ’90s-era films,” says the actor.
The making of K.G.F 2 came with its own set of challenges for Dutt. The actor was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2020, just before he started shooting for the movie. The news sent shockwaves through the fraternity and his community of fans and followers, who had excitedly welcomed his first look as Adheera on the actor’s birthday in July. But the actor shares that he didn’t let his diagnosis take over his life.
“Mentally, it affected me for the first two hours after it was confirmed. But after that, I decided to fight it. I had to become fit and honestly, I don’t know how I recovered. It was God’s blessings, my mother’s and father’s prayers, and the prayers of my fans that helped me get better. It wasn’t difficult for me. I worked out and did everything possible to recover. Now, I am back in the gym and getting back on track,” says the actor. When he resumed shooting in November, the crew was slightly concerned but Dutt says, after the first three hours, everyone was convinced that he could handle it. “It was a different experience. But it was so wonderful to be in that zone after so long. To be in a film that is centred on heroism — the kind of films that we have grown up watching and making — it was just amazing! I was the happiest I had been in a long time,” he says.
While his films Sadak and then K.G.F 2 have kept him busy, Dutt’s free time is dedicated to his family. A person who was known to be a party animal, he has changed over the years and now enjoys his quiet time. His wife Manyata Dutt, their twins Shahraan and Iqra, his daughter from his first marriage, Trishala, and his sisters Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt are his priorities. “I am a family-oriented person and I like to spend time with them. Everyone reaches a stage when they stop wanting to go out and party every night. I think I have done too much of that when I was growing up. Now I want to sit at home with the people I love. My (late) mom, sisters, wife, and my two daughters Trishala and Iqra, and my son Shahraan are my strength. Shahraan is a strong boy. He plays fantastic soccer, does karate and he does well in school too. I am very proud of him,” he says. When asked if his twins have watched him as Adheera or in any of his other movies, Dutt is quick to answer, “I am just their papa. They are too young to get excited when they see me on-screen. They have their own heroes. They like Spider-Man, Avengers, and Thanos, and they love Tiger Shroff.”
Sanju, the biopic about his life, revealed a lot more about him that was not covered in news reports, and the actor says his life has been full of lessons. When asked if there’s something he wants to share with his fans, Dutt says, “You have to face difficulties head-on, don’t get into the trap of drugs and alcohol to escape your problems. Be focused and be with your family but most importantly be humble.”
Now that K.G.F 2 is doing really well, and has helped Dutt rekindle his love for action films, the actor is keen on pursuing the genre. “I felt I had done everything and that’s when Adheera came up. There’s always some surprise that comes your way and you keep learning. I feel I haven’t stopped learning, even after so many years in the industry. Now, I am going to concentrate on action films like Denzel Washington and Kevin Costner. I want to do their kind of movies,” says the actor. But Dutt is also an ace at doing comedy movies. Although he starred with Govinda in a few comedy flicks in the ’90s, his role as Munna Bhai in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S and Lage Raho Munna Bhai proved that this action hero can also make people laugh with his effortless comedy. “I love doing comedy. It’s a very difficult genre to do and it’s more challenging than action. The timing has to be right. I have done so many films like Jodi No.1 and Haseena Maan Jayegi with Govinda. These were great films and they did well. It’s good to see people in the audience laugh when they watch such films. I haven’t decided on anything yet but a comedy may be in the offing. Right now, it’s all about Adheera. He is our answer to Thanos,” he signs off.