6 June 1929
Jhelum, Punjab, British India
|Died||25 May 2005
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director, politician|
|Height||6 ft (1.8 m)|
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Spouse(s)||Nargis (1958–1981; her death)|
|Children||Sanjay Dutt, Priya Dutt, and Namrata Dutt|
Sunil Dutt (सुनील दत्त (Hindi); ਸੁਨੀਲ ਦੱਤ (Punjabi)) (6 June 1929 – 25 May 2005), born Balraj Dutt, was an Indian Hindi movie actor (also acted in many Punjabi movies), producer, director and politician. He was the cabinet minister for Youth Affairs and Sports in the Manmohan Singh government (2004–2005). His son, Sanjay Dutt, is also an actor.
In 1984 he joined the Congress (I) party and was elected to Parliament for five terms from the constituency of Mumbai North West. In 1968, he was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
Early life 
Sunil Dutt was born in a Punjabi Mohyal family on 6 June 1929 in Jhelum, West Punjab, British India (now in Pakistan) which is about 172 km from Lahore and 102 km from Rawalpindi. When he was five years old, Dutt's father died. When he was 18, the Partition of India began inciting Muslim-Hindu violence across the country. A Muslim named Yakub, who had been friends with Sunil's father, saved their entire family. The family resettled in a small village on the bank of river Yamuna called Mandoli in Yamuna Nagar district of Haryana. Later he moved to Lucknow and spent a long time in Aminabad Galli during graduation and to fulfill his dreams he moved to Bombay/Mumbai. In Mumbai, he joined Jai Hind College as an undergraduate and took up at the Mumbai's BEST Transport division.
Starting out in radio, Sunil Dutt was hugely popular on the Hindi Service of Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. He moved to acting in Hindi films and got introduced to the film industry in the 1955 film Railway Platform. He shot to the stardom in the 1957 film Mother India in which he co-starred with Nargis, whom he married on 11 March 1958. In the film, Dutt played a short-tempered, angry son of Nargis. During the making of this film a fire accident happened on the sets. It is believed that Dutt braved the raging fire to save Nargis and thereby won her love.
He had one son Sanjay Dutt, also a successful film actor and two daughters, Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt(Anju). His daughter Namrata married Kumar Gaurav, son of Rajendra Kumar. The two fathers were good friends and also co-stars in Mother India.
Dutt was one of the major stars of Hindi Cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s and continued to star in many successful films which included Sadhna (1958), Sujata (1959), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Khandaan (1965) and Padosan (1967). His collaboration with B.R. Chopra proved to be successful in films such as Gumraah (1963), Waqt (1965) and Hamraaz (1967). One of his favourite writers and friends was Aghajani Kashmeri. Dutt created a record of sorts by directing and starring in the unique film Yaadein (1964) in which he was the only actor in the cast. He later turned producer of the 1968 film Man Ka Meet which introduced his brother Som Dutt who was unsuccessful in films. In 1971 he produced, directed and starred in the big-budget period romantic film Reshma Aur Shera (1971) which was a huge failure at the box office. He continued to star in hit films which included Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), Nagin (1976), Jaani Dushman (1979) and Shaan (1980). He also starred in a series of Punjabi religious movies in the 1970s: Man Jeete Jag Jeet (1973), Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam (1974), and Sat Sri Akal (1977).
He launched his son Sanjay's career with the film Rocky in 1981 which was a success. Shortly after the film's release, Dutt's wife died of pancreatic cancer. He founded the Nargis Dutt Foundation in her memory for the cure of cancer patients. He was also a sponsor of the India Project, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated organization akin to Operation Smile for the treatment of Indian children with facial deformities.
In 1982 he was appointed as the Sheriff of Mumbai, an apolitical titular position, a position bestowed on him by the Maharashtra government for the period of a year. He turned character actor in the 1980s often playing an elderly police officer or family patriarch at the centre of family feuds. He retired from the film industry in the early 1990s to turn to politics after his last few film releases including Parampara (1992) and Kshatriya (1993). His political career was halted for some years in the early 1990s when he worked to free his son from jail after he was arrested for keeping AK-56, one pistol and few Hand Grenades - which he claimed was for protection of his family after soon to happen Bomb Blasts in Mumbai. Police never checked whether he had prior knowledge of blasts or not.
In 1995 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry for four decades. He returned to films shortly before his death in the 2003 film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.. In this film he shared the screen with son Sanjay for the first time although they had both appeared earlier in Rocky (1981) and Kshatriya (1993) but did not appear in any scenes together.
He died of a heart attack at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai in his sleep. His seat in Parliament was contested by his daughter Priya Dutt, who eventually won it and is a Member of Parliament from North West Mumbai. His death coincided with the death of film producer Ismail Merchant who was famous for his Merchant-Ivory productions.
Awards and honours 
- 1963 - Filmfare Best Actor Award for Mujhe Jeene Do
- 1964 - National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi for Yaadein
- 1965 - Filmfare Best Actor Award for Khandaan
- 1967 - BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) for Milan
- 1968 - Padma Shri
- 1982 - Sheriff of Mumbai
- 1995 - Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1997 - Star Screen Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1998 - Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award
- 2000 - Lifetime Achievement Award at the Anandalok Awards
- 2001 - Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 2005 - Phalke Ratna Award by the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy.
- Dutt was a recipient of the Glory of India Award by IIFS, London.
Selected filmography 
|Railway Platform (1955)||Ram|
|Ek Hi Raasta (1956)||Amar|
|Mother India (1957)||Birju|
|Ek Phool Char Kaante (1960)||Sanjeev|
|Hum Hindustani (1960)||Surendra Nath|
|Chhaya (1961)||Arun / Rahee|
|Main Chup Rahoongi (1962)||Kamal Kumar|
|Mujhe Jeene Do (1963)||Thakur Jarnail Singh|
|Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke (1963)||Anilkumar G. Sahni|
|Aaj Aur Kal (1963)||Dr. Sanjay|
|Beti Bete (1964)||Ramu|
|Mera Saaya (1966)||Thakur Rakesh Singh|
|Jwala (1971)||(This was Madhubala's last movie)|
|Reshma Aur Shera (1971)||Shera|
|Geeta Mera Naam (1974)||Johnny|
|36 Ghante (1974)||Himmat|
|Nagin (1976)||Professor Vijay|
|Paapi (1977)||Raj Kumar|
|Kala Aadmi (1978)||Birjoo|
|Daaku Aur Jawaan (1978)|
|Jaani Dushman (1979)||Lakhan|
|Shaan (1980)||Inspector Shiv Kumar|
|Rocky (1981)||Rocky's father (guest appearance)|
|Badle Ki Aag (1982)||Lakhan|
|Dard Ka Rishta (1982)||Dr Ravi|
|Raaj Tilak (1984)||Jai Singh|
|Dharam Yudh (1989)|
|Kurbaan (1991)||Prithvi Singh|
|Yeh Aag Kab Bhujegi (1991)|
|Parampara (1992)||Thakur Bhavani Singh|
|Phool (1993)||Balram Choudhary|
|Kshatriya (1993)||Maharajah Bhavani Singh|
|Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)||Hariprasad Sharma|
|Om Shanti Om (2007)||guest appearance in song "Dhoom Tanna" through CGI special effects.|
|What's Up (2013)||Babuji (through CGI special effects)|
Further reading 
- Mr. and Mrs. Dutt: Memories of our Parents, Namrata Dutt Kumar and Priya Dutt, 2007, Roli Books. ISBN 978-81-7436-455-5.
- Darlingji: The True Love Story of Nargis and Sunil Dutt, Kishwar Desai. 2007, Harper Collins. ISBN 978-81-7223-697-7.
See also 
- "Bollywood legend Sunil Dutt dies". BBC News. 25 May 2005.
- "Sunil Dutt — film star, peace activist, secularist, politician extraordinary". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 26 May 2005.
- "Tribute to a son of the soil". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 25 May 2007.
- To Mr. and Mrs. Dutt, with love (Literary Review) The Hindu, 7 October 2007.
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