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News Hindi

Baljeet Parmar, who first reported Sanjay Dutt's impending arrest in 1993, decides not to watch Sanju

In a long Facebook post, Parmar gave his views on the film and the reasons for deciding to stay away from the cinema halls. 

Baljeet Parmar and Sanjay Dutt

Our Correspondent

Sanju, a biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt, starring Ranbir Kapoor, has been doing great business at the box office. The film has pocketed over Rs180 crore nett in six days in India.

However, the film is now beginning to draw flak from the media for the way director Rajkumar Hirani has demonized the press, projecting Dutt as a victim of false reportage.

Veteran crime reporter Baljeet Parmar was the man who first broke the news of Sanjay Dutt's alleged connection with the Bombay bomb blasts of 12 March 1993. Parmar, however, has no interest in watching the film.

A few days ago, Parmar wrote a long post on his Facebook page, giving his views on the film and the reasons for deciding to stay away from the cinema halls.

“I strongly feel that it is a waste of time to discuss merits or demerits of films like Sanju or its subject, Sanjay Dutt," Parmar wrote. "Hirani and his ilk are out there to make a quick buck. That is their business and they have every right to do it. They are there to compose fiction and not portray facts. Fiction is soft. Facts are hard. One is very easy to manufacture, the other is difficult to gather.

"The so-called biopics are tailored to suit the man or the woman they are based on. They are not [meant] to inspire the audiences, but are there to create a smokescreen to blur their minds."

About why he is not keen to watch the film, Parmar wrote, “The use or misuse of drugs, sleeping with women, branding media as an addictive potion, finding faults with system or society, willingly and knowingly indulging in criminal activity, showing no remorse for your past actions, playing the sympathy card and crying victim, if that is what Sanju is about, I do not regret my decision of staying away from cinema halls.”

Read Baljeet Parmar's complete post below:

Parmar worked with The Daily, a tabloid started by legendary newspaperman RK Karanjia in the early 1980s and now out of publication, when he first wrote about Sanjay Dutt's illegal possession of an AK-56 assault rifle.

Interestingly, this was not a story he went looking for; he just happened to stumble upon it. Parmar's report appeared on 16 April 1993 with the headline, 'Sanjay has AK-56 gun'. Rajat Sharma, now a prominent television personality, was the editor of The Daily at the time.

"It was 12 April, a month after the Mumbai blasts took place. I had gone to the Mahim police station. The investigation into the blasts was taking place and the police were hopeful of finding some clues. I met an IPS officer and asked him what new detail has emerged. He replied that your MP’s son's name has cropped up," Parmar told BBC News Hindi. 

Parmar did not understand this at first but soon realized that the officer was talking about Sunil Dutt, then a member of Parliament from the erstwhile Bombay North West constituency, within whose limits Parmar also lived.

Parmar later called an investigating officer at the police station to confirm the information. “Have you guys arrested the MP’s son in connection with the blasts,” he asked. The officer replied, "Not yet as the son is shooting abroad." Sanjay Dutt was then in Mauritius shooting for Aatish (1994).

Later, Parmar learnt through his sources that Mohammad Hanif Usman Shaikh and Samir Hingora were arrested and had confessed to giving Sanjay Dutt an AK-56 rifle. 

Parmar's report was published on 16 April.

Sanjay Dutt was arrested in connection with the Bombay blasts under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, or TADA, an anti-terrorism law that was later repealed. Dutt was later acquitted of the charge under TADA, but in 2013, he was convicted for illegal possession of arms under the Arms Act and sentenced to five years in prison.