Actor / Producer / Director Hindi

Sunil Dutt

Sunil Dutt Biography

Born : 06 June 1929, in Jhelum, Pakistaan

Death : 25 May 2005, in Bandra, Mumbai,India

Balraj Dutt, popularly known as Sunil Dutt, was one of the most prominent figures during the Golden Age of Indian cinema. An actor, producer, and director, he made his mark in Bollywood due to his involvement with some of the most iconic films of the 20th century such as Mother India (1957), Sadhna (1958), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Nagin (1976), and several others. He was also the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports from 2004 to 2005, and an involved and keen politician. Born in 1930, in Punjab's Jhelum district, which was a part of Pakistan at that time, Dutt saw himself right in the midst of India's Independence struggle. He moved to Haryana after the Partition, with the help of a Muslim family friend. Till the end of his life, Dutt was nostalgic about his roots, and even went to visit Pakistan twice on the invitation of the Prime Minister. Starting off as an undergraduate in Jai Hind College, and later an employee with Mumbai's BEST Transport, he did not begin with any inclinations toward film.

He came into the public eye through radio, where he was a popular RJ on Radio Ceylon, one of the oldest stations in South Asia. From there, he was noticed by director Ramesh Saigal, who was impressed by his strong presence, which led to his entry into films, starting off with Railway Platform (1955). But his first major hit was Mother India (1957), where he acted alongside the well-known Bollywood actress Nargis, whom he later went on to marry.

The 1960s were his most prolific years where he starred in many major films such as Ek Phool Char Kaante (1960), Hum Hindustani (1960), Gumraah (1963), Waqt (1965), Humraaz (1967), Padosan (1968), and Chirag (1969). He acted in a number of popular films in the 1970s as well, with hits like Jwala (1971), Geeta Mera Naam (1974), Nagin (1976), and Jaani Dushman (1979). As a director, he was not as successful, however, his movie Rocky (1981), where he launched his son Sanjay Dutt to fame, was well-loved by audiences.

Apart from mainstream Bollywood, Dutt undertook a number of unique film projects, such as being cast as the sole actor in the film Yaadein (1964), and a series of Punjabi devotional films like Man Jeete Jag Jeet (1973), Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam (1974), and Sat Sri Akal (1977).

Sunil Dutt’s final movie was Munnabhai MBBS (2003) where he performed a cameo role as the father of the protagonist, Sanjay Dutt, who is also his actual, biological son.

Dutt won a number of awards during his time, including the Padma Shri in 1968. Apart from that, he won the Filmfare Best Actor Awards for Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), and Khandan (1965), as well as the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. He also won the National Film Award for Yaadein (1964) as the Best Feature Film. Internationally, he was also acclaimed and given the Glory of India Award in London by the IIFS.

The death of his wife, Nargis in 1981, due to pancreatic cancer, deeply affected him. It led to his founding the Nargis Dutt Foundation and also his sponsorship of the India Project, which was involved with promoting treatment for patients of cancer. His family grew on to become prominent names within the film industry and politics, with Sanjay Dutt as a renowned actor, and Priya Dutt as a politician and one of his strongest supports during Sunil Dutt’s stint as a member of the Parliament. His daughters Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt Kumar also co-authored a book titled Mr. and Mrs. Dutt: Memories of our Parents in 2007, that detailed the experiences of the Dutt family.

Sunil Dutt died on 25 May 2005 due to a heart attack at the age of 74. His political responsibilities were taken up by his daughter Priya Dutt. Dutt remains one of the most important figured in Indian film history due to his immense talent and social involvement outside of the industry.

 

Family Tree

Spouse
Nargis (1958 - 1981)