In a film career spanning more than 35 years, Dutt has won two Filmfare Awards, two IIFA Awards, two Bollywood Movie Awards, three Screen Awards, three Stardust Awards, a Global Indian Film Award and a Bengal Film Journalist's Association Award. Four of his films have won various National Film Awards.
Dutt was born to Hindi cinema actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis. His mother died in 1981, shortly before his debut film's premiere; her death has been cited as the cause of his drug addictions. As a child actor, Dutt appeared in the 1972 film Reshma Aur Shera, which starred his father; he appears briefly as a qawali singer.
Dutt married actress Richa Sharma in 1987. Sharma died of brain tumour in 1996. The couple have a daughter, Trishala, born in 1988, who lives in the United States with her grandparents, following a custody battle with Dutt after the death of his wife. Dutt's second marriage was to model Rhea Pillai in 1998. They divorced in 2005. Dutt married Manyata (born Dilnawaz Sheikh) in 2008 in a private ceremony in Goa, after two years of dating. On 21 October 2010, he became a father to twins, a boy and a girl.
Sanjay Dutt made his Bollywood movie debut with the box office hit Rocky in 1981. He went on to star in Vidhaata, the highest grossing Hindi film of 1982 along with the super hit Main Awara Hoon (1983). In 1985 he shot for his first film in three years, Jaan ki Baazi (1985). This was Sanjay's first film post what is now referred to as his drug phase years, when personal problems and a number of films that had been completed before his departure to the USA flopped at the box office, after which he had contemplated not returning to films. Jaan ki Baazi marked a comeback for Dutt and he appeared in successful films throughout the 80s such as Imaandaar, Inaam Dus Hazaar, Jeete Hain Shaan Se (1988), Mardon Wali Baat (1988), Ilaaka (1989), Hum Bhi Insaan Hain (1989), Kanoon Apna Apna (1989), and Taaqatwar (1989).
The 1986 blockbuster Naam (1986 film) was Dutt's first major critical success and a turning point in his career, the film firmly cemented him amongst India's finest young mainstream leading actors as he earned praise for his portrayal of an illegal immigrant in Dubai who spirals into a life of crime. His performances in both Kabzaa (1988) and J. P. Dutta's 1989 Hathyar. were also both well received by critics although both films only managed average collections at the box office. In the late 1980s he was seen in a number of multi-starrers alongside actors like Govinda, Mithun, Dharmendra, Jackie Shroff and Sunny Deol.
His successes continued in the 1990s, with films that include Tejaa, Khatarnaak, Zahreelay, Thanedaar, Khoon Ka Karz, Yalgaar, Gumrah, Sahibaan, and Aatish: Feel the Fire. He went on to star in some of the most era-defining Indian films of the early 1990s such as Sadak, Saajan (for which he was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award) and Khal Nayak, for which he earned his second Filmfare Best Actor Award nomination. Three weeks before its release, however, in April 1993, he was arrested, charged with involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings. Dutt was unable to act for the next four years due to his subsequent arrests and bails. Although many incomplete films were released featuring Dutt during this time, all of them were unsuccessful except for the 1994 hit Aatish with Aditya Pancholi, which was completed before his 1993 arrest.
Dutt's first film after his 1993 arrest was Daud (1997). It did not sustain its phenomenal opening at the box office and was declared a flop. He followed this with the 1998 Dushman but all credit for the film's success was given to lead actress Kajol. 1999 was an excellent year for Dutt and one that is regarded as his comeback, with all of his five releases being amongst the highest-grossing films of that year. He began it by starring in the Mahesh Bhatt-directed hit Kartoos, followed by Khoobsurat, Daag: The Fire, Haseena Maan Jayegi and Vaastav: The Reality, for which he won his first Filmfare Best Actor Award. His role in 2000's Mission Kashmir won him critical acclaim and a number of awards and nominations, as did his subsequent performance in Kurukshetra. As the decade went on, he continued to play lead roles in popular and critical successes such as Jodi No.1 (2001), Pitaah (2002), Kaante (2002) and the National Award-winning blockbuster Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003), which garnered him several awards. Later successes came with Musafir (2004), Plan (2004), Parineeta (2005) and Dus (2005). He won critical acclaim for his performances in Shabd (2005) and Zinda although both films only fared averagely at the box office.
The blockbuster sequel Lage Raho Munna Bhai was released in late 2006. He received a number of awards for his performance in the film along with an award from the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his work in the Munna bhai series. In the same year news channel NDTV named him Indian of the Year. He also sang and danced in a music video with Asha Bhosle called Asha and Friends, directed by S Ramachandran. Although he was going through a successful time professionally and receiving great acclaim for his performance in Lage Raho Munna Bhai, this coincided with the start of the Mumbai bombing's trial. The nation became transfixed with Dutt's court ongoings which saw him found not guilty of terrorism related acts but jailed for short periods on two occasions between 2006–2007, as he was found guilty under the Possession of Arms Act. He was granted bail, enabling him to star in successes like Dhamaal (2007), Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007), All the Best (2009), Double Dhamaal (2011), Son of Sardaar (2012) and Agneepath (2012) for which he won a number of awards as the psychotic villain Kaancha. His latest role was as a supporting character in the Bollywood film PK, which he completed before being sentenced to imprisonment in early 2013, for the possession of illegal arms verdict handed out to him in 2006.
In January 2008, the Indian film Institute Filmfare listed 12 films featuring Dutt in its top 100 highest-grossing movies of all-time list. In its May 2013 edition 100 years of Indian cinema Filmfare listed three films featuring Dutt in its top 20 list of highest-grossing Hindi films of all time, adjusted for inflation these films were Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Khalnayak and Saajan.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra announced on 29 September 2016 that production on the third Munna Bhai film, starring Dutt in the title role, would begin in 2017. He is also due to appear as the lead in Bhoomi, directed by Omung Kumar. Movie,, also starring Aditi Rao Hydari, is scheduled to be released on 22 September 2017.
Dutt co-hosted the fifth session of the Indian reality show Bigg Boss along with Salman Khan. The show aired on Colors television from 2 October 2011 to 7 January 2012. Dutt later said it was Khan who persuaded him to co-host the show.
Dutt and entrepreneur Indian Premier League-cricket team owner Raj Kundra together launched India's first professionally- organised mixed martial arts league — the Super Fight League — on 16 January 2012.
Bombay suffered a series of serial bombings in 1993. Dutt was among several people associated with Bollywood who were accused of involvement. Dutt was accused of accepting a delivery of weapons at his house from Abu Salem and co-accused Riyaz Siddiqui, who had also been implicated in relation to the Mumbai blasts. It was claimed that the weapons formed a part of a large consignment of arms connected to the terrorists.
In April 1993, he was arrested under the provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). Dutt was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India in October 1995 but was re-arrested in December 1995. He was again released on bail in April 1997. The case came to court in 2006 and during the period of 2006–2007, Dutt spent seven months in Arthur Road Jail and Pune prison on three occasions for the offences.
Abdul Qayyum Abdul Karim Shaikh, who was thought to be a close aide of the terrorists' ringleader, Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested. Dutt had given Qayuum's name to the police when confessing to arms possession, saying that in September 1992 he had bought a pistol from Qayuum in Dubai.
On 31 July 2007, the TADA court sentenced Dutt to six years' rigorous imprisonment for illegal possession of weapons and cleared him of charges relating to the Mumbai blasts. According to The Guardian, "The actor claimed he feared for his life after the notorious "Black Friday" bombings, which were allegedly staged by Mumbai's Muslim-dominated mafia in retaliation for deadly Hindu-Muslim clashes a few months earlier. But the judge rejected this defence and also refused bail." Dutt was returned to jail at Arthur Road and soon after moved to the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune.
Dutt appealed against the sentence and was granted interim bail on 20 August 2007 until such time as the TADA court provided him with a copy of its judgement. On 22 October 2007 Dutt was back in jail but again applied for bail. On 27 November 2007, Dutt was granted bail by the Supreme Court. On 21 March 2013 the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the TADA court but shortened the sentence to five years' imprisonment. Dutt was given a month to surrender before the authorities.
Dutt has said that "I am not a politician but I belong to a political family." He was persuaded by a close friend to contest the 2009 Lok Sabha elections as a candidate for the Samajwadi Party but withdrew when the court refused to suspend his conviction. He was then appointed General Secretary of the party, leaving that post in December 2010.
In March 2013 the Supreme Court upheld Dutt's five-year sentence, 18 months of which he already spent in jail during the trial. He was given four weeks to surrender to the authorities, the court having refused to release him on probation due to the severity of the offence.
With analysts believing that his imprisonment would have a significant impact on the fortunes of Bollywood, people from the movie business made statements of support following the ruling and some said that they would be making appeals for him to be pardoned. On 10 May, the Supreme Court rejected Dutt's review petition for the reconsideration of his conviction and asked him to surrender on the stipulated date. On 13 May, the Supreme Court rejected appeals filed by two film producers who were seeking more time for the actor to surrender so that he could complete two of his under-production films. On 14 May, Dutt withdrew the mercy plea and surrendered to the Mumbai Police on 16 May 2013. Just before the surrender, the Mumbai jail authority got an anonymous letter threatening Dutt's life. Dutt filed an appeal to allow him to surrender before Yerwada Central Jail. Later, Dutt withdrew this request too. Dutt subsequently surrendered in court as ordered. He was paroled from 21 December 2013. The parole was extended three times until March 2014, raising concern in Mumbai High Court and a proposal from the Government of Maharashtra to amend the law of parole. He returned to Yerwada prison after his parole ended. Dutt was out on a two weeks' furlough granted by the Yerwada Central Jail authorities on 24 December. He said "I have lost 18kg. Now if I lose any more weight, I will vanish." Sanjay Dutt was subsequently incarcerated in Yerwada Central Jail, to complete his jail term. He was released from there on 25 February 2016 after serving his sentence.
A biographical film is currently filming on the life of Dutt, in which Ranbir Kapoor portrays the title character.1992: Nominated, Best Actor for Saajan1994: Nominated, Best Actor for Khalnayak2000: Winner, Best Actor for Vaastav: The Reality2001: Nominated, Best Actor for Mission Kashmir2003: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for Kaante2004: Winner, Best Comedian for Munnabhai M.B.B.S.2006: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for Parineeta2007: Nominated, Best Actor for Lage Raho Munna Bhai'2000: Winner, Best Actor for Vaastav: The Reality2001: Nominated, Best Actor for Kurukshetra2001: Winner, Best Supporting Actor for Mission Kashmir2004: Nominated, Best Actor for Munnabhai M.B.B.S.2005: Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for Musafir2000: Winner, Best Actor for Vaastav: The Reality2001: Nominated, Best Actor for Mission Kashmir2007: Nominated, Best Actor for Lage Raho Munnabhai 2010: Winner, Best Performance in a Comic Role for All the Best 2006: Winner, Global Indian Film Awards, Critics Choice Awards – Best Actor (Male) for Lage Raho Munna Bhai2004: Winner, Stardust Star of the Year Award - Male, Munnabhai M.B.B.S.2007: Winner, Stardust Star of the Year Award - Male, Lage Raho Munnabhai2013: Winner, Stardust Award for Best Actor in Negative Role, Agneepath2001: Winner, Zee Premiere Choice- Male for Mission Kashmir2007: Winner, Zee Cine Awards – Best Actor (Male) Critics Awards for Lage Raho Munnabhai2003: Winner, Bollywood Movie Award - Critics Award Male for Kaante2004: Winner, Bollywood Movie Award - Most Sensational Actor for Munnabhai M.B.B.S.2004: Winner, BFJA Awards, Best Actor for Munnabhai M.B.B.S. 2004: Winner Celebrity Style Male at the Bollywood Fashion Awards