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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Film fraternity rallies behind Sanjay Dutt

Film personalities today rallied behind actor Sanjay Dutt after he was given a six-year jail term in the 1993 serial blasts case, saying he had got punishment that exceeded the "error" he had committed.

Members of the film fraternity said the actor, the son of late MP Sunil Dutt, had already been in prison for over one- and-half years, which should suffice as his punishment.

"I think whatever punishment has been meted out to him, it far exceeds the error committed by him...People have forgotten the circumstances under which the error was committed," said yesteryears actress Saira Banu.

Actor and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha said he felt sad for Dutt and his family. "I feel Sanjay became a victim of a conspiracy of circumstances," Sinha said in Simla.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who is close to Dutt, said: "It's an ongoing nightmare. There seems to be no relief."

Director Madhur Bhandarkar argued that Dutt had already spent 16 months in prison following his arrest in 1993.

Describing the sentence as "upsetting", director Kunal Kohli said, "My full sympathy is with him and his family. I can't even imagine what his family is going through.

"It is a very sad day and I think he has already suffered a lot...He has already paid for whatever has happened," Kohli said. "I admire the way he is dealing with it (the crisis)."

Mahesh Bhatt, who directed Dutt in several movies, said: "It is certainly a dark day for people who know Sanju. It is like a replay of events."

Saira Banu, whose husband Dilip Kumar filed an affidavit endorsing Dutt's character in the special TADA court, said people seemed to have forgotten the good work done by the actor, especially in the aftermath of the 1993 blasts when he picked up the wounded from the streets and took them to hospital.

"You know when there is some kind of catastrophe, sometimes in such a situation, someone does wrong. But my god, what a punishment," she said.

Actress Kirron Kher said, "I think he has already suffered. He must have known that he will have to suffer a little more and he has decided to accept it with grace."

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