Bollywood fraternity on Thursday reacted with shock and dismay to Sanjay Dutt having to return to jail, calling it a "massive blow" even as trade analysts estimated that about Rs 250 crore will be locked up in big budget film projects involving the star.
The 53-year-old actor will have to spend three-and-a-half years in jail after the apex court reduced to five years the six year jail term awarded to him by a designated TADA court in 2006. Dutt has already spent one and half years in jail and was out on bail. The court has given the actor four weeks time to surrender.
Actor Arshad Warsi, well-known for his role as Dutt's sidekick 'Circuit' in 'Munnabhai' wrote: "I am numb, I don't know what to say. Sanjay Dutt is not a criminal. This is too harsh a decision."
Director-producer Karan Johar, who has signed Dutt in his upcoming film 'Ungli', said, "I am truly shattered to hear of Sanju's sentence... the nicest guy I have known just doesn't deserve this... My heart goes out to him." Director Subhash Kapoor, who was recently signed on to shoot the third 'Munnabhai film, said he was surprised by the judgement.
"I am in shock and surprised. I personally expected the Supreme Court to be more lenient to him. Have no words to express my shock," Kapoor told PTI.
When asked whether the judgement will affect the fate of the third Munnabhai film, Kapoor said, "It's too early to comment on this issue. My producers Vidhu Vinod Chopra is in America now and Raju (Hirani) is busy shooting 'Peekay'. Once Vidhu gets back, I will speak to him about this. The film was in a very nascent stage."
Hrithik Roshan, who played Dutt's adopted son in 'Mission Kashmir' in 2000, said the actor did not deserve it.
"I cannot comprehend. I know the law is the law. But I can bet my life to say that Sanju sir doesn't deserve this! The most loved man! I stand for Sanjay Dutt." Actress Bipasha Basu tweeted: "Saddened and shocked with the news about Sanjay Dutt's jail sentence. Strength to him and his family."
"As per the back-of-the-envelope calculations, around Rs 250 crore are riding on Sanjay, involved in various projects. These projects include big ticket upcoming movies 'Peekay', 'Policegiri', 'Zanjeer', 'Ungli' among others," film industry sources said.
When contacted, a top source at Dharma Productions said, "Bollywood is distraught over the SC judgement. The shooting of 'Ungli' concerning Sanjay Dutt's part is complete and only some portion of it is remaining to be completed."