Dear Yerawada jail authorities,
Ever since you granted actor Sanjay Dutt a 14-day leave of furlough on October 1 and then extended it by another 14 days, I along with many other people have been wondering which movies you have been watching lately. Because, since the news broke and various news anchors have described you as being star-struck and overwhelmed by Dutt’s film status, we have been struck by the unfairness of it all.
How could a 54-year-old convict, in seemingly good health, be granted a month’s respite when a similar appeal by the 74-year-old Zaibunissa, who suffers from kidney cancer, has not even been processed despite her daughter Shagufta’s efforts? Which brings me to the question once more: Gentlemen, which films have you been watching lately?
Definitely not Kaila in which an upright and intransigent jail warden, Raghveer Singh, (played by Pran) manfully stands up against jailbird Kaila’s (played by Amitabh Bachchan) long legged and hirsute charms. “Haven’t you heard of my record?” Bachchan insolently asks the older man. “That of making jail wardens resign or go on holiday?”
“I too have a record,” snarls Pran. “That of making jail birds never want to return to jail once they leave.”
Gentlemen, if Amitabh Bachchan himself was given such short shrift by his jailor, is it too much to ask that you resist the charisma of a far lesser actor like the Dutt boy?
Why don’t you get your cable operator to screen the Rohit Shetty hit Singham? Surrounding the very well connected Jaikant Shirke (played by Prakash Raj) a posse of khaki-clad vigilantes led by Ajay Devgun demonstrate how to resist brute power and deliver a resounding box office hit at the same time.
Now, I have seen quite a few Sanjay Dutt films and though his loopy smile in Khalnayak was quite endearing, I don’t think his acting in even a single movie compares with that of Raj’s.
Forget Singham, do yourselves a favour and rent the Nana Patekar crime thriller Yashwant. Fast forward to the scene in which the incandescent cop Patekar smites his prisoner, draws blood and then eyes aflame, tells him why his own blood and that of his prisoner’s is different. “Mine is the blood of a man whose mother can hold her head up high,” he raves.
Were none of you inspired by that scene, or the other one from the same film in which he croons that memorable song ‘One mosquito can make a man turn into a transsexual’, to awaken his prisoner’s sense of remorse?
Gentlemen, the issue is clear. We have been fortunate that in our lives we have known some very great and celebrated convicts: Manoj Kumar in Shahid, Sanjay’s father Sunil in Ram Kasam, Amitabh in Zanjeer and Neil Nitin Mukesh in Jail.
They have been men of as much, or even more, star power as Sanjay Dutt. And yet, in film after film they have been treated even-handedly and received no special favours.
Which brings me to the ailing Zaibunissa. Frankly, there are a lot of us who feel that if she had been played by Nirupa Roy, or Achala Sachdev, her case would have been much stronger as far as you’re concerned and she too would have been granted furlough or, at least, parole a long time ago.
Think about it. I’m sure you’ll get my drift.
Yours sincerely, etc
Malavika Sangghvi can be contacted at malavikasangghvi @hotmail.com