Sunil Dutt Death Anniversary: ​​How big was Dutt sahab's heart really

He had miraculously escaped from the jaws of death which was not the first time for him! He was travelling in a small plane with a few co-passengers on one of his missions to help suffering humanity! - Ali Peter John

By Bollyy
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Sunil Dutt Death Anniversary
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He had miraculously escaped from the jaws of death which was not the first time for him! He was travelling in a small plane with a few co-passengers on one of his missions to help suffering humanity! The plane suddenly developed a snag, and within minutes it crashed into the fields a few hundred kilometers away from Mumbai! He was a normal man at that time and he realised that, if something was not done soon, all the passengers on board would burn to ashes, including him! He decided to do something that no normal man would dare to do...

He kept pushing all the other passengers out one by one until they were on safe ground but they all kept worrying about the Messiah who had saved people in different ways at different times.

Daring Rescue: Behind the Scenes of 'Mother India

The most daring attempt he made to save another human being was when he was shooting for his debut film “Mother India” with his fellow-struggler Rajendra Kumar and the heroine of the film Nargis. It was a scene in which Nargis had to be trapped in a fire in a huge haystack that Mehboob Khan had set up in Billimoria, Gujarat, where Mehboob Khan was born. The flames kept rising and Nargis rushed into the haystack like the brave woman she was always known to be. But suddenly, the haystack caught fire and the entire unit watched helplessly as the greatest Indian heroine Nargis was abandoned to her fate by her helpless fans.

Truly Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) had such a big heart - Ali Peter John

It was a quick decision taken by the young Sunil Dutt and he jumped into the raging fire and came out carrying the badly burnt Nargis in his arms! She was playing his mother in the film but in a brave gesture of a young man who had just started his career, he risked his own life to save hers. Their association turned into friendship and gradually into love and finally into a small and solemn wedding of a Hindi groom and a Muslim bride which created a huge controversy but neither Sunil Dutt nor Nargis cared about the words of the people and started life in a building on Marine Drive. They were called “Le Chateau” and had their first son, Sanjay, followed by his sisters Namrata and Priya. Nargis took a long break from acting and Sunil Dutt grew into a leading star with a bungalow of his own on Pali Hill and was a producer with his own banner, Ajanta Arts and was recognised as a formidable actor.

Anyway to come back to the air crash Sunil Dutt single handedly kept on saving the passengers and when he was left alone there was chaos all around. He saved the last passenger and there were only a few seconds left for the plane to go into flames when Sunil Dutt finally jumped out but not before suffering severe burns. He was recognised by the labourers working in the fields as Sunil Dutt the actor who had walked the same road during his pilgrimage for peace from Mumbai to Chandigarh and all arrangements were made to take him to Breach Candy hospital where he had to spend three months bedridden and could come out of his room only in the early morning for his physiotherapy treatments when this writer along with the now deceased wrestler Randhawa, younger brother of the legendary Dara Singh and the late actor-social activist Ram Mohan visited him almost every morning.

Truly Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) had such a big heart - Ali Peter John

Eventually he was discharged from the hospital and had to take the help of a stick. During this time I was admitted to a private hospital in Andheri due to various complications in my body. Sunil Dutt, the Messiah and “Vishwashantidoot” came to know about my condition and he rushed to the hospital with his stick and some of his close friends. During his first visit itself he gave me an advice which I can never forget. He said, “You can overcome and conquer any crisis with the power of your mind”. He used to visit me almost every day at 7:30 am and when he could not come due to some problems he appointed a committee of some sort to look after my health and continued to look after me till I was discharged after a month. I often feel that it was his support and the support of a person like Subhash Ghai that kept me alive through one of the most severe crisis of my life.

We kept in touch almost every week and would meet at his office in Sunrise Building on Linking Road or at one of the best eating places as he loved to eat good food wherever he could find it. It was during one of these meetings that he came up with an idea. He asked me to keep myself free the next day as he had a plan in mind. He didn't tell me what the plan was, but his request was an order to me...

Truly Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) had such a big heart - Ali Peter John

I reached his Pali Hill bungalow at 7.30 am and we had a sumptuous breakfast of toast, butter and his favourite keema and paya. He said, “Eat whatever you can right now because you won’t get time to eat throughout the day”. Before we set out on our mission, a senior journalist passed a comment about the keema served and said, “Dutt sahab your keema ka baas bahut achcha aata hai”, Dutt sahab stopped him and without thinking about the seniority or power of the journalist said, “Abe idiot insaan, achcha keema ki kabhi baas nahi aati, sukh aati hai, tumne to keema khane ka maza hi kaam samkar ka diya”. The journalist who was known as the “superman among journalists” had gone quiet till Dutt sahab said, “Chalo jaane bhi do, aapka kaam keh gaya gaya na, ab humko humara kaam do naa”.

We boarded an Ambassador car together which he said was the most comfortable car to travel in and before eight, we got down in one of the most crowded lanes of Parel. He was still walking with a stick and climbed two wooden floors without any difficulty as I followed him at half his speed. A huge crowd had gathered to see him and he kept waving to them. His secret mission was accomplished only when I entered a small room in a chawl in Parel. I was in for a big shock when I saw the one time great comedian and filmmaker Bhagwan Dada sitting on a wooden chair which was also his make shift toilet. He was completely paralysed and could hardly speak. However he recognised Sunil Dutt and tried to dance his favourite “Albela” dance movements on his chair. His face lit up again when the whisky bottle was revealed in Sunil Dutt’s hand and he took the bottle, kissed it, put it on his head and started swaying. This was the same Bhagwan Dada who had a bungalow of his own, a film production company, a fleet of the finest cars and hundreds of servants and other workers in uniform! He had made some wrong decisions and made flop films and to add insult to injury, his own relatives cheated him of all that he had...

Truly Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) had such a big heart - Ali Peter John

We kept talking about Bhagwan Dada till we reached Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital. It was great to see an entire ward in the hospital named after Nargis Dutt, his wife, who along with her husband raised crores of rupees for the treatment of cancer patients and equipment required for cancer treatment and eventually succumbed to cancer herself on May 3, 1981. When we reached a particular ward I learned that Sunil Dutt had made it a point to meet Rajan Haksar, a popular villain of one time, who was dying of brain cancer. We were not allowed to enter the ward, but Sunil Dutt left a message for the actor and asked his family to let him know if they needed any help...

We continued towards Chembur and reached the house of the legendary actor Ashok Kumar. It was a shock to see the forever smiling and joking Ashok Kumar sitting in a corner, his face had turned dark and his curly hair was showing signs of thinning. The actor who was known as one of the best homeopaths in the country and was even known to cure cancer when diagnosed at an early stage, was now dying of cancer himself. He tried his best to hide his pain and told us stories of the early days of Sunil Dutt and Nargis and how he had seen Raj Kapoor wearing shorts and going to school in Chembur. However, we were not allowed to go until we had a very delicious lunch. That was the last time we could see Dadamoni by the name of Ashok Kumar, I was in a desperate state when he died and I could not go to his funeral, however hard I tried. It is a decision I will always regret...

Truly Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) had such a big heart - Ali Peter John

As we were leaving Dadamoni's huge bungalow, we came across veteran actress Nalini Jaywant who was staying in the bungalow opposite Dadamoni's bungalow. She had worked with Sunil Dutt as his heroine in the fifties but showed no signs of recognizing Sunil Dutt and we had to leave her as she was. We later learned that she was suffering from Alzheimer's and had lost her memory. Soon we heard that she had gone missing and was never heard of again...

It was about to be evening when we reached a chawl in Chembur. There in a corner of a room, we saw the figure of an old man dressed in simple pyjamas and a vest facing the wall. The man was once the most popular villain K.N.Singh who had also lost his memory. He would sleep all day and all night and wake up sharp at 7.20 am to have his two sips of rum and then go back to sleep and wake up the next morning at 7.20 am for his next round of rum, it was hard to believe. That this man who put the fear of the devil in heroes like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna was the same man who was lying to himself, lost in his own world, and did not even know whether he was alive or dead...

Truly Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) had such a big heart - Ali Peter John

That whole day I learned the biggest lesson of my life from Sunil Dutt, whom I had the privilege of knowing very closely, a leader and a star who loved to be in the company of a simpleton like me and who also sought my support. He was fighting his biggest battle to save his son Sanjay Dutt.

He deserved a much better life. He was one of the most honest politicians and when the party he represented decided to recognize his contribution, they appointed him as the Union Minister of State for Sports he did not pay heed to it and till the time he was in Kanpur, he worked his heart out to promote sports and returned to Mumbai and told his family and staff not to wake him up early as he was very tired.

Truly Dutt Sahab (Sunil Dutt) had such a big heart - Ali Peter John

He didn't wake up for that in the morning. Sunil Dutt, the kind of Indian India will always need, is one of a kind born only once and it would do all our leaders including our Prime Minister and his entire cabinet to know more about the precious life of an Indian like Sunil Dutt. It would do far more good than all the new slogans coined by them almost every other day to distract the attention of Indians who can only be saved if we have half a dozen leaders with the zeal to work for a better India and a better life. For Indians like Sunil Dutt, who once slept outside a hair-cutting saloon in central Mumbai and later became an announcer on Radio Ceylon which gave him his passport to a world (Hindi films) that he tried to change to the best of his ability and till the last breath of his life.

If only Dutt Saheb had lived a few more years, how many people would have benefited!

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