Sanjay Dutt has lung cancer

NEW DELHI • Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, whose life is so colourful and tragic that it became the subject of a biopic, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, according to Indian media reports on Wednesday.

The Hindi-language actor, nicknamed "Deadly Dutt", served time in prison for possessing guns supplied by gangsters responsible for bombings in Mumbai in 1993. He has also battled drug addiction.

On Tuesday, Dutt issued a statement on social media saying he was "taking a short break for some medical treatment".

Press reports later quoted a tweet from respected film trade journalist Komal Nahta saying that the 61-year-old has been diagnosed with lung cancer and will travel to the United States for treatment.

Dutt shot to fame in the mid-1980s in a string of action movies in which he performed his own stunts, earning him his nickname. But he was also struggling with substance abuse, including heroin and cocaine, that was said to have been sparked by the pain of losing his mother, Indian screen icon Nargis Dutt, to cancer.

After a break, he returned with a string of hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including Jeete Hain Shaan Se (We Live With Style, 1987), Saajan (Beloved, 1991) and Khal Nayak (Villain, 1993).

But his life took a dramatic turn when he was arrested following the orchestrated bombings in Mumbai, then called Bombay, in March 1993 that killed 257 people.

Dutt was eventually convicted in 2006 of holding guns supplied by mafia bosses who carried out the blasts.

He was originally given a six-year term and spent 18 months in prison before being released on bail in 2007, pending an appeal. In 2013, his conviction was upheld, but his prison term was cut to five years, and he was sent back to jail before being released early in 2016.

Dutt has been married thrice. His first wife, actress Richa Sharma, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1987 and died in 1996.

His second marriage to model Rhea Pillai ended in 2008 and he married former actress Manyata later that year.

In 2018, a film about his life, Sanju, was released, covering the period from just before his Bollywood debut with romantic drama Rocky in 1981 to his release from jail in 2016.

His new film, Sadak 2 (Road 2), is due to release on Disney+ Hotstar later this month.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2020, with the headline 'Sanjay Dutt has lung cancer'. Subscribe