Sunil Dutt (6 June 1930 – 25 May 2005), born Balraj Dutt, was an Indian movie actor, producer, director and politician. He was the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in the Manmohan Singh government (2004–2005). His son, Sanjay Dutt, is also an actor, while daughter Priya Dutt, a former Member of Parliament.
In 1968, he was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India. In 1984 he joined the Indian National Congress party and was elected to Parliament of India for five terms from the constituency of Mumbai North West.
Sunil Dutt was born on 6 June 1930 in Khurd village, Jhelum district, Punjab Province, British India. When he was five years old, Dutt's father died. When he was 18, the Partition of India began inciting Hindu-Muslim violence across the country. A Muslim named Yakub, who had been friends with Dutt's father, saved their entire family. The family resettled in a small village on the bank of river Yamuna called Mandauli in Yamuna Nagar, Punjab, is now a district of Haryana. Later he moved to Lucknow and spent a long time in Aminabad Galli during graduation. He then moved to Bombay, where he joined Jai Hind College as an undergraduate and took up a job at the city's BEST Transport division.
Starting out in radio, Sunil Dutt was hugely popular on the Hindi service of Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. He moved to acting in Hindi films and got introduced to the industry with 1955's Railway Platform.
He shot to stardom in the 1957 film Mother India where he co-starred with Nargis, whom he married on 11 March 1958. Dutt played a short-tempered, angry son of Nargis. During the making of this film a fire happened on the sets. It is believed that Dutt braved the raging fire to save Nargis and thereby won her love.
He had one son Sanjay Dutt, also a successful film actor and two daughters, Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt. His daughter Namrata married Kumar Gaurav, son of Rajendra Kumar. The two fathers were co-stars in Mother India.
Dutt was one of the major stars of Hindi cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s and continued to star in many successful films which included Sadhna (1958), Sujata (1959), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Khandan (1965) and Padosan (1967). His collaboration with B.R. Chopra proved to be successful in films such as Gumraah (1963), Waqt (1965) and Hamraaz (1967). One of his favourite writers and friends was Aghajani Kashmeri. Dutt created a record of sorts by directing and starring in the unique film Yaadein (1964) in which he was the only actor. He later turned producer of the 1968 film Man Ka Meet which introduced his brother Som Dutt who was unsuccessful in films. In 1971 he produced, directed and starred in the big-budget period romantic film Reshma Aur Shera (1971) which was a huge failure at the box office. He continued to star in hits that included Heera (1973), Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), Nagin (1976) andJaani Dushman (1979). He also starred in a series of Punjabi religious movies in the 1970s: Man Jeete Jag Jeet (1973), Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam (1974), and Sat Sri Akal (1977).
He launched his son Sanjay's career with Rocky in 1981 which was a success. Shortly before the film's release, Dutt's wife died of pancreatic cancer. He founded the Nargis Dutt Foundation in her memory for the cure of cancer patients. He was a sponsor of the India Project, an organisation akin to Operation Smile for the treatment of Indian children with facial deformities.
In 1982 he was appointed as the Sheriff of Mumbai, an apolitical titular position bestowed on him by the Maharashtra government for a year.
He turned character actor in the 1980s often playing an elderly police officer or patriarch at the centre of family feuds. He retired from the film industry in the early 1990s to turn to politics after his last few releases including Yash Chopra's Parampara (1992) and J.P.Dutta's Kshatriya (1993). His political career was halted for some years in the early 1990s when he worked to free his son from jail after he was arrested for keeping an AK-56, a Pistol and hand grenades that he claimed was for protection of his family after bomb blasts in Mumbai.
In 1995 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry for four decades. He returned to films shortly before his death in 2003's Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. He shared the screen with son Sanjay for the first time although they had appeared earlier in Rocky (1981) and Kshatriya (1993).
Sunil Dutt died of a heart attack on 25 May 2005 at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai. His seat in Parliament was contested by his daughter, Priya Dutt, who won it and was a member of parliament from North West Mumbai between November 2005–April 2014.
Awards and honours
- 1963 – Filmfare Best Actor Award for Mujhe Jeene Do
- 1964 – National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi for Yaadein
- 1965 – Filmfare Best Actor Award for Khandan
- 1967 – BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) for Milan
- 1968 – Padma Shri
- 1982 – Sheriff of Mumbai
- 1995 – Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1997 – Star Screen Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1998 – Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award
- 2000 – Lifetime Achievement Award at the Anandalok Awards
- 2001 – Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement
- 2005 – Phalke Ratna Award by the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy.
- Dutt was a recipient of the Glory of India Award by IIFS, London.
-  Archived 13 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Sunil Dutt – film star, peace activist, secularist, politician extraordinary". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 26 May 2005.
- "Phalke award for B.R. Chopra : Happenings News". ApunKaChoice.Com. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- "Tribute to a son of the soil". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 25 May 2007.
|Railway Platform (1955)||Ram|
|Ek Hi Raasta (1956)||Amar|
|Kismet Ka Khel (1956)||Pratap|
|Mother India (1957)||Birju|
|Insaan Jaag Utha (1959)||Ranjeet|
|Ek Phool Char Kaante (1960)||Sanjeev|
|Hum Hindustani (1960)||Surendra Nath|
|Chhaya (1961)||Arun / Rahee|
|Main Chup Rahoongi (1962)||Kamal Kumar|
|Mujhe Jeene Do (1963)||Thakur Jarnail Singh|
|Nartaki (1963)||Professor Nirmal Kumar|
|Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke (1963)||Anilkumar G. Sahni|
|Aaj Aur Kal (1963)||Dr. Sanjay|
|Beti Bete (1964)||Ramu|
|Mera Saaya (1966)||Thakur Rakesh Singh|
|Chirag (1969)||Ajay Singh|
|Jwala (1971)||(This was Madhubala's last movie)|
|Reshma Aur Shera (1971)||Shera|
|Zameen Aasmaan (1972)||Ravi|
|Geeta Mera Naam (1974)||Johnny|
|36 Ghante (1974)||Himmat|
|Nagin (1976)||Professor Vijay|
|Paapi (1977)||Raj Kumar|
|Kala Aadmi (1978)||Birjoo|
|Daaku Aur Jawaan (1978)|
|Jaani Dushman (1979)||Lakhan|
|Shaan (1980)||Inspector Shiv Kumar|
|Rocky (1981)||Rocky's Father (Guest Appearance)|
|Badle Ki Aag (1982)||Lakhan|
|Dard Ka Rishta (1982)||Dr Ravi|
|Raaj Tilak (1984)||Jai Singh|
|Dharam Yudh (1989)|
|Kurbaan (1991)||Prithvi Singh|
|Yeh Aag Kab Bhujegi (1991)|
|Parampara (1992)||Thakur Bhavani Singh|
|Phool (1993)||Balram Choudhary|
|Kshatriya (1993)||Maharajah Bhavani Singh|
|Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)||Hariprasad Sharma|