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Sunil Dutt
A still of the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Sunil Dutt in New Delhi on April 15, 2005.jpg
Dutt at his New Delhi office in 2005.
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
In office
22 May 2004 – 25 May 2005
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Preceded by Vikram Verma
Succeeded by Mani Shankar Aiyar
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
Preceded by Ram Jethmalani
Succeeded by Madhukar Sarpotdar
Constituency Mumbai North West
In office
Preceded by Madhukar Sarpotdar
Succeeded by Priya Dutt
Constituency Mumbai North West
Personal details
Balraj Dutt

(1929-06-06)6 June 1929
Nakka Khurd, Punjab Province, British India
(present-day Punjab, Pakistan)
Died 25 May 2005(2005-05-25) (aged 75)
Mumbai, India
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality Indian
Political party Indian National Congress
(m. 1958; died 1981)
Children 3, including Sanjay Dutt and Priya Dutt
Relatives See Dutt family
Residence(s) Bandra, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Actor
  • producer
  • director
  • politician
Awards Padma Shri (1968)

Sunil Dutt (born Balraj Dutt; 6 June 1929 - 25 May 2005) was an Indian film actor, producer, director and politician. He was the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in the Manmohan Singh government (2004–2005). He was a former Sheriff of Mumbai. He is the father of actor Sanjay Dutt and politician Priya Dutt.

In 1968, he was honoured by the Padma Shri by the Government of India. In 1984 he joined the Indian National Congress party and was elected to the Parliament of India for five terms from the constituency of Mumbai North West.

Early life

Sunil Dutt was born on 6 June 1929 to father Diwan Raghunath Dutt and mother Kulwantidevi Dutt. in Nakka Khurd, Punjab Province, British India (now in Punjab, Pakistan). 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 friend with Dutt's father, saved their entire family. The family resettled in the small village of Mandauli on the bank of the river Yamuna located in Yamuna Nagar, Punjab, which is now a district of Haryana. Later he moved to Lucknow with his mother, Kulwantidevi Dutt, and spent a long time in Aminabad during graduation. He then moved to Bombay (present-day Mumbai), where he joined Jai Hind College as an undergraduate and took up a job at the city's BEST Transportation Engineering division. He graduated with B.A. (Hons.) in History in 1954.

Early career

Starting out in radio, with his command over the Urdu language, 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.

Film career

Nargis tends to an injured Sunil Dutt during the filming of Mother India
Nargis tends to an injured Sunil Dutt during the filming of Mother India

Debut and coining of the screen name "Sunil Dutt"

Director Ramesh Saigal was instrumental in giving Dutt a break in the film Railway Platform (1955) when the latter was hosting the show, Lipton Ki Mehfil on Radio Ceylon. While covering the Dilip Kumar film Shikast in 1953, Dutt met director Saigal, who impressed by his personality and voice, offered him a role in his upcoming film. Saigal came up with the new screen name "Sunil Dutt" for the debutante actor whose real name was Balraj Dutt to avoid name conflicts with the then veteran actor Balraj Sahni.

Rise to stardom

Sadhna 1958 (cropped)
Dutt in 1958

Dutt shot to stardom in the 1957 film Mother India in which he co-starred with Nargis as her short-tempered, angry son. During the making of this film a fire happened on the set. It is believed that Dutt braved the raging fire to save Nargis and thereby won her love. They went on to marry in 1958. They 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), Insan Jaag Utha (1959), Sujata (1959), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Khandan (1965), Mera Saaya (1966) 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 made his directorial debut and was the only actor to feature in the 1964 film Yaadein. The film was featured in the Guinness Book of Records for Fewest Actors in a Narrative Film. He later produced the 1968 film Man Ka Meet which introduced his brother Som Dutt, Vinod Khanna and Leena Chandavarkar. In 1971, he produced, directed and starred in Reshma Aur Shera (1971) which was critically well received but a box office failure.

During the early 1970s, his career as an actor was at a stand-still. Admist this setback, he played Madhubala's hero in the 1971 film Jwala, which was a delayed film that had started production in the late 1950s and was Madhubala's last film. It was Geeta Mera Naam (1974) that brought him into the limelight again. The anti-hero was reborn after a long gap of films like Mother India and Mujhe Jeene Do. Sunil Dutt's performance of Johnny was liked by the masses as he clearly stole the limelight. It was one of the best performances of his career. He continued to star in hits that included Heera (1973), Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), Nagin (1976), Jaani Dushman (1979), Muqabla (1979), and Shaan (1980). 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). Even in 1980s he starred in both leading and supporting role in several successful movies such as Dard Ka Rishta (1982), Badle Ki Aag (1982), Raaj Tilak (1984), Mangal Dada (1986), Watan Ke Rakhwale (1987) and Dharamyudh (1988).

He launched his son Sanjay's career with Rocky in 1981 which was a success. Shortly before the film's release, Nargis died of pancreatic cancer. He founded the Nargis Dutt Foundation in her memory for the curing 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 Bombay, an apolitical titular position bestowed on him by the Maharashtra government for a year.

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 that he claimed was for protection of his family after bomb blasts in Bombay.

In 1995, he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the film industry for four decades. He returned to acting shortly before his death in 2003's Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. in which he shared the screen with son Sanjay for the first time although they had appeared earlier in Rocky and Kshatriya but did not share any scenes together.


Shri Sunil Dutt assumes the charge of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in New Delhi on May 25, 2004
Sunil Dutt assumes the charge of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in New Delhi on 25 May 2004

Sunil Dutt died of a heart attack on 25 May 2005 at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai, two weeks before his 76th birthday, At the time of his death, he was the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports in the Union Government led by Dr. Manmohan Singh and was the Member of Parliament from North-west Mumbai. He was cremated with full state honours at Santacruz Crematorium in Mumbai. He was succeeded as Minister by Mani Shankar Aiyar. His seat in the Parliament was contested by his daughter, Priya Dutt, who won it and was a Member of Parliament until May 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 Bombay
  • 1995 – Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 1998 – Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award
  • 1999 – Screen Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2000 – Lifetime Achievement Award at the Anandalok Awards
  • 2001 – Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Dutt was a recipient of the Glory of India Award by IIFS, London.


As an Actor
Film Year Role Director Notes
Railway Platform 1955 Ram Ramesh Saigal
Kundan 1955 Amrit Sohrab Modi
Rajdhani 1956 Naresh Saigal
Kismet Ka Khel 1956 Prakash Verma Kishore Sahu
Ek-Hi-Raasta 1956 Amar B.R. Chopra
Mother India 1957 Birju Mehboob Khan
Paayal 1957 Mohan Joseph Taliath
Sadhna 1958 Mohan B.R. Chopra
Post Box 999 1958 Vikas Ravindra Dave
Insaan Jaag Utha 1959 Ranjeet Shakti Samanta
Didi 1959 Gopal K. Narayan Kale
Sujata 1959 Adhir Bimal Roy
Usne Kaha Tha 1960 Nandu Moni Bhattacharjee
Hum Hindustani 1960 Surendra Nath Ram Mukherjee
Ek Phool Char Kaante 1960 Sanjeev Bhappi Sonie
Duniya Jhukti Hai 1960 Mohan / Bankelal J.B.H. Wadia Double Role
Chhaya 1961 Arun/Poet Rahee Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Main Chup Rahungi 1962 Kamal Kumar A. Bhimsingh
Jhoola 1962 Dr. Arun K. Shankar
Aaj Aur Kal 1963 Dr. Sanjay Vasant Joglekar
Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke 1963 Anilkumar G. Sahni R. K. Nayyar
Nartakee 1963 Professor Nirmal Kumar Nitin Bose
Mujhe Jeene Do 1963 Thakur Jarnail Singh Moni Bhattacharjee Won 1964 Filmfare Best Actor Award
Gumraah 1963 Rajendra B. R. Chopra
Yaadein 1964 Anil Sunil Dutt Also Director & Producer
Gazal 1964 Ejaaz Ved-Madan
Beti Bete 1964 Ramu/Krishna L. V. Prasad
Waqt 1965 Advocate Ravi Yash Chopra
Khandan 1965 Govind Shankar. Lal A. Bhimsingh Won Filmfare Best Actor Award
Mera Saaya 1966 Thakur Rakesh Singh Raj Khosla
Maitighar 1966 Sunil B.S. Thapa Special Appearance in Nepali Film
Gaban 1966 Ramnath Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Amrapali 1966 Magadh Samrat Ajatashatru Lekh Tandon
Milan 1967 Gopi/Gopinath Adurthi Subba Rao BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) – Sunil Dutt
Hamraaz 1967 Kumar B. R. Chopra
Mehrban 1967 Kanhaiya A. Bhimsingh
Sadhu Aur Shaitaan 1968 Catholic Priest D'souza A. Bhimsingh Guest Role
Padosan 1968 Bhola Jyoti Swaroop
Gauri 1968 Sunil Kumar A. Bhimsingh
Pyasi Sham 1969 Raja Amar Kumar
Meri Bhabhi 1969 Raju Khalid Akhtar
Jwala 1969 Sunil M. Krishnan Nair Guest Role
Chirag 1969 Ajay Singh Raj Khosla
Bhai Bahen 1969 Surendra Pratap A. Bhimsingh
Darpan (1970) 1970 Balraj Dutt Adurthi Subba Rao
Bhai-Bhai 1970 Deep/Ashok/Sangram Raja Nawathe Double Role
Reshma Aur Shera 1971 Shera Singh Sunil Dutt Director & Producer
Jwala 1971 Jwala M.V. Raman Delayed Film
Zameen Aasmaan 1972 Ravi A Veerappan
Zindagi Zindagi 1972 Dr. Sunil Tapan Sinha
Jai Jwala 1972 Sunil Manohar Deepak
Man Jeete Jag Jeet 1973 Bagga Daaku / Baghel Singh B.S. Thapa Punjabi Film
Heera 1973 Heera Sultan Ahmed
Geeta Mera Naam 1974 Suraj/Johnny Sadhana Negative Role
Kora Badan 1974 Sunil B.S. Ghad Guest Role
Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye 1974 Raja Thakur S. Ali Raza
Dukh Bhanjan Tera Naam 1974 Sadhu B.S.Thapa Guest Role in Punjabi Film
36 Ghante 1974 Himmat Singh Raj Tilak Negative Role
Zakhmee 1975 Anand Raja Thakur
Umar Qaid 1975 Raja Sikandar Khanna
Neelima 1975 Sunil Pushpraj Guest Role
Himalay Se Ooncha 1975 Vijay B.S. Thapa
Nagin 1976 Vijay Rajkumar Kohli Supernatural Thriller
Nehle Pe Dehla 1976 Sunil Raj Khosla
Darinda 1977 Krishna/Yogidutt Kaushal Bharati
Gyaani Ji 1977 Pilot Sardar Hari Singh Chaman Nillay Punjabi Name : Sat Sri Akal (1977)
Paapi 1977 Raj Kumar O. P. Ralhan
Ladki Jawan Ho Gayi 1977 Sunil Anand Dasani
Charandas 1977 Advocate Tondon B.S. Thapa Guest Role
Aakhri Goli 1977 Vikram Shibu Mitra
Ram Kasam 1978 Bhola/Shankar Chand Double Role
Kaala Aadmi 1978 Birju Ramesh Lakhanpal
Daaku Aur Jawan 1978 Birju Sunil Dutt
Muqabla 1979 Vikram 'Vicky' Rajkumar Kohli
Jaani Dushman 1979 Laakhan Rajkumar Kohli Horror Thriller
Ahinsa 1979 Birju Chand
Salaam Memsaab 1979 Naresh Sarit Asrani Guest Appearance
Shaan 1980 DSP Shiv Kumar Ramesh Sippy
Yari Dushmani 1980 Shambhu Sikandar Khanna
Lahu Pukarega 1980 Jitu Akhtar-Ul-Iman
Ganga Aur Suraj 1980 Inspector Ganga A. Salaam
Ek Gunah Aur Sahi 1980 Shankar Ramdas Yogi Kathuria
Rocky 1981 Shankar Sunil Dutt Guest Appearance
Badle Ki Aag 1982 Lakhan Rajkumar Kohli
Dard Ka Rishta 1982 Dr. Ravi Kant Sharma Sunil Dutt Producer & Director
Laila 1984 Dharamraj Singh / Thakur Prithviraj Singh Saawan Kumar Double Role
Yaadon Ki Zanjeer 1984 Ravi Kumar Shibu Mitra Film delayed for 5 years
Raaj Tilak 1984 Jai Singh Rajkumar Kohli
Faasle 1985 Vikram Yash Chopra
Kala Dhanda Goray Log 1986 Gauri Shankar / Michael Sanjay Khan
Mangal Dada 1986 Mangal Dada Ramesh Gupta Film Delayed for 6 Years
Watan Ke Rakhwale 1987 Jailor Suraj Prakash T. Rama Rao
Dharamyudh 1988 Thakur Vikram Singh Sudarshan Nag
Yeh Aag Kab Bujhegi 1991 Prof. Kishna Sunil Dutt
Kurbaan 1991 Prithvi Singh Deepak Bahry
Pratigyabadh 1991 Pascal Ravi Chopra
Hai Meri Jaan 1991 Telegram Wala Roopesh Kumar Guest Role
Virodhi 1992 Police Commissioner Rajkumar Kohli
Kshatriya 1993 Maharaj Bhavani Singh J.P. Dutta
Parampara 1993 Thakur Bhavani Singh Yash Chopra
Phool 1993 Balram Choudhary Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. 2003 Hari Prasad Sharma Rajkumar Hirani
Lage Raho Munna Bhai 2006 Shri Hari Prasad Sharma Rajkumar Hirani Photo used in many scenes as Munna's Father
Om Shanti Om 2007 Magadh Samrat Ajatashatru Farah Khan Recreated Via CGI during the song "Dhoom Tana"
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