The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday sentenced Sanjay Dutt to five years in jail for illegal possession of a pistol and a rifle during the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
Dutt was given a six year jail term by the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court but was granted bail in 2007 by the SC. The court reduced his jail term to five years. The actor has already served 18 months in jail and he will now have to serve three years and six months. He has four weeks time to surrender before the court.
During the three years and six months, Dutt will not be able to shoot for any films, the court said on Thursday.
The action star, who is the son of Sunil and Nargis Dutt, made his film debut when he was 22 years old with "Rocky" which was released in 1981. He first appeared as a child artiste in 1972 film "Reshma Aur Shera" as a qawali singer.
His second movie was "Vidhaata" in 1982 which was the highest grossing film. After that, Dutt appeared in many successful films like "Main Awara Hoon", "Jeeva", "Jeete Hain Shaan Se", "Ilaaka", "Hum Bhi Insaan Hain" and "Taaqatwar".
In 1993, Dutt's role in the superhit film "Khalnayak" was critically appreciated and he was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award. But before the release of the films, he was arrested in connection with the blasts in Mumbai.
Since then, the actor was in and out of jail over the years. In July 2007, the actor was arrested again for illegal possession of weapons. He was released on bail in November 2007.
Since his release, Dutt has acted in more than 30 Bollywood films and has also delivered many hits.
The actor, who has been facing trial in the Mumbai blasts case for the past two decades, is reportedly worth more than ₹250 crore in the entertainment industry. Several big producers have roped him in for their projects.
"While approximately films worth ₹250 crore were under production with him, money is not a question here. It is a big jolt to the industry. He is one of the prominent personality in the film fraternity. Everyone had forgotten about the charges and the verdict has come as a rude awakening call and shock for the whole industry," trade analyst and film critic Amol Mehra said, PTI reported.
The court's verdict will affect his films that are currently under pre-production. The film includes Rajkumar Hirani's "P.K (PeeKay)", "Policegiri" and Karan Johar's "Unglee".
P.K. (Peekay): Raj Kumar Hirani's "P.K" officially went on floors on 1 February. But according to reports, the actor has already finished shooting his part. The film features Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma in the lead roles and is slated for a 2014 release.
Policegiri: The film features Dutt and Prachi Desai in the lead roles and the fate of the film is unclear. It is currently being shot in Hyderabad and Chennai. The film's producer said that the budget of the film is around ₹25 crore and there are only 15 days of shooting is left.
Zanjeer: The film is directed by Apoorva Lakhia of "Shootout At Lokhandwala" fame and is produced by Amit Mehra. Dutt's conviction will affect the film that has been wrapped up and is in the post-production stage. It features Priyanka Chopra and Telugu actor Ram Charan Teja
Several of his other movies set to release in 2013-14 are "Munnabhai Chale Dilli", "Chamki Chameli", "Ghanchakkar" and "Jab Jab Fools Mile".
But the biggest setback will be for "Munnabhai Chale Delhi" that features Dutt in the lead role. It is the third installment film in the "Munnabhai" series and director Subhash Kapoor is set to replace Rajkumar Hirani in the film. The film was expected to go on floors in 2013, but after the court's verdict the producer and director will take the final call.
"I can't imagine Munna Bhai series without Sanjay Dutt. But unfortunately, things are not in our hands," Subhash Kapoor told IANS.
"I will have to speak to the producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra about it. I can't take a call on that. In the next two days, we will have a chat and discuss what needs to be done. Our film has not yet gone on floors, but just imagine about other producers and directors, who have done films half-way with Sanjay."