Priya Dutt, Congress leader and former Member of Parliament (MP) from Mumbai, on Thursday said that her family would “forever be grateful and indebted” to the late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray for lending support to her brother, actor Sanjay Dutt, during his trying times.
Dutt said that the bond between the Dutt family and Thackeray solidified when the Shiv Sena patriarch had come out in support of Sanjay after he was charged with the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
“I remember at that time everybody used to give statements against our family and my brother, claiming that was a terrorist. And out of all those voices, I think there was one voice, who said that ‘this boy cannot be a terrorist because his family has always worked for the people of the country’. And that was the voice of Balasaheb,” she said.
Recalling her memories of Balasaheb, Dutt said once, when Sanjay was in jail and the family was going through a tough time, she landed up at Thackeray’s residence out of sheer frustration. “I had gone to the jail to meet my brother and I was very upset. I saw my father sitting on a bench in one corner. It was a very frustrating time as my brother was not getting bail and nothing was happening. I was so frustrated that I got into the car and I don’t know how I landed up at Balasaheb’s house, alone. I had never gone there before.”
She said that the Shiv Sena leader had immediately called her inside and met her. “For me to be able to reach out to him, it meant a lot.” Dutt said that she still has “great respect” for Thackeray’s son and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his family.
A biopic on Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, titled Thackeray, released on Friday (January 25). The movie stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the firebrand politician and is written by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and directed by Abhijit Panse.