Indian jails are a university for nurturing criminals: Sanjay Dutt

Actor Sanjay Dutt says he tried to find humour in the mundaneness of prison life
Sanjay Dutt speaks at an Off the Cuff event in Mumbai | Source: Vasant Prabhu/ThePrint

Actor Sanjay Dutt says Indian prisons and judicial system desperately need reform; backs capital punishment for heinous crimes.

Far from being places of reform, Indian prisons are turning into a “university” for grooming criminals, said actor Sanjay Dutt.

Dutt, 58, has just completed his sentence in a terror case linked to the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, which he said took 25 years of his life. The Indian prisons and judicial system, he said, desperately need reform, as he saw a number of families break down because of the sheer sluggishness of the justice delivery mechanism.

Yet, he took everything in his stride, trying to read and find humour in the daily mundaneness of prison life, he said in a freewheeling conversation at ‘Off the Cuff’ with Shekhar Gupta in Mumbai Tuesday.

On the politically and legally controversial issue of capital punishment, Dutt was, however, less merciful. “We shouldn’t get rid of it (capital punishment),” he said. There are certain “heinous crimes”, which do not deserve anything less than capital punishment, he said, as he drew the audience’s attention to the murder of the seven-year-old boy in a Gurugram school.

Dutt said he is now looking forward to investing time in the industry, which he admits has changed over the years. “It has become more corporate and more professional, which is good in a way,” he added. Movies are being made in budgets and within a fixed time period, with actors investing all their time in one film at a time, he said.

However, the “bonding” and “togetherness” which defined filmmaking in the past has ceased to exist now, he regretted. “Everything today has got to do with money, which is sad, I think,” he said.

Dutt, the son of yesteryear stars Sunil Dutt and Nargis, is of the view that the debate on nepotism in the industry is unwarranted. “I don’t think it plays a role at all in the industry because ultimately you maybe a son or daughter of anybody, and that the first film will happen. But after that, you have to prove yourself. So, I don’t believe in that all,” he said.

The packed audience was taken over by the ‘Munna Bhai’ actor’s endearing charm, with members from the audience repeatedly throwing their weight behind the actor, who they said, had a “childlike quality” to him.

1 COMMENT

  1. The cursory description of life in the prison leading to worsening of prisoner’s chance of tending towards reformation as well the lack lustre attitude/working of prosecution and the judiciary is a matter of much concern as well well known to each and every public but with a pinch of salt of helplessness as no near future steps are being taken up by the strong Central Govt and the still stronger voters of India.

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