I work to de-stress: Sanjay Dutt

Jun 2, 2007 Probir Pramanik

Mumbai, June 1 (IANS) Attired in his trademark blue faded jeans, but discarding his "lucky-charm" blue shirt for a striped white, top Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt looked visibly stressed sitting at the back of a crowded courtroom Friday.

Dutt has been convicted by the special TADA court looking into the 1993 serial blasts for being in the possession of illegal weapons but has been absolved of conspiracy under the TADA act.

As the court reads out its sentences for the accused, Dutt waits his turn patiently. It must be an agonising time of uncertainty, but the 47-year-old star says he can "switch off".

"I work to de-stress. I can switch off myself from the stress by keeping myself busy," Dutt told IANS outside the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Preventive) Act (TADA) court.

Dutt, among the 100 people found guilty in the trial, was seen without his "lucky-charm" striped blue shirt.

Explaining the reason for his change of shirt, the "Munnabhai" star said, "The media had made a big issue over my so-called lucky-charm striped blue shirt that I usually wear to court. So for a change I am wearing this striped white shirt today."

"This lucky-charm business is the media's creation and nothing more."

The court has given a repeated reprieve to the macho superstar, who faces a possible sentence of anything between five and 10 years in jail.

Dutt, who was convicted on Nov 28 last year, had been given time to surrender on grounds that he had to fulfil his shooting commitments and had to take care of his family.

The actor was also given time to enable him to be with his teenage daughter Trishala who had come from the US.

Dutt, on bail along with seven other fellow convicts, had been asked by the court to be present Friday to await sentencing.

Though he has no assignment on hand and the sentencing hangs over him like the proverbial Damocles' sword, the actor still has plenty to look forward to.

"I am eagerly waiting for the third 'Munnabhai' film, which is scheduled to be extensively shot on locations in the US. I play 'Munnabhai' who goes to the US to teach Gandhigiri to US President George W. Bush. Shooting is scheduled to start next year," he said.

"It will be a fun film and crazier and better with a more worldly-matured 'Munnabhai'."

But all that depends on the report of the Maharashtra government appointed probation officer's report, which the TADA court is waiting for.

Although Dutt's appearance was a "routine attendance", according to his counsel Farhana Shah, special TADA judge Pramod Kode did not give any date for the actor's next appearance in court.

"The judge asked Sanjay and others on bail to go home today. However, he did not fix any date for their next appearance," Shah told IANS later.

"The court is waiting for the probation officer's report."

Dutt, the most high profile of the 100 convicts in the bombing case, has sought leniency under the Probation of Offenders Act (POA).

The POA allows the court to release a person guilty of lesser offence if satisfied that his conduct has been good and he has reformed.

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