''It is difficult to live in jail without your parents and family,'' Dutt said during the HT Leadership Summit here on Saturday, Nov 22 evening. Speaking during a session 'Taking Lessons from Munnabhai', he said though all his stints in jail had been extremely testing for him, the most turbulent was the first time he went to jail in the 90s. ''When I first went to jail, the situation was very volatile. Dad had tears in his eyes, when I was handcuffed. Initially, he used to come to me regularly asking me to be patient and assured he would get me out soon. However, when six months passed and nothing seemed to be happening, I grew impatient. This is when he told me with sadness in his eyes that he could not do anything for me,'' the actor said.
Sanjay Dutt said his father's (Sunil Dutt's) helplessness left him extremely shattered. ''I fell ill and had to be shifted to the ICU. Anybody could break down in such a situation,'' he added.
Reminiscing those days, he said the treatment meeted out to him at that time was anything but human.
''Even when I was in the ICU, they had me handcuffed as if I was Osama Bin Laden,'' Dutt said.
Expressing surprise that the conditions in Indian jails today were still as they were during the British times, the actor said, ''The jail manuals and rules are the same as they were during the British rule. For example the manuals say that the prisoners be kept locked up from 12 in the noon to 7 next morning on a holiday, a rule which applies to the Independence Day as well. Why can't prisoners celebrate Independence Day. Also a prisoner can meet his spouse only once a month.'' Calling for a change in the present jail manuals, Dutt said, ''These jail manuals were devised by the British to break down the Indians. However, now that India is Independent, these manuals need to be changed. Personally, I see jail as a reformatory and not some place where innocent people are made into criminals. Unfortunately, this is exactly what one sees in India.'' The actor lamented the fact that like him, there were several people who were locked up in jail for several years, even before they had been actually convicted of a crime.
''There were several people I met in jail, who were there for several years because they were facing trial. For example, when in Pune jail, I met a Sikh, who had been in jail for nine years because he was facing trial. These were all the guys, who were facing injustice and incarceration for no fault of theirs,'' Dutt said.
Talking about the actor's recent stint in jail, wherein he was locked up in Arthur Road jail after being sentenced to six years by the Mumbai court, his wife Manyata said, ''I would not like to remember the jail days. We were all shocked by the six-year sentence handed over to him. Worse, I was not allowed to meet him, when I went to the jail, as I had not been able to meet him the last time in the court due to lot of media focus on me.
''I had to wait for six hours to meet him and even then, there were three grills in between us. In the darkness, I could see nothing and had to ask him to come under the light.'' Sanjay Dutt hoped that all the innocent people like him would be able to ''get out of the ordeal they have gone through in the last 17 years''. Asked how doing films like 'Munnabhai MBBS' and 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' changed him personally, Sanjay Dutt said, ''Munnabhai is a straightforward and emotional person like I am in real life. My father was a Gandhian and raised us with Gandhigiri.
Also, doing 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', based on the Gandhiji's philosophy, has enlightened me and many other youths in the country.
Personally, it reminded me of that great person and his ideals.''