Arshad Warsi on Sanjay Dutt: He's a fighter, will emerge triumphant

We spoke when he was hospitalised last week; he assured me he was fine,” begins Arshad Warsi, yet to come to terms with the news of Sanjay Dutt being diagnosed with stage three lung cancer. A wave of shock and disbelief fell over the industry on Tuesday as word spread that Baba was ailing. It was heard that the actor, who announced that he was taking a break from work, will soon head overseas to seek treatment.

Warsi, the Circuit to his Munna on screen and a close friend off screen, says Sanjay Dutt will tide over the testing times with his positivity and will power. “I don’t know anyone who would have survived [the difficulties] that he has faced head-on. Despite the situations, he has an air of positivity. I have never seen him crib about his hardships. He will emerge triumphant here too; he is a fighter.” The two were slated to begin filming the comedy, Blockbuster, next month. The shoot is likely to be deferred until its leading man is fighting fit again. “Films can come and go, but people like him are rare. I pray that he gets better.”

Subhash Ghai, who gave Dutt one of his biggest hits Khalnayak (1992), has seen the senior actor evolve as an artiste over the decades. “My directorial venture, Vidhata, was his second film after Rocky. We go back a long way. God is with him in all his crises.”

They may have aged gracefully into their sixties, but Gulshan Grover remembers Dutt as the tough guy on the set of Jaan Ki Baazi (1985). “While shooting an action scene, he cut his hand and was bleeding profusely. While Anita Raj and Kimi Katkar were nervous that he is losing a lot of blood, he was coolly smoking a cigarette as the doctor administered stitches without giving him anaesthesia,” he laughs.

Maanayata Dutt issued a statement, urging fans “to not fall prey to unwarranted rumours”. “God has again chosen to test us to overcome the challenges ahead. All we seek are your prayers and blessings,” she said.