May and June are months associated with Nargis and Sunil Dutt. Nargis was born on 3 May and died on 1 June. Sunil Dutt was born on 6 June and died on 25 May. Their anniversaries are as entwined as their lives. Sunil Dutt once told me that every time he returned from work, Nargis would be waiting on the parapet of their garden overlooking the sea, “It was her favorite spot and after she was gone, I would often sit there, just to feel her presence.”
When you lose a beloved, the mind rewinds to their smallest details. In 2007 the Dutts had resurrected their bungalow into a swanky building and were looking forward to shifting there. The family had planned a grand housewarming coinciding with Sunil Dutt’s birthday and he called all his friends personally a few days before the big day, Sunil Dutt passed away in his sleep!
They say time heals all wounds but some wounds never fade. For the film fraternity he was Dutt saab, for the villagers of Mandoli, he was Pappaji. Ever since he migrated from Pakistan with his mother Kulwanti in 1948, Balraj Dutt remained connected to his roots. When his debut film was released, he traveled the entire village by a truck to Lakshmi Theatre, Yamuna Nagar and kept up with this tradition for all his new films.
To be continued