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Rajkumar Hirani directs Sanjay Dutt in Jail

Rajkumar Hirani was called to the Yerwada Jail in Pune to direct a play for the inmates. This play titled Teemiratun…Tejakade (From Darkness to Light), is a part of an annual charity event conducted by the Jail authorities. In this two hour ticketed event, the inmates put up performances and the proceeds from the event go towards prison-development and prisoner welfare.

This time, Rajkumar Hirani has been roped in to direct the play because there is one prisoner, who along with Hirani, has previously created magic and created super hits like Munnabhai MBBS.

Sanjay Dutt is supposed to act in the play and also perform to the popular song Lungi Dance. Dutt, who serving a jail term after his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts under the Arms Act, may have lost a lot of weight–prompting the director to remark that he was looking fitter than he has been in his recent screen outings—but has clearly not lost any of his star appeal going by his entry on the makeshift proscenium within the jail. Dutt performs a one-act skit within the play, and in keeping with his status as a Bollywood star, two dance numbers as well.

Hirani who shares a deep friendship with Dutt flew in from Delhi where he is scheduled to shoot P.K. with Aamir Khan (Dutt too shot for the film before his arrest). Sources inside the jail told a leading newspaper that jail authorities were keen to get the play fine-tuned by a top-notch director and approached Dutt for suggestions. Even though he gave Hirani’s name, the star, all unshaven and broody, was surprised to see his old friend on Tuesday and became teary-eyed as Raju got in the director’s chair. A quick word with all the actors in the play, many of whom are serving life sentence, Hirani got down to brasstacks, suggesting a few changes in the staging of the play that deals with alcoholism and even Gandhism (which was titled Gandhi-giri, in Hirani’s film Lage Raho Munnabhai).

An interesting fact is that the song from Lage Raho, their second Munnabhai film, Bande mein tha dum, has also been incorporated in the play directed by Rahul Solapurkar. For a good part of the next two hours, Hirani worked with the actors, often going up on the stage to correct postures and body language.

After a strenuous rehearsal, it was time for costume trials. By late evening Hirani headed out of the jail to catch a flight to Delhi.

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