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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Bollywood legend Sunil Dutt dies
Sunil Dutt
Sunil Dutt was best known for his role in Mother India
Veteran Bollywood actor turned politician Sunil Dutt has died aged 75 of a heart attack in Mumbai (Bombay).

Mr Dutt, minister for sport in India's Congress-led government, had been ill for some time. Tributes have poured in from actors, fans and politicians.

Sunil Dutt became a star in the 1950s and appeared in more than 100 films.

He won his Mumbai seat five times and will be remembered for working tirelessly for slum dwellers there. India has declared a day of mourning.

'Special human'

Aides said Sunil Dutt died early on Wednesday. Reports said he had suffered from heatstroke in recent days.

He was cremated in Mumbai late on Wednesday. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi were among those present.

Mrs Gandhi had earlier led tributes, describing Mr Dutt as "a very special human being".

"He had friends and admirers not just in India but also across the world who will now miss him," she said.

Mr Dutt's body is carried for final rites in Mumbai
Dutt Sahib was a great human being, one who went out of his way to help the poor and needy
Alok, Hyderabad, India

President APJ Abdul Kalam sent a message of condolence to Mr Dutt's family.

A senior opposition Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley said all parties had held Mr Dutt in high esteem.

"His death has caused a very great shock to the parliament and has left a big void in public life in this country," he told Doordarshan television.

Member of parliament and fellow Bollywood actor Govinda, who was considered close to Mr Dutt, said he had lost a mentor.

Many actors and politicians who had gathered outside Mr Dutt's house in Mumbai expressed their shock at his death.

Public reaction in his constituency in North-West Mumbai was one of disbelief. "We'll all miss him very much," one man told the BBC. Another said Mr Dutt was indispensable in his constituency.

The president of the Board of Control of Cricket in India, Ranbir Singh Mahendra, said: "We have lost a great patron and ardent lover of sport."

Actress and Censor Board chief, Sharmila Tagore, said: "He was a really good human being. He was liked so much... he had so much for the people and never wanted anything in return."


Sunil Dutt was born in 1929 in Jhelum district, now part of Pakistan, and arrived in India after partition in 1947.

Sunil Dutt and Sonia Gandhi
Sunil Dutt was a "very special human being", said Sonia Gandhi

He began his acting career in the 1950s but was catapulted to fame with his role in Mother India (1956), which won an Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Film category.

Other major films included Sujata (1959), Waqt (1965), Padosan (1968) and Reshma Aur Shera (1971).

He later went on to marry the female lead from Mother India - legendary actress Nargis.

Their romance was straight out of a Bollywood plot - he saved her life when the set of Mother India caught fire.

Nargis Dutt died of cancer in 1981, the year their son Sunjay made his Bollywood debut.

Sunjay Dutt is currently one of the industry's biggest stars.

Sunil Dutt's last film was the 2004 release, Munnabhai MBBS, in which he starred alongside his son. He is survived by two daughters as well.

He joined the Congress party in 1984. His political career was halted for some years in the early 1990s when he worked to free his son from jail after he was arrested following Hindu-Muslim clashes in Mumbai.

Watch film clips and tributes to Sunil Dutt

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