“I got on to drugs in college. I got hooked on to it. It took me about 10 years to get out of it. I’m lucky that I had the means and provision to get out of it. Stay high on life, man! On your family, on your work. There’s no substance that can make you high. I speak from experience,” Sanjay Dutt had the most Sanjay Dutt advise for young minds at a recent India Today event in Delhi.

And why not, he looks like he really needs to find his identity on the screen after his jail stint and the baggage that entailed. 

For starters, he’s too old to play his famous lovable bad boy avatar like Khalnayak, Vaastav and the ilk. He admitted recently, “I want to play roles which are my age. I don’t want to be in that same old rut. That’s why I did Bhoomi, it is a father-daughter film. The way Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson do in Hollywood… I want to be a tough 50-year-old guy.”

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Well he might be looking at Salman Khan when he talks of playing the old bad guy, but a stark difference between these two is the sort of backing they have in the industry at the moment. Salman Khan comes from one of the biggest power centres in Bollywood and his proximity to various personalities (read Mr Narendra Modi) outside films also positions him in a different league.

On the other hand, Sanju baba (who unfortunately lost his father’s support; the sister is no more in power; and the man has a family to raise) has been burning the candles on both ends to unsuccessfully find some positive publicity. With their advertising commitments, many magazies refused to put him on their covers ahead of Bhoomi and he finally landed up on Entrepreneur. What’s Entrepreneur? Exactly!

Hence, he has to settle down for preachy characters in films and an I’ve-seen-it-all-and-I’ll-tell-you-not-to-do-it persona off the screen. Bhoomi seems a part of the same narrative and the future doesn’t look too different for the new poster boy of rehab. But how genuine is that claim either? ‘Coz old habits die hard.