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Sunil Dutt was born Balraj Dutt on 6th June 1929 in the village of Khurd in the Jalandhar District now in Pakistan, in a Mohyal Brahmin family. Later he moved to lucknow and spent a long time in Aminabad Galli during graduation and to fulfill his dreams he moved to Mumbai. In Mumbai, he joined Jai Hind College as an undergraduate and took up a job.
Starting out in radio, Sunil Dutt was a hugely popular on the Hindi Service of Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. He moved to acting in Hindi films and got introduced to the film industry in the 1955 film Railway Platform. He shot to the stardom in the 1957 film Mother India in which he co-starred with Nargis, whom he married on 11 March 1958. In the film, Dutt played a short-tempered, angry son of Nargis. During the making of this film a fire accident happened on the sets. It is believed that Dutt braved the raging fire to save Nargis and thereby won her love. Dutt was one of the major stars of Hindi Cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s and continued to star in many successful films which included Sadhna (1958), Sujata (1959), Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), Khandaan (1965) and Padosan (1967). His collaboration with B.R. Chopra proved to be successful in films such as Gumraah (1963), Waqt (1965) and Hamraaz (1967).
He created a record of sorts by directing and starring in the unique film Yaadein (1964) in which he was the only actor in the cast. He later turned producer of the 1968 film Man Ka Meet which introduced his brother Som Dutt who was unsuccessful in films. In 1971 he produced, directed and starred in the big-budget period romantic film Reshma Aur Shera (1971) which was a huge failure at the box office. He bounced back when he continued to star in hit films which included Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), Nagin (1976), Jaani Dushman (1979) and Shaan (1980). He launched his son Sanjay's career with the film Rocky in 1981 which was a success.
He retired from the film industry in the early 1990s to turn to politics after his last few film releases including Parampara (1992) and Kshatriya (1993). He returned to films shortly before his death in the 2003 film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.. In this film he shared the screen with son Sanjay for the first time although they had both appeared earlier in Rocky (1981) and Kshatriya (1993) but did not appear in any scenes together.
Sunil Dutt died of a heart attack . He has one son Sanjay Dutt, also a successful film actor and two daughters, Priya Dutt and Namrata Dutt(Anju). His daughter Namrata married Kumar Gaurav, son of Rajendra Kumar.