By Aashima Talwar Last Updated:
One of the most iconic couples of Indian cinema, Sunil Dutt and Nargis's love story is nothing less than a Bollywood movie and is the epitome of a fairy tale romance in the age of temporary love. From Sunil and Nargis' first meeting to the iconic fire accident on the sets of their film, Mother India, their love story has all the ingredients that proved that their match was made-in-heaven and written on the stars.
The gigantic difference between the early life and background of Sunil Dutt and Nargis is what makes their love story an inspiring one. For the unversed, while on one side, Sunil Dutt had lost his father and had struggled for basic livelihood before shifting to Lucknow and Bombay eventually. On the other side, Nargis was from a wealthy family, and her mother, Jaddanbai was a classical music singer, who was regarded as one of the early pioneers of Indian cinema. Her brother, Anwar Hussain, was also a film actor. Despite all these differences, here's how two found solace in each other's arms!
When Sunil Dutt was working in Radio Ceylon, he saw the gorgeous actress and his eternal love, Nargis, for the first time in real life, and he was mesmerised by her looks, elegance, and humbleness. However, there was no interaction between the two at that time, but after some years in the mid-1950s, Sunil Dutt met Nargis for the first time on the sets of Do Bigha Zameen. At that time, Sunil Dutt was an aspiring actor and student, while Nargis was already an established star.
During this time, the rumours of Nargis and Raj Kapoor's love affair had formed the word of mouth of almost every Bollywood actor or fan. However, these rumours did not affect the feelings Sunil had for Nargis. Sunil Dutt had kept his cool and waited till it was the correct time to approach his eternal love. After waiting for some time, love finally knocked at Sunil Dutt's door.
During that time, the love story of Nargis and Raj Kapoor went from reel life to real life. Raj Kapoor was already married during this period, and still, Nargis went ahead signing all the RK productions movies, as she was madly-in-love with him. Nargis was also ready to be the second wife to Raj Kapoor. However, this sadly did not work out well for Nargis as Raj left her heartbroken. After the break-up, Nargis had gone straight into depression and was longing for love and commitment.
It was during Mehboob Khan's movie, Mother India, that Sunil Dutt and Nargis came closer. Sunil Dutt was happy to know that he would be working with the love of his life, Nargis. The two had expressed their love for each other on the sets of Mother India. Somewhere, during this period, there was a fire on the sets of the movie, and Sunil like a hero, did not care about his life while saving the life of Nargis, who was stuck in the fire. The incident left Nargis impressed with Sunil's love and care for her as Sunil got burnt badly and was in a high fever. That's when Nargis took care of him day and night, and he had finally confessed his love to her.
After the fire accident on the sets of Mother India, Nargis just could not stop herself from falling in love and expressing the same to the actor. For her, while on one side, Sunil was the complete opposite of Raj. He was calm, shy, and plain-speaking with a deep respect for women. On the other side, her ex-boyfriend, Raj was flirtatious and exploiting her. When Sunil entered in Nargis' life, she was emotionally drained, and the actor had supported her in her bad times and never judged her for her past.
In one of her interviews in those days, she had said that she was not afraid of discussing her past with Raj Kapoor and her future with Sunil.
“I know that his shoulders were always there for me to cry on-and I also knew that his garments will absorb my tears and not scatter them out for people to make fun of me.”
Sunil Dutt and Nargis had started expressing their love for each other through letters. They also started calling each other "beloved" in those letters. As their movie, Mother India had not released by then, which is why they had decided to keep their love affair under wraps till the release. They used to meet at night secretly and communicate through telegrams.
After Nargis' break-up with Raj Kapoor, she had met Sunil Dutt, and after their brief dating period, the actress was sure and confident that Sunil is the love she was searching for in her life, and there was no other man better than him, who would love her forever. However, it was a surprise for the Hindi film industry, which wasn't very much aware of their relationship. Sunil Dutt and Nargis got married on March 11, 1958, in an intimate wedding ceremony and celebrated their big day with a wedding reception with their close friends from the industry in attendance.
Their love was pure and forever. Soon after their marriage, when someone asked if he married Nargis when she was on the rebound from her alleged affair with Raj Kapoor, here is what he said:
"I never knew there was a romance. The only thing I knew was that she came into my life. I was not concerned about her past. I know these questions arise. But I am concerned about the person who comes in my life; what matters from that day on is how true the person is to me. The past is nothing to me."
Soon Sunil Dutt and Nargis had embraced parenthood when they welcomed their first child, Sanjay Dutt, on July 29, 1959. Soon the young kid was promoted to big brother after the birth of a baby girl, Namrata. On August 28, 1966, the Dutt family was completed when Priya Dutt had entered into the lives of Sunil Dutt and Nargis.
After some years of marriage and Nargis' demise, when Sunil Dutt was asked about the reason why he fell for her, he had said:
"I found in her a human being and a woman who would take care of my family. I found in my wife both compassion and understanding.”
He also shared an incident that happened before their marriage, which made Sunil surer of his choice:
"My sister had fallen ill and I was a raw guy; I didn't know any doctors in Bombay where I was then working. Without telling me, she took my sister to a doctor and got her operated. I thought this is a person who will make a better home for me and will do a lot of things for my family, which she did."
Sunil Dutt was not the first love of Nargis, but their years of marriage never once fell in doubt about Dutt being her second love. Nargis and Sunil Dutt loved each other and supported each other during their marriage.
When everything was going perfectly fine in the Dutt family, it was the year 1980 that shocked them and the film industry as Nargis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was shifted to New York for the treatment. On the other side, Nargis' husband, Sunil Dutt was directing their son, Sanjay Dutt in his debut film, Rocky. Sunil was always by her side during her struggle. He even took her to America for treatment. However, she could not win her battle against cancer and died on May 3, 1981.
When she was dying, her son, Sanjay Dutt's debut movie Rocky was slated to release on May 7, 1981. She wanted to attend the premiere and told Sunil to make every possible arrangement.
"She told me, 'Whatever it is, even if you have to carry me on a stretcher or in a wheelchair, I want to see the premiere of my son's movie'. I made all the arrangements and had an ambulance, stretcher and wheelchair. We kept a seat for her next to Sanjay. But, she never made it. She died on May 3."
On May 25, 2005, the legendary actor, a true lover, doting father, and a great human, Sunil Dutt died of a heart attack and left us all for the heavenly abode forever. The news saddened the entire nation but was a turbulent moment for his son, Sanjay Dutt, in particular. Sunil Dutt was cremated at Santacruz Crematorium in Mumbai. In a 2018 interview with the IANS, Sanjay Dutt had shared,
"Whatever I am today is because of my father. He is my inspiration and I miss him every day. I did not always share an easy relationship with him. But he always stood by me. I wish he was here to see me as a free man and the beautiful family that I have today. He would have been proud."
The love story of Nargis and Sunil Dutt is no less than a script for a successful movie. The story of these two lovers inspires us and gives us the hope that true love can enter your life even when you had least expected it to knock at the door.
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