When the tall, lanky, leather jacketed biker made a heroic entry in 1981 with Rocky, it was the first time that the Hindi film audience set their eyes on Sanjay Dutt. Directed by father Sunil Dutt, Rocky gave Sanjay Dutt instant box-office success and the image of a rebel with a cause.
But it wasn't until Mahesh Bhatt's Naam in 1986 that critics took note of Dutt junior's acting abilities as the young Vicky Kapoor who ends up on the wrong side of the law. It was a performance he would repeat in Bhatt's 1991 box-office hit Sadak as a brooding taxi driver who is fighting his own devils.
In the same year, Dutt also changed tracks, playing the brooding loverboy in Saajan opposite Madhuri Dixit. Early 90's was the time when he took to pumping iron with a vengeance and devoted himself to building his six-pack physique.
Then came 1993 - the year that saw Dutt go to jail as an under trial in the Mumbai blasts case and ironically the same year saw him play Khalnayak for Subhash Ghai. One of the biggest hits in Dutt's career the film almost blurred lines between the real and the reel.
But some of Sanjay Dutt's best performances were yet to come. Films like Mission Kashmir and Vaastav saw the actor come of age literally.
Dutt also successfully tried his hand at comedy with filmmaker David Dhawan and Govinda.
But it was Munnabhai MBBS in 2003 that changed everything. His role as a lovable goon trying to match his father's expectations was almost a reflection of a real life equation.
The film went on to become a commercial and critical blockbuster - a feat repeated by its sequel Lage Raho Munnabhai in 2006. Though the third film in the series has been announced, with the verdict on Dutt having come through it looks like Munnabhai fans will have a long wait before they catch his adventures in Amrika!