Be it her engrossingly expressive eyes or her warm, kind-hearted nature; Trishala Dutt and her superstar father, Sanjay Dutt, share more than just a common surname. Although kept out of the public’s eye, I had the special opportunity to sit down and have an enlightening one-on-one chat with the charming daughter of one of India’s most beloved stars.
Rarely ever do we look past the silver screens, into the lives of the actors themselves. I’m not talking about the senseless gossip the tabloids shamelessly put out – Rather, their real lives…their families.
Trishala (a.k.a. Trish) was born and raised in New York and lives with her grandparents. Being the daughter of Sanjay “Munnabhai” Dutt has to have its glories. But hardly ever do you gain without having to lose. “I get so many people after me. And who they really are is not always who they show me. Deep down they’re such full of drama. I hate drama. I can’t stand it and I will not deal with it.” She continues, “People come up to me, singing my dad’s songs like ‘Ishq Samundar’ and then blasting the music because they see me walking. I hate people like that.”
It’s hard to argue with something like that. Often times when we’re over-shadowed by a larger personality, people tend to view us as an extension of that person rather than an individual. Not only is it hurtful, but demoralizing as well. Expressing her frustration, “It’s hard. Why can’t you just come up to me and say ‘Hi. I just wanted to say…’”
It all started back when she was in High School she tells me. And she for one will have you know that popularity is not all that it promises to be. “It was the toughest four years of my life.”
But just like her father, underneath the tough, hard shell is something gooey soft. Her uncanny maturity and professional outlook were only a couple of things that caught my eye. After holding back long enough, I finally asked her about her future plans, and if films were waiting for her just around the corner. “Yes there are [acting plans]. But not in Bollywood. I’m doing much better off in Hollywood, as I’ve got a few offers but had to turn them down due to my age and schoolwork. It was very upsetting.” Impressively, some of the films she’s already turned down include Saw III (October 27), Marie Antoinette (October 20), and Casino Royale (November 16). She’s also signed a contract with the popular specialty clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch.
Upsetting it must have been in deed, but her patience is undeniable.
“Everything happens for a reason,” she tells me calmly. “I had to make a choice: Either sacrifice my entire life and pray the film does well. Or, I finish school and get a degree in something solid, so just in case, I have something to fall back on. I chose college over those films releasing now that I could have been in.” And once again with that envious dose of patience she says “I’m still young. There will be others.”
What makes a person wise? Is it the money they have, contacts they know, or the ability to see from a composed, all-encompassing perspective? For Trishala it’s the latter. Such an understanding of purpose and place is rarely realized by many star-children who have blindly jumped into the center-stage of glitz and glamour.
Many who have followed Sanjay Dutt’s career know that his journey has been nothing but smooth sailing. From the untimely death of his first wife, Richa Sharma, to the child custody battle with his in-laws, to his alleged involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bombings; he has still emerged victorious as an actor, a human being, and a father.
“I have a very strong relationship with him,” she says. “Most people think he and I aren’t very close but they’re wrong. Just because I don’t see him everyday doesn’t mean me and him aren’t close. I talk to him, I’d say, every three days?”
I asked Trishala whether or not her dad had ever expressed interest towards her entering Bollywood – a very current issue, as the recent past has seen an emergence of the star-children generation. “For Bollywood it’s completely different now. He used to express interest, but now it’s just stay out of it.” Further justifying his stance, “Girls are used mainly as props for films, which he does not want me getting into.” Once again one finds little basis to argue. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule (i.e. Kalpana Lajmi’s films).
In response to Bollywood’s foil, Hollywood: “In Hollywood you can pick and choose what you want and don’t want to do. In Bollywood you have to do what is required. Ultimately it’s the director who is going to make you a star for a Bollywood actress. If you’re good, you last maximum 3-4 years? And then you become “old” because someone new has come.”
Many in the past have expressed this very concern with Hollywood’s counterpart. Yet still Bollywood seems to remain the twinkle in the eyes of so many woman in India, hoping that after jumping through enough hoops and over enough hurdles they’ll emerge as the next Madhuri Dixit of Indian cinema.
But don’t get her wrong; Trishala had been a pretty big fan of that very Industry. “I used to know every single movie and every single song. I guess that was when I was younger. I got older, signed with modeling contracts and offers, and I’m doing law for now. I just lost touch with it.”
In response to some of her father’s most memorable performances for her: “I would have to say in his movie Vaasatv; In the end how he gets his mother to shoot her own son. That scene was very emotional and strong. I’ll never forget it.” Well Trishala, I have a feeling you’re not the only one who found that scene immensely impactful! “Also in Munnabhai. The scene where he helps one of the patients to live life and be happy.”
Both father and daughter have a tremendous amount of respect and love for one another. The distance between them may serve as an inconvenience, but by no means is it a barrier. His daughter looks up to him, as do many around the world. With this conversation as evidence, I can make two solid assertions: 1) Like father like daughter. 2) Trishala Dutt, with her ravishing good-looks, beautiful heart, and impressive maturity, will be on the high-road to success in no time.
“He has a very loving and very giving heart. He loves to see other people happy. He’d rather someone else enjoy something than himself enjoying it. He may not express it, but it’s there.” – Trishala Dutt
*Special thanks to Ms. Trishala Dutt for graciously lending us her precious time and insightful thoughts.
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