Director Rajkumar Hirani is making a biopic based on the life of Sanjay Dutt. The maverick director feels that there are several chapters from Sanjay’s life which act as perfect screenplay for a film. We don’t know which chapters Hirani will highlight, but there is one important chapter in Sanjay’s life which is, let’s say, forgotten. That’s the chapter from his marriage to actress Richa Sharma. Before Richa, Sanjay Dutt was linked with many actresses from Rekha, to Tina Munim, Kimi Katkar and Anita Raj. He had his share of serious relationships and breakups until he met Richa Sharma.
The Budding Romance
Richa Sharma was born in Delhi but within few years shifted to New York with her parents. When Richa was in her ninth grade, she met Dev Anand and expressed her desire to work with him. Finally, after few years Dev Anand signed her for his film ‘Hum Naujawan’ (1985) and Richa was a star. She signed films opposite young actors like Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Shekhar Suman and Sanjay Dutt. Richa Sharma and Sanjay Dutt were introduced to each other at the mahurat of a film they were doing together. Being a busy day, both were preoccupied and hardly paid attention to each other. But Sanjay always had a massive crush on Richa ever since he saw her photographs in a local magazine.
Sanjay always wanted to meet her but inspite of being in the same profession, they never got a chance to meet until the mahurat of this film. After the muhurat, Sanjay just couldn’t get her out of his mind. He somehow managed to get her telephone number and set about calling her. Sanjay asked her for a date which after turning down a couple of times, Richa finally agreed to and that’s how the romance bloomed.
It was pure love from Sanjay’s side and every one could see him being love struck at the shoot. He used to find reasons to meet Richa and even go and visit her during the lunch breaks. It is said that Sanjay used to write romantic notes to her, and his make-up man Muhammed used to keep a constant check over Richa’s schedule. So much was happening but everything was kept in a discreet manner as Sanjay feared that if Richa’s family found out about this affair they would whisk her off to her hometown New York.
Sanjay finally proposed to Richa when she was shooting ‘Aag Hi Aag’ (1987) in Ooty. Richa was confused and told him that she’d think it over. In Ooty, he plagued her with calls till she said yes to him. But Richa knew that her parents wouldn’t agree. One day Sanjay called her up and told her that he is going to New York and if she wants to send something to her family, he will do it for her. Richa was not keen to send anything but Sanjay kept insisting and finally she gave him some things to deliver. Sanjay took full advantage of this and met Richa’s parents and expressed his desire to marry her. Richa’s father instantly called her and asked for her opinion about the marriage. Richa left the decision to her father and told him that she will only get married if he agrees to it.
After completing her shoot, she stopped signing new films and shifted back to New York. It was then that she realized she could not live without Sanjay. This gave her strength and finally she convinced her parents who later called Sanjay to New York for a meet. The meet was successful and finally Sanjay Dutt and Richa Sharma got married to each other in the year 1987.
After the marriage Sanjay’s life was a bliss and he used to give interviews saying Richa was the best thing in his life. His happiness doubled up as within a short span Richa was pregnant. They were blessed with a girl Trishala. But the joy did not last long as Richa was diagnosed with a terminal illness of brain tumor. This shattered Sanjay as he could see history repeating itself as his mother Nargis Dutt was also a victim of a terminal illness of cancer.
Richa With Her Family:
The Tragic Ending
Sanjay and his father Sunil Dutt decided to seek the best medial help and took Richa to America for the treatment. Initially, Sanjay used to be there with her but later due to his film commitments he had to come back to India. Richa’s treatment was a tedious process and there was nothing Sanjay could do except for making to and fro trips to America and being with her for some time. Whereas in India, his work load increased and he was busy with loads of films due to which the visits narrowed down. Sanjay was back with his friends and old lifestyle. The media took full advantage of this situation and started linking him up again with his co-actresses. While getting treated, Richa expressed her desire to come to Mumbai and live with Sanjay, but her health was not good and thus Sanjay rejected her request.
Finally, in early 90’s Richa came back to India and claimed to be totally fit and fine. Her treatment had stopped and she was on pills for few years. But the truth was that the rumors of Sanjay planning to divorce her and get married to Madhuri Dixit were all over and its flames had reached New York. This instigated Richa to come back to Mumbai with her daughter Trishala and stay with Sanjay, forever. During this time, Richa got another attack. Her tumour relapsed and this time it was much worse than the last time. Richa flew back to New York with her sister Abha and her husband Dr. Arvind Wadhwa. Abha took over the entire case of Richa and kept helping her with all sort of treatments. On the other hand, Sanjay got stuck with possession of illegal arms and was sent to jail. Both Sanjay and Richa were fighting their own battles and time kept flying by.
Sanjay was released on bail and at that time he came to know that Richa’s condition had worsened. Sanjay wanted to go to New York and be with his family, but his request was rejected by the court. Later, after a long span he got permission to visit Richa in New York. When Sanjay reached New York, everything had changed. The doctors had stopped her treatment and had given up every possible hope. The tumor had reached to its final stage. Richa was totally unrecognizable. She herself was not able to recognize anyone nor had spoken to anyone for weeks. Only Sanju brought a mild smile on her face.
But Sanjay was in shock and barely spoke a word to her. One could see the silent suffering on his face but, it was too late for him to mend things back. Sanjay tried to talk to the doctors but one of the doctor told Richa was a fighter. She had gone through three major surgeries, dozens of chemotherapy and radiation sessions as she wanted to go back to Mumbai and stay with her family. But her will power had started to fade out and she was not able to take the suffering. Sanjay could not take this anymore and after an hour left the hospital.
Finally on 10th December 1996, Richa Sharma took her last breath and died at her parent’s home in New York. As for Sanjay, he was sent to jail for his crime.
A few weeks prior to Richa’s death a leading magazine published an interview of Trishala. Excerpts:
Q – If God grants you one wish, what will it be?
A – I would wish for a quick recovery for my mom.
Q – Would you like your papa to stay back with you?
A – No. Even if I want him to, I know he won’t stay back.
Q – Did you miss your papa while your mummy was admitted in hospital?
A – No. He would have said that he cannot come as he is busy with his work. I only get to talk with him on Mother’s day, Father’s day and Christmas.
Q – On your last birthday what did you wish from God?
A – If you share wishes, they never get fulfilled.
Fun Facts –
Richa was learning Architecture in New York and was planning to complete it before she was signed by Dev Anand.
‘Hum Naujawan’ (1985) also debuted Tabu as a child actor.
Richa Sharma also worked in a Sex-comedy ‘Anubhav’ (1986).