Free-for-all celebrations mark Dutt’s freedom

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Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) A few diehard fans of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who became a free man on Thursday, celebrated his freedom in style here.

Mumbai restaurateur Khalid Hakim, owner of Mughlai eatery Noor Mohammadi Hotel, started doling out free “Chicken Sanju Baba”, a signature recipe created by Dutt in 2010, to all patrons and fans.

The special limited offer opened at noon on Thursday and would continue till midnight, Hakim said adding that the place was already overcrowded with eager people waiting to gorge on “Chicken Sanju Baba”.

“It was in 2010 on one of his visits that he created a special gravy-based chicken dish for us and we named it after him as ‘Chicken Sanju Baba’ on the menu card. Dutt also gave me his written consent to prepare and sell it to our patrons,” said Hakim, who is the third-generation owner of the 93-year-old restaurant (opened in 1923).

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Bandra’s famous eatery “Bhaijaanz Restaurant” was offering a flat 50 percent discount to mark Dutt’s release and launched a new dish “Bhai-Baba Chal Mere Bhai” to be served free to all customers.

“It is a combination of minced mutton and chicken as Salman Khan loves mutton and Sanjay Dutt relishes chicken. This is our humble tribute to their great friendship,” said the restaurant manager.

Incidentally, “Bhaijaanz Restaurant” is the country’s first themed eatery after Salman Khan, opened last year by five fans and friends — Rahul Kanal, Zafar Yusuf, Tabrez Shaikh, Sohail Siddique and Khursheed Khan — who also attended the same school where Salman studied.

“Everything in our restaurant is inspired by our beloved Salman, his life, his physique, his roles and characters he enacted on screen, his likes and his famed bikes, memorabilia, etc,” said the manager of the eatery which opened last year.

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The restaurant balcony was designed like the one at Salman Khan’s home in Bandra Bandstand where thousands of fans flock daily, the items on the menu were named and designed after his movies or his personal tastes and the eatery has proved popular with its clientele.

Colaba’s popular Gokul Bar and Restaurant owner Dinesh Pujary — a Dutt fan — offered 300 chilled beers on-the-house between 3-6 p.m. to celebrate the actor’s release.

“We were overwhelmed to see queues of people outside waiting for their one free bottle of any beer of their choice… We completed the freebie offer within the first two hours,” said the hotel’s marketing advisor Albert Amanna.

An auto-rickshaw driver and hardcore Dutt fan, Sandeep Bachche was celebrating his idol’s release differently by offering free rides for the day to commuters in Bandra.

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“Many years ago, I was given medical help by the Dutt family and I am forever indebted to them. When he returned to complete his sentence in May 2013, I vowed that I would roam bare-feet till he comes out of prison. Now, I shall start wearing footwear again,” Bachche told media persons.

As a tribute to his diehard fan worship of Dutt, Bachche’s friends and colleagues have nicknamed him “Munnabhai SSC”, a fact which he proudly tells everybody.

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