MUMBAI More than 2.5 billion rupees and the fate of at least four Bollywood films hangs in the balance after the Supreme Court sentenced actor Sanjay Dutt to five years in prison on Thursday.
Dutt, 53, was found guilty of acquiring illegal weapons from those blamed for the bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people and was given four weeks to surrender. The actor has already served 18 months in jail.
"It is a big blow. He was a prominent actor and a father figure to many in the industry," trade analyst Amod Mehra said. "There are 250 crore (2.5 billion) rupees riding on him."
Dutt has four films in the pipeline, including Raju Hirani's "Peekay", K S Ravikumar's "Policegiri", Rensil D'Silva's "Unglee" and Apoorva Lakhia's remake of "Zanjeer".
Dutt also has a cameo in Rajkumar Gupta's "Ghanchakkar" but shooting for that film has been completed.
"I don't know what the fate of these films will be or whether he will be able to complete them," Mehra said. "Their fate hangs in the balance."
Dutt, who made his Bollywood debut with "Rocky" in 1981, is best known for his turn as a funny, do-gooder gangster in the "Munnabhai" films and was scheduled to reprise his role in the third film of the popular series.
The actor had hosted the 2011 season of reality TV show "Bigg Boss", India's version of Big Brother, and also launched a mixed martial arts league with entrepreneur Raj Kundra.
(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Tony Tharakan)