Thousands of people gathered at Sunil Dutt's home in Mumbai to pay tribute to the actor-politician after he passed away on May 25.
That was kind of love and adulation that the man -- who has consistently been described as 'rare', noble', 'kind' and 'decent' -- generated. When rediff.com asked readers to share their experiences with Sunil Dutt, the mails didn't stop coming in.
Clayton Rebello: I'm from Mumbai and studying in the US now.
In the mid-1980s, when I was five or six years old, Sunil Dutt visited Andheri (a Mumbai suburb). I was playing with some friends. When he arrived, a crowd gathered near my building, and my friends and I joined it.
I wasn't too familiar with him but I started screaming his name as he passed by. He looked at me, smiled, removed one of his garlands and put it on me. I was so happy, I ran home and showed it to my mother. My mother put that garland on the altar of Jesus. What was surprising was that the garland stayed fresh for a long time.
Omprakash Mundra: I met Sunilji in Greece, during the Athens Olympics. I met him with my wife during the shooting and tennis events. His simplicity and habit of mixing with the common people is unbelievable. It's shocking to hear of his sudden death.
He dreamed of a grand New Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and for the Olympics to be hosted in India in 2016.
Nitin Bhavsar: It is really sad that Sunil Dutt is no more with us. I had the opportunity to shake hands with him.
He led the Shanti Yatra padayatra to deliver the message of peace to the country. This happened during my school days (in the mid-1980s).
The yatra was passing through our town Shahapur (which falls under the Thane district in Maharashtra). An excited crowd of about 5,000 people was waiting for him. I was one of them. Sunilji arrived at around 10.15 pm. He was accompanied by many activists.
When I first saw him, I was impressed with his personality. He was such a tall person. He was sweating heavily. I could gauge that he was tired but there was no such indication in his behaviour.
Priya Karnik: In school, we had done a play on drug awareness in 1986. I played the role of a drug addict. After the play, Sunil Dutt congratulated me on my performance. He thought it was very genuine. I also got an award from him.
Rajender Dichpally: I met Duttsaab in June 2003 when he visited the Big Apple. He was staying at the Radisson hotel. I asked if I could meet him. He was very polite and asked for my identity. I was then the youth president of the Overseas Congress.
We had breakfast with him at the hotel and he was gracious enough to wait for everyone to finish his or her breakfast even though he was in a hurry to rush to another meeting.
He told us a lot about himself, how he migrated from Pakistan, his struggle during his wife Nargis Dutt's illness, their stay in New York for her treatment, his meeting with then prime minister Indira Gandhi when she visited New York during that time (He was taken to her by then external affairs minister and his good friend Shri Natwar Singh).
He also told us about his padayatra and how everyone welcomed him when he entered the Golden Temple even though there was turmoil in Punjab. He told us about his meeting with Captain Laxmi Sehgal and other members of the INA and associates of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his travel to the places visited by Netaji.
At the end of the meeting, we had a lump in our throat. We were mesmerised by this great personality. The meeting that was scheduled to finish in 15 minutes lengthened into two-and-a-half hours. Finally, we had to remind him of his other appointments.
Sunil Dutt was a gem of a person and a great human being. His death is a great loss to the country and the many issues he stood for. The fact that he has never lost an election speaks of his popularity among the people.
Readers share their memories of Sunil Dutt:
'He was called Shantidoot'