The son of actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis, Dutt made his acting debut in Rocky (1981), which was directed by his father. The crime thriller Naam (1985) proved to be a turning point in his career, which was followed by a series of commercially successful films in that decade, including Jeete Hain Shaan Se (1988), Mardon Wali Baat (1988), Ilaaka (1989), Hum Bhi Insaan Hain (1989) and Kanoon Apna Apna (1989). He earned nominations for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for Saajan (1991) and Khalnayak (1993). Dutt earned his first Best Actor at the ceremony for playing a common man-turned-gangster in Vaastav: The Reality (1999). Along with Vaastav: The Reality, he also won accolades for playing an army officer in Mission Kashmir (2001), a soft-hearted goofy gangster in Munna Bhai M. B. B. S. (2003) and its sequel Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006).