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Sonjay Dutt


Watch out for "The Original Playa from the Himalaya." At just 5' 8" and 185 pounds, Sonjay Dutt pales in comparison to some of the bigger hulks in the ring. But the 22-year- old could spell trouble, especially if he kicks the Hindu Press move into gear -- spinning 360 degrees before diving and landing on top of his opponent.

"It is an amazing feeling to listen to 10,000 people packed into the arena yelling and screaming you name," says Ritesh Bhalla, whose in-ring name is Sonjay Dutt. “I love the pageantry, the entertainment value the sport brings for the audience.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Dutt grew up in Burke, Virginia. “I was brought up in a traditional Indian home and, since as far back as I can remember, I was in love with pro wrestling,” says the Ashburn, Virginia resident, whose father works at a military base in the state. His mother is a regional manager for a travel agency.

“My dad would watch wrestling on TV,” he reminisces. “So, it was always on in the house.”

Sonjay Dutt
Dutt admits that he was hooked at a young age and as he grew older, he knew what he wanted to do in life, “much like other children dreamed of being football players or movie stars, etc.”

After graduating from high school, he enrolled at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. At the same time, he took the first step into his soon-to-be profession by enrolling at the Monster Factory, a pro wrestling school in Washington, D.C.

At just 18 years of age, Dutt was learning to be a wrestler while juggling a full-time student’s job. “Initially, my parents laughed when I informed that I had enrolled in the wrestling school,” admits Dutt, who is the only child of his parents. “They thought it was a craze. But they have supported me in the last couple of years and now I am a big star in pro wrestling.”

Dutt recently graduated with a communications degree. “I plan on still wrestling full time, as I am living out a dream of mine since day one,” he says. “Not many people can say that they have their dream job. In my travels, I have been all over the world, doing tours in such countries as England, Italy and Japan.”

What about India? “Well, I have always wanted to perform there but I don’t think anyone in India runs wrestling shows like in the U.S.” he replies. “I would like to go visit and meet Indian wrestling fans.”

Not everything is hunky-dory in the wrestling world, Dutt will tell you. “The travel can get a little hectic and of course, as in every profession, there is politics.”

And how can injuries be far behind? “As wrestlers, we try not to think about getting hurt in the ring,” says Dutt, who has suffered several injuries, including dislocation of his elbow. “But that comes with any sports.”

A contracted performer for NWA Total Non Stop Wrestling (, Dutt’s Ford Sports Net show “Impact” airs into 93 million homes on Friday afternoons at 3. He also can be seen flexing his muscles for Pay Per View shows available via local satellite or cable provider.

“On weekends, NWA TNA books me for other independent shows around the country,” he says. “All the work makes me a comfortable living. So, I want to keep on wrestling down the road.”

That brings up the million-dollar question. What’s with the in-ring name Sonjay Dutt? “When I was a child, I used to watch Sanjay Dutt, the actor,” he reveals. “I liked the name so much that I simplified it and then adopted it for myself to use in the ring. I wonder what Sanjay would think about it.”

We wonder too, Sonjay!

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