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dancing into the twilight
S t i l l a d d i n g g e n e r o u S a m o u n t S o f f l avo u r t o t h e i n d u S t ry w i t h e v e ry n e w f i l m o f h i S , m i t h u n C ha k r a b o rt y r e m i n i S C e S a b o u t h i S S w e e t m e m o r i e S a n d S o u r m o m e n t S o f t h e pa S t, a n d S ha r e S h i S d r e a m S f o r t o m o r r o w w i t h T S I ’ S a n u g u l m o ha r .
the sunday indian 52 25 july 2010 the sunday indian 53 25 july 2010

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mithun chakraborty

“hrithik iS a terrifiC danCer...even Shahid danCeS very well. though if i had entered filmS now, i would have beaten them!"
need to mince words. it was at this point that more than his height, stature or star power, his blatant honesty bowled me over. in the last year or so most of us television viewers have been watching mithun as the grand Judge on the show “dance india dance.” Just like the world got up and praised him for his incredible dance moves, he is now seen saluting the young talent. “hrithik is a terrific dancer, no doubt about it. even Shahid dances very well. Though if i had entered films now, i would have beaten them!” laughed mithun. “i think my son mimoh is a magical dancer.” also an hotelier, mithun owns the monarch group. has he ever considered opening a dance school? “maybe i will tomorrow…but i would rather set-up a complete acting institute all over the country. whatever i have received, i would like to pass it on ahead. but it would definitely mean business; i don’t want to open a charitable institution. i have paid for it too, paid very heavily for it. not with money though, but with everything else…” “Shukno lanka” touches the topic of immortality; i ask him if he would like to be immortal. “nobody is immortal, only your deeds are immortal. if your deeds are not immortal, nobody can be immortal. if the people love my deeds and actions, i will be immortal,” replied mithun. The man who made pelvic thrusts the de rigueur in bollywood, the actor who has worked in films of all themes and budgets, and the man who is loved by people across generations – we think going by his definition, mithunda, as the world endearingly addresses him, will be immortal.

‘d

on’t give up and your dreams will come true’ is the message of “Shukno lanka”, mithun Chakraborty’s latest film. as i entered the smoke-filled room and sat down beside the one-time one-man industry, i looked at his tired eyes that patiently looked at me waiting for the questions to fly. i wondered of the several dreams that those eyes have seen come true in his life. here was someone who had been associated with the naxalite movement in its nascent years and later at much risk to his own life had moved away from it and entered the mumbai film industry. for several films he was merely a part of the crowd; with “do anjaane” he finally got the opportunity to speak a dialogue, and with the very first lead role that he bagged in mrinal Sen’s “mrigaya”, he also took away the national award for best actor! Thus having risen from the ranks of a junior artist, mithun found resonance in his character in “Shukno lanka”, in which he plays Chinu nandy, a struggling middle-aged junior artist who dreams of one day being able to add such flavour to films as dry red chillies do to a curry. “if you’ve seen the movie, my struggle was worse than that,” said mithun. “i think it was much harsher, much more
the sunday indian 54 25 july 2010

humiliating. “Shukno lanka” is a film about a dream. everybody has a dream, whether he is a junior artist or a cart puller or the chairman of a corporate firm. Just don’t divert from your dreams. hold on to your dreams, and one day you will see the dreams coming true.” he said this with the conviction that could shame a motivational speaker, and i couldn’t help but wonder if his belief in the theme of the film stemmed from his personal journey. after he hit gold with a national award for his very first major role, the superstar status was bestowed on him some years later with films like “disco dancer” that won him lakhs of fans. fans, who interestingly, were not limited to indian borders. at the premiere of this film in delhi, two ladies who i concluded to be from russia, desperately tried to catch his attention. alas, the paparazzi didn’t allow them to meet their hero. how did he come to be loved so by people in russia? “even i ask the same question!” exclaimed mithun. “i always thought my fans today would be about 40-45 years old, but now i see even 20-year-old girls are also my fans. i think their mothers would have passed on the legacy to their daughters saying, "if you have to love a man, he should be like this man!" it is not russia only. if you take a tour to Japan, africa, China and other parts of asia, the fans are so maddening even there! once i went to tanzania, and people knew that i am coming, and so at the airport, i could only see heads, heads and heads! i cannot de-

scribe the scene to you in words. but in russia, they worship me… that’s the difference. people learn hindi, they save money hoping that one day they will come to india and meet me. it’s terrific, and i can’t believe it myself!” mithun began to tower over everyone else in bollywood in the ’80s and comparisons with amitabh bachchan became common. mithun modestly doesn’t think much of it. “i was considered as the poor man’s amitabh bachchan!” he laughs. “people thought that i was as good as amitabh bachchan, and when they could not afford amitabh bachchan, they figured that their best bet was mithun Chakraborty, who could make them as much money but with lesser stakes involved!” parallel to his bollywood films, he’s continued to invest his time and effort in arthouse cinema and also bengali films. “i don’t categorise between art and commercial films; a film is a film. The film that satisfies my heart is a film like “Shukno lanka”, the film i do for a lot of money satisfies my needs. if i had only been doing meaningful cinema, then i would have been hungry and struggling till today,” says mithun and i couldn’t keep from not raising my eyebrows when he went on to say, “when i see money, i don’t hear the script.” perhaps people who’ve seen so much and overcome so much, feel little

the sunday indian 55 25 july 2010

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