On the move, alwaysAug 7th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Delhiwaalah, Films & Entertainment, Newsmakers
‘I’m a showman. And there are three professions that suit a showman – cinema, aviation and hospitality. I am happy that I made it in two out of three.” Mithun Chakraborty is a contented man, a star who lived life his size. Touching 60, he could still make young girls queue up for autographs and the oldies reminisce about his volatile screen image. “Do you think I am special? I don’t. It’s all destiny. I always say pehle kismat phir mehnat. I believe every man is born with Y-factor. It is luck, which is your X-factor.”
Well, the recently released “Luck” has indeed brought him back to the limelight with his booming dialogues creating the desired impact. “I loved the experience. In the last few years we have stopped playing to the gallery. Cinema is all about entertainment. We are paid to entertain, not to pick a news story from a newspaper and rehash it into a film.”
Leaving nothing to chance, Mithun says those who believe playing to the gallery is easy either don’t know the art or are those who treat films as products catering to the tastes of metro and NRI audience. “All of them look the same. It is like selling the same old toothpaste with a new ingredient. Mera wala Pepsodent…,” he lets it out. “I am not against meaningful cinema or cinema for the classes. I have done enough of it but what about countless people living in smaller towns. Where is their dose of entertainment?” As his arm goes up in desperation, we notice, the six stitches he got while jumping from a helicopter during the shooting of “Luck” in South Africa. “I jumped straight on a rock. Part of the job!”
This week the job takes him to a courtroom as he plays a lawyer in “Chal Chalein”. “It raises the problem of students committing suicides for not doing well in competitive exams. Ninety per cent doesn’t seem enough to get a college or course of your choice. Somewhere parents are at fault for using their kids to realise their unfulfilled dreams. In a first of its kind, the kids file a case against their parents. Their point is that they have full respect and love for their parents but somehow they deem parents responsible for creating undue pressure on them. I am with them.”
He points out his father wanted him an engineer. “I myself wanted to be in the Navy but circumstances were such that I had to be in Mumbai in films. And I didn’t do badly. So ensure your kids become good human beings and then let the destiny play its part.”
When did he realise that he has got that X-factor?
“I always wanted to be noticed. When I played football, I played centre forward. I took to dance to grab attention but soon it became a prayer for me. When I came to Mumbai people began to notice me. At a tailoring shop, Salim Khan (of Salim-Javed fame) told me why you don’t try in films. Once I was watching Sunil Dutt shooting on a road. There were hundreds present but during the break Dutt Sahib came to me and said something similar to what Salim Sahib advised. At that point I realised I must have something special.”
But then he left it all when he had got it all. “It is difficult to get stardom but it is thorny to hold on to it. Those were different times. Every Friday used to decide your future, your pay packet. And I had a huge family to support. In fact, I used to get fever every time I had a release.” Is it really true? “Absolutely, I distinctly remember it used to be between 99 and 100 degree Fahrenheit.” More than that, he says, he had begun to feel lonely.
“When you are at the top nobody is with you. Not even family members. Everybody used to believe I am saying something because somebody has influenced me to say that. Nobody realised that I was the same common man from Kolkata.”
He decided to diversify.
“At that time the late Lalit Suri came to my help. He taught me the basics of hospitality business and I decided to shift base to Ooty. But somehow my fans didn’t forget me and I had to return.”
He analyses his sustainability as his ability to take risks.
“‘Mrigya’ introduced me to meaningful cinema and awards but bread and butter were promised after the success of ‘Suraksha’. When I was dubbed as an action hero, I decided to put forward my dancing skills. I was inspired by Elvis Presley. That is why there were so many pelvic movements. But I knew my limitations. While Michael Jackson was able to mould his Presley-acts into something original, I despite my dedication knew it will become repetitive. With ‘Pyaar Jhukta Nahin’, I got a fresh life. Meanwhile, I never severed my links with Bangla cinema and till date my most cherished memories as far as acting is concerned are my three National Award winning films.”
For now he is busy wooing the gallery all over again with “Babbarr”, where he plays an encounter specialist. Just another day in the life of the multi-layered star.