Every great man who reached the zenith of glory has a story, more promptly a saga, to tell the world. Then what about a naxalite turned-dancer-actor who one day appeared on the corner of the vast arena of film world like a supernova and collected nothing but the prestigious and highest award the nation presented to any actor? That story becomes more sensible and touching if he failed to fix his posture and position in the same field from where he accomplished the best honour for his sincere work. A one-time-honour can provide only a momentary glittering as far as a person of career is concerned and it simply a challenge before him to prove his talent and perseverance when he is provided a golden opportunity. Somebody face such a challenge and certainly, after winning the battle, becomes the role-model of the society. To influence it and make it hard enough to accept and fight the challenges come across in everyone’s life. Such a role-model is called by the name of MITHUN CHAKRABORTY, who is a monarch in the minds of his admirers, who has done some miracles in the silver screen, because of which he keeps his position intact so far. The saga of Mithun is so touching but at the same time hair-raising
The film ‘Mrigaya’ was the first telescope with which the Indian film lovers recognized a new star named Mithun Chakraborty rising on the horizon of the wide sky of Indian film Industry. Even before the common man realized him he succeeded to catch the attention of technically talented eyes and he won the best actor award in the national level from his very first very first film ‘Mrigaya’ directed by well-known Mrinal Sen in 1976. But the world he conquered by a single film was not enough to make his livelihood. Even the film viewer of the street couldn’t identify his talent. They demanded more films to accept and adore him. That was the real challenge he faced from the film lovers at the first time. But what would be if a fish is dared to challenge to show it’s skill in swimming where there is no water? He was ready to fight butt nobody provided him a field. Anyway he had to be alive to prove either he is skilled or not. The days were almost same as the old days when he reached Mumbai from Calcutta with the ambition of acting in films. He had been an assistant to then famous dancer Helen. He was known by the name Rana Rez.
Those days were the real days of struggle for existence-as far as Mithun-the man is concerned. After winning the national award, Mithun was offered some roles for the sake of name, and he did two-minute role in ‘Do Anjane’ with Amitabh Bachan and in ‘Phool Khile Gulshan Gulshan’ with Rishi kapoor. But the goddess of fortune was still away from him. Then it was Ravikanth Nagich, who showed willingness to conduct a screen test for Mithun for his film ‘Suraksha; To Mithun it was like a test to decide whether he should be alive or dead; and he proved eligible to live as an actor. The film was a success and soon other producer began to catch sight at him and his talent. And he started receiving offers. Then there released films lime ‘Dilwala; ‘Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye; ‘Baazi’ making Mithun their backbone. All of them collected fairly well. That makes him courageous to produce his own film. Thus came ‘Boxer’. In spite of his good performance ‘Boxer’ died in the box-office, putting him in utter disappointment and financial crisis. But he had a great security-the emotional security he got from his recently-wedded partner-Yogeeta Bali, now better known as Yogeeta Chakraborty. And he began fighting hard with his destiny, to win his lost position. Afterwards he blindly accepted all the offers that he saw around. Critics evaluated him as an actor of third rate films. But he unheard such a remarks because he had a great goal to achieve, mainly to find out an economic asylum and then regain his lost pride.
Then came ‘Disco Dancer; to raise him from the ditch of negligence and under-estimation. ‘Disco Dancer’ the film produced and directed by B. Subhash, who saw some rare sparks in Mithun’s feet and made a super star, a super dancing star, the kind of star the industry had never seen before.
Finally Mithun recognized as a star, a very big star... This film proved to be a boon to him to win the minds and thoughts of million. It was an opportunity to show his miracle once again and mesmerise the audience by his tremendous performance as a disco dancer. He made them sing; he made them dance… For many of the years followed, the song "I am a disco dancer" was seen dancing over the lips of not only Mithun-admirers but all who loved music. The result of all that was, becoming Mithun a superstar from he status of an actor who used to act in ‘B’ and ‘C’ class films
Disco dancer made Mithun an idol of not only people but the producers of film industry also. Common people who began worshipping him rushed to theatres where his films were running, and the producers rushed to his home to fix a date with him... When quite a lot of them assembled around him, his life began to sprout anew. People called him "Amitabh of the poor; but the producers gave him no new name because his name was all that they needed for their films
Disco Dancer’ led him to ‘Pyar Jhukta Nahin’ when director K.C Bokadia landed Mumbai from Madras, as if it was to give a second hit to Mithun Chakraborty. If ‘Disco Dancer’ brought him out of the huge eclipse f ill-luck, ‘Pyar Jhukta Nahin’ brought him up to the heavens, where the real stars are stayed to light the universe permanently. ‘Pyar Jhukta Nahin’ was the most collected best-hit of that year in 1986.
Once he was a chance-seeker like many other suffered-young actors in Mumbai. On those days his ‘Bharath award’ was like a toy to a kid, only a show piece. Once Mithun had to plead with an elderly photographer Mr Thakkar to photograph him. When it happened he felt he was really honoured with another award. That photograph still adorns India photo studio, Mr Thakkar’s studio, now being run by his son, Vimal, who was one of Mithun’s rich friends.
The veteran film maker Dulal Guha and sons Gautam and Pututl and their sister took a great liking for Mithun and treated him like a part of the family. Mithun still remembers the day he cried when the sister was getting married and leaving home.
But Mithun Cahkraborty after the hilarious success of ‘Disco Dancer;’ and ‘Pyar Jhukta Nahin; was a different man. It was the miracle played by time that he was thrown in to the world of busy and work, all of a sudden.
He felt it was only a curtain like division that existed between the world of hope and that of despair. And once he succeeded in breaking it he had no look-back. The film world accepted him but by the time the film-lovers had adopted him.
Soon word about his hotel spread in Mumbai. He also made it clear to film maker in the city that he was willing to act in films provided their films entirely shot in Ooty and other places in the South, any place but Mumbai. Some film makers reluctantly decided to take the risk. They made films with Mithun wherever he wanted. Once they came, they found much possibility there in "The Monarch". The films they made with Mithun did well at the box-office and soon something amazing happened. Mithun was a market by himself. He formulated his own plans. He decided to work with directors without any fun fare, any ‘nakhras’. He planned films where no big money, no big risk were involved. He was responsible for an umpteen number of new girls getting their breaks as his leading lady ladies. According to one rough estimate Mithun is the only hero who has never objected to casting any girl as his heroine. He was worked with more than twenty five new girls, including Madhuri Dixit.
After making his debut in Mrinalsen’s ‘Mrigaya’ in 1976 and walked away with a national award for the best actor, seventeen years later, in 1993, Mithun Chakraborty has once again bagged the best actor award for his role in Budhadeb Das Gupta’s Bengali film ‘Tahader Katha’. It proved that despite his pre-occupation with desi disco and dare devil action in the intervening years, the real actor in him still breaths. It launched his sense of pride once again and he got back the energy and spirit of another angry-young man though he was at his 40 plus.
Honours other than film awards also came to his way. Mithun had been honoured by the Oxford University Majlish, an organisation at Oxford made by Asian students. Mithun Chakraborty is the third Bengali after Rabindranath Tagore and Pandit Ravisankar to be thus honoured. Some other Universities also followed it and honoured him.