By Chaitanya Padukone
Bollywood veteran yet evergreen actor Mithun Chakraborty has been a style icon and a screen idol over the past four decades. Not just in India but also in Russia, China, East Europe, and many other countries where his movies especially the cult film ‘Disco Dancer’ and the dance-song ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ continues to be a frenzied craze even after four decades. Recently when I met Mithun-da at one of the promotional events of his lead-actor son Namashi’s debut movie ‘Bad Boy’, the ‘Tashkent Files’ macho actor appeared upbeat and yes super-trendy. The long-haired senior actor looked rejuvenated, as he was clad in ‘ripped’ denim jeans, with a cozy shoulder shawl slung over an ethnic kurta and feet tucked into gleaming boots.
What stood out was his classy ‘beret cap’ with an insignia on it. When I quizzed him on his current head-gear, the candid Mithun-da first asked whether it was blending with his face and personality. When I responded with “Of course Mithun-da. Your style statements are always in vogue and make a lasting impact, he smiled. That’s when he shared with me that a similar beret cap with the insignia and long-haired look was highly popularized many decades ago by South American Marxist rebel and ‘late’ Cuban revolutionary icon Che Guevara.
Asked about his son’s off-screen attitude at home., Mithun-da responded with, “Namoh is a merry mix and you can call him a ‘good-bad-boy’, “he chuckled. Interestingly, son Namashi who idolizes his father Mithun and considers him a legendary icon and a Screen-God, also shares how his dad is an excellent cook as well. “My dad has always taught me to be a fighter and not give up easily, and that should keep me going”, enthuses Namashi who is paired opposite winsome Amrin Qureshi.
“Be a good human being first, be sincere, have patience, and success is bound to follow,” is what I advised Namoh, “shares Mithun-da who has gone through an arduous struggle when he started off in his acting career, after graduating from FTII (Pune). Gliding into a flashback, the senior actor says, “There was a time when I was shooting like a junior artiste for a few scenes in movies like ‘Do Anjaane, (1976). Those days when I was hungry, nobody cared to offer me food. Then came the movie ‘Mrigayaa’ where I was cast as a de-glam Adivasi tribal hero. But my patience was rewarded. Because in ‘Mrigayaa’ itself, I won the National Film Award. Six years came the mega-hit ‘Disco Dancer’ and then there was no looking back”, he shrugs.
‘Bad Boy’ director Raj Kumar Santoshi refutes rumors of him being influenced by Mithun-da to cast his son Namashi. Reacts Santoshi, “Not even once did Mithun-da call me up or try to influence me. Namashi was auditioned and cast in ‘Bad Boy’ on actual merit. The only time Mithun came on the sets was for his cameo appearance in the song ‘Janabe Ali’.
The outspoken Mithun-da who is techno-savvy, regrets the consequent loss of personal human touch. “Ever since mobile phones have started, we tend to sms or Whatsapp the actor or actress sitting inside a nearby parked vanity van. Previously we used to meet up personally, “points out Mithun-da.
(The writer of this news-story Chaitanya Padukone is an eminent award-winning senior entertainment journalist-author)