A look at the disco dancer’s career on his birthday-Entertainment News, Firstpost

Mithun Chakraborty could have been a legend, had he chosen quality over quantity. On his birthday, Firstpost explores the hidden gems of the actor’s messy career.

Mithun Chakraborty is the only Bengali hero since Biswajeet in the 1960s to have succeeded in Bollywood. Even Bengali Mahanayak Uttam Kumar failed in Hindi with Chotisi Mulaqat in the 1960s and Amanouche in the 1970s. More recently, Biswajeet’s son Prosenjit was a miserable failure in Hindi.

Mithun almost failed in Hindi. Producers told him he was too dark-skinned to be a Hindi film hero. Mumbai’s entertainment industry at that time was filled with gora chitta (light skin) Punjabi and Pathani he-men. When was the last time you saw a dark-skinned hero in a Hindi movie? Nawazuddin Siddiqui is not really a hero. And if we talk about successful Bengalis in Bollywood, actresses from Sharmila Tagore and Raakhee Gulzar to Jaya Bhaduri and Konkona Sen Sharma have presided over the industry.

Once when I mentioned this Bengali demographic in showbiz to Mithun, he laughed mirthlessly. “I never stopped thinking that this film industry was unfair to me. I just needed work so I did whatever came my way after Mrinal Sen Mrigaya which, as you know, won me the national award. After that I played small roles in Hind movies like Dulal Guha Ne Anjaane, Mukti and Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan. I’ll take anything that comes my way. »

This democratic approach to deals stayed with Mithun. I wonder how he survived the onslaught of trash he inflicted on his career. For every superb Mrigaya there were three Raavan Raj, Zakhmee Sipahee and Jallad. Mithun defended the wedge dam. “You may not have liked my commercial films. You might prefer to see me in Mrigaya, Hum Paanch and Buddhadeb Dasgupta Tahader Katha. But those movies couldn’t run my kitchen. I had to do movies like Jallad and Hisaab Khoon Ka. Audiences in the interiors of India were crazy about these films.

Fortunately, Mithun Chakraborty’s legacy does not hinge on the trash rush in the 1980s. Early in his career, Mithun showed his sensitive side with Hum Paanch where he made the underdog look like an underdog cheetah. Producer Boney Kapoor told me he signed Mithun to Hum Paanch after seeing it in Mrigaya.

Then there’s this little-known gem sitara which came in 1980. Mithun played Zarina Wahab’s devoted lover who follows her to Mumbai where she becomes a big star and leaves him behind. The bronze-muscled hero was a delight as an underprivileged, caste-challenged rebel in K Vishwanath Jaag Utha Insaan and Prem Pratiggya. These films were unsuccessful at the box office.

The greatest hits of his career are a crude romantic musical Pyar Jhukta Nahin and the dance musical disco dancer. They’re two of the most populist films of a career that could have gone so much higher, if only the actor hadn’t chosen to go with the flow. Mithun Chakraborty could dance, fight and play. There’s nothing he can’t do. So what stopped him from reaching the top?

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has written about Bollywood long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.

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Colleen D. Ervin