Mithun Chakraborty, the Disco Dancer virtually ruled the Bollywood industry during the 80s. If regional films are included, then Mithun da can be said to have appeared in over 300 films. An alumni of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India, his contribution to the Indian film industry has been immense and even today at the age of 63 years he continues the work which he had started long time back when he had first entered the film industry.
It witnessed tremendous success because of its interesting storyline, oodles of dances and feet tapping music that remains a cult favorite even in present times. Another movie that had cult following was Gunda. Then there were other musical films like Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki and Dance Dance that popularized Mithun Chakraborty as a talented dancer. Some other hit movies he worked in were Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye (1983), Pyaar Jhukta Nahin (1985), Swarg Se Sunder (1986), and Pyaar Ka Mandir (1988). All these movies remain his most commercially successful ones to date.
It was in the year 1976 that Mithun Chakraborty debuted in the film Mrigaya directed by Mrinal Sen, for which he was given the prestigious National Film Award for Best Actor. But his next films, Do Anjaane and Phool Khile Hain Gulshan fared averagely. The period following the 1970s brought in some fresh change for Mithun Chakraborty, who shot to fame with movies like Surakshaa, Hum Paanch and Wardaat that was a sequel of Surakshaa. His fortune changed completely for the better after he starred in the musical film, Disco Dancer in 1982.
His image then changed from a flamboyant one to an action hero with the coming of movies like Wanted (1983), Boxer (1984), Jagir (1984), Jaal (1986), Watan Ke Rakhwale, etc. Apart from commercial success, Mithun has also received rave critical acclaim. His acting in his first film Mrigaya and others like Tahader Katha and Swami Vivekananda were much liked and fetched him National film awards. In 1990, he was given the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in Agneepath and the Filmfare Best Villain Award for acting in Jallad.
But it’s said that Mithun’s movies were made on a budget of 2 cr approx and they used to earn 4 cr approx. That means double return. Consider the budget of Happy New Year and collections. Budget: 150 cr Collections: 343 cr Just above double. The point here is that Mithun’s acting also translated into a simple business proposition. Post his Bollywood career Mithun shifted to Ooty. It’s said he charged 40-60 lakhs per movie and finished his part in close to 2 months. He built his own hotel The Monarch in Ooty and offered discount to producers who had the production unit to stay there. It proved convenient as well as profitable.
Now he has a complete hotel chain and several institutes running successfully.During 1990s, Mithun shifted his attention to low-budget B-grade movies. He, however, made a comeback to the mainstream with Mani Ratnam’s Guru in 2005.
Mithun succeeded as an actor but never could achieve a super star status like Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, or Anil Kapoor. He became a dancing star, an action hero, a villain, got lots of critical acclaim, but could never achieve super stardom. And even now gets supporting roles in big banner films with the likes of Salman khan.
He has the record of working in more than 300 films, many of them flops. In simple terms a movie which does not recover its production cost is a flop.
Mithun is a movie miracle. The actor who started his career with Mrinal Sen’s arthouse classic Mrigayya today is Bollywood’s B-grade king. Every year, a slew of similar Chakraborty sagas which have the many time National Award winner beating up the baddies, romancing voluptuous unknown Southern heroines and eventually triumphing over evil release and, often, sink without a trace. However, laughing all the way to the bank.
Fridaybrands.com appreciates Mithun da’s unusual mettle of being a star, although not a super star, and also at the same time being a very successful businessman.