Mithun Chakraborty's fascinating journey from 'Mrigaya' to Padma Bhushan

January 26, 2024
Mithun Chakraborty has lived a crowded and colourful life that has finally been acknowledged by the President confirming upon him the prestigious Padma Bhushan.

From making his debut playing a Santhal rebel in a Mrinal Sen film to being emblazoned in public memory as the Disco Dancer, from Communist to BJP bhakt, and hospitality industry baron based out of Ooty, Mithun Chakraborty has lived a crowded and colourful life that has finally been acknowledged by the President confirming upon him the prestigious Padma Bhushan.

Born on June 16, 1950, in Kolkata, Mithun marked his acting debut with the critically acclaimed Mrinal Sen film ‘Mrigayaa’ in 1976. His big screen journey is a fascinating odyssey, and he is celebrated for his versatility, seamlessly transitioning between various genres, including drama, action and dance.

Mithun’s filmography, in fact, is a testament to his versatility and enduring appeal. Here’s the IANS selection of his most memorable films:

‘Mrigayaa’: The actor’s foray into cinema began with the 1976 historical film set in the British Raj, ‘Mrigayaa’, directed by Mrinal Sen. The young and muscular Mithun’s portrayal of a Santhal rebel earned him the National Film Award for Best Actor.

‘Mera Rakshak’: In this 1978 action-packed film, Mithun displayed his versatility by playing a vigilante, showcasing his prowess in the realm of action cinema. Directed by Tamil director R. Thyagarajan of ‘Hathi Mere Sathi’ fame, the movie also stars Rameshwari, Rakesh Pandey and Gayatri in pivotal roles, along with a goat who acts as the ‘Rakshak’ in the film.

‘Disco Dancer’: The 1982 dance film directed by Babbar Subhash, stars Mithun and Kim Yashpal in the leading roles. This iconic film, known for its music by Bappi Lahiri in his prime and party favourites such as ‘Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja’, ‘I Am A Disco Dancer’, ‘Yaad Aa Raha Hai’ and ‘Koi Yahan Nache Nache’, turned Mithun into the ‘Disco Dancer’ sensation, capturing the hearts of audiences not only in India, but also internationally, especially in the then Soviet Union.

‘Shaukeen’: The 1982 comedy film showcased Mithun’s ability to balance humour with nuanced performances, earning him accolades for his portrayal of a young man (Ravi Anand) caught in a web of relationships. It also featured veterans Ashok Kumar, Utpal Dutt and A.K. Hangal, and Rati Agnihotri.

‘Dance Dance’: Riding on the success of the disco era inspired by the John Tavolta classic, ‘Saturday Night Fever’, this 1987 film further solidified Mithun’s status as the ‘Disco Dancer’ and featured some of his most memorable dance sequences. The musical film also starred Smita Patil and Mandakini. The music for the movie was inspired by the Italo disco style of the 1980s.

‘Agneepath’: Mithun Chakraborty’s intense portrayal of Krishnan Iyer MA in this 1990 action crime drama, directed by Mukul Anand. left a lasting impact, contributing to the film’s overall success. It starred Amitabh Bachchan in the lead.

‘Tahader Katha’: In this 1992 Bengali drama directed by the internationally acclaimed Budhhadeb Dasgupta, Mithun showcased his versatility, delivering a compelling performance that added depth to the narrative. He also bagged a National Film Award for Best Actor.

‘Swami Vivekananda’: Another gem of regional cinema, this 1998 biographical film saw Chakraborty portraying Sri Ramakrishna, the spiritual teacher of Swami Vivekananda, demonstrating his ability to handle roles of historical significance. Directed by celebrated South Indian director G.V. Iyer, the film starred Sarvadaman Banerjee as Swami Vivekananda. Mithun won his third National Film Award, this time for Supporting Actor, for this movie.

‘Guru’: Mithun’s role as newspaper editor Nanaji Manik Dasgupta in this 2007 Mani Ratnam film was critically acclaimed, showcasing his ability to shine even in ensemble casts. It starred Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles.

‘Phir Kabhi’: In this 2009 romantic film, Mithun continued to impress audiences with his mature performances, proving his enduring relevance in the industry. Directed by V.K. Prakash, the film stars Dimple Kapadia, and Rati Agnihotri.

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