In an exclusive chat the bighearted original ‘disco dancer’ of Bollywood discusses his new innings, doing character-driven roles convincingly, being the poor man’s Amitabh Bachchan, working with Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar, superstardom and his upcoming action flick Boss…
At 63, Mithun Chakraborty is still a superstar. Call it luck or sheer talent – Mithun da, Elvis impersonator, auto-rickshaw driver’s hero, three-times National Award winner, successful hotelier and exceptional character actor with a mass appeal is experiencing a sort of rebirth, thanks to filmmakers and writers who were raised on his brand of movies. After several months of rigorous follow-up, we managed to pin down the elusive actor for an interview. And it was indeed worth the wait! Catch Mithun da at his candid best…
You play Akshay Kumar’s father in Boss – that makes you the Super Boss!
(Laughs) Aisa aap sochte ho! Boss is about a father-son relationship – a father who holds his values and morals high and wants to keep it alive at all costs, but an incident happens because of which he throws Akshay out of his house. And then comes a time when he goes to that same son asking for help to rescue his younger son. Later, he knows that whatever Boss had done, he did it for his father and the message is – father is always right.
Your association with Akshay has resulted in several successful films – Khiladi 786, Oh! My God and Housefull 2. Being actors from different generations, you two share a good rapport… is that why you have worked more with him that any other actor?
We are very good friends. Akshay has lot of respect and love for me. I guess our energies match. We think alike. Akshay is a sincere actor. He’s punctual and professional. You will never see him coming late on the sets. And he gives 100 percent to everything. I’m also working with Salman Khan in Kick, Ayushmann (Khurrana) in Bambai Fairy Tales, and with two new actors in Subhash Ghai’s Kaanchi.
What’s your role in Kick?
Woh us samay bolunga!
Was it like a reunion of sorts working with Danny Denzongpa?
Of course! We had great fun. We are good friends. We have done many films together – some good, some bad.
What excites you most – scripts or banners? Some say you do films mostly for friendship…
Money and script.
As an actor, you must be happy with the kinds of roles you’re getting these days. But as a father you must be worried about your son Mahakshay Chakraborty’s career…
It’s all about luck in Bollywood. It plays a very big role in an actor’s life. Luck gadhe ko ghoda bana deta hai aur ghode ko gadha! I think Mahakshay has it in him, but luck is not by his side.
Do you ever recommend Mahakshay’s name to the stars you work with?
No. Even if I do, what will happen? Agar naseeb mein hi nahin hoga, toh kya? Let him try.
From being the eternal disco dancer of Hindi cinema to becoming the poor man’s Amitabh Bachchan – looking back, did you ever think you would reach this position?
I would say I’m fortunate that I got lot of opportunities to prove myself. As I said earlier, it’s all about chance. There’s no other formula. I was a dancing star. The dance forms changed with time. First MC Hammer’s dance was popular and then came hip hop and later, new dance forms. I was inspired by Elvis Presley and Adele Astaire. Even today in every village you will see a Mithun Chakraborthy. Sometimes if people ask me why I did a particular role, I tell them maine chance liya. This interview is your chance (smiles).
Does this mean you’ll do every film offered to you in the name of chance?
If I think there’s a chance! (Laughs)
You come across as someone who’s absolutely content with life with no complains…
One has to be ready to face every phase of life. I’m very satisfied as an actor. I have seen superstardom. I’ve won three National awards and the Padma Vibhushan. What else should I ask for? If I think and answer your questions, then I won’t be the real Mithun. Sochke intelligent baatein karke aapko impress karne ke liye main yahaan nahin hoon. That’s the reason why I don’t like doing interviews.
Dance India Dance season 4 just got over. Will you judge the show’s next season too?
The people at Zee have a lot of trust in me. I wasn’t ready initially to judge the dance show, but I took the chance and it paid off. The dance show has bridged the generation gap. Even a five-year kid knows who I am. I asked him what’s my name and the kid said, ‘Grandmaster Chakraborthy’!
Any fitness tips for your fans?
Eat less, exercise regularly every morning and do martial arts.