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From Naxalism to ‘Disco Dancer’ to politics: How the death of his brother completely changed Mithun Chakraborty’s life

After his brother’s death, though there was a chance of him being arrested, Mithun decided to leave Naxalism and return to his family.

Mithun Chakraborty, the very famous veteran actor, has joined Bharatiya Janata Party. His presence at PM Modi’s rally in Bengal speaks volume. Best known for his unmatchable dance moves, boy-next-door looks and unique style, Chakraborty has won the hearts of millions.

Interestingly, during the last years of his career, he chose to do some low budget films like Gunda that were nowhere close to the mainstream Hindi film industry, but his presence in the films created a cult of followers who love such films. His dialogues have found their way to memes that further increased his popularity among the new generation.

Mithun’s Naxal connection

There is an old saying, “If you’re not a communist at the age of 20, you haven’t got a heart. If you’re still a communist at the age of 30, you haven’t got a brain.” Mithun was also one of those young minds that became part of the Naxalite movement. He was born in a lower-middle-class Bengali family, and during the late 1960s, like thousands of Bengali youth in their 20s, he also joined the communist party and Naxal movement.

Mithun Da ultimately quit the movement due to the death of his brother in a freak accident before eventually ending up in the film industry. But before leaving Naxalism for good, Chakraborty had a close connection with Charu Mazumdar, a fiery Naxal leader and Ravi Ranjan alias Bhaa. Interestingly, Bhaa was famous for his oration and manipulative skills. When police started a crackdown on Naxals in West Bengal, Mithun went into hiding and remained a fugitive from justice for some time.

After his brother’s death, though there was a chance of him being arrested, Mithun decided to leave Naxalism and return to his family. He joined the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, which he believed had helped exorcise the demons from his Naxal-connected past.

However, the label of being a Naxalite was not that easy to go. Before he could land in Mumbai (then Bombay), his name was already a topic of discussion among the film fraternity. Fortunately, he did not have to spend a lot of time looking for work and ended up doing Mrigaya in 1976, for which he also won his first National Film Award for best actor. By 1982, when his song ‘I am a Disco Dancer’ came out, he became a well-known name across the country.

There was, though, one film that made him anxious and reminded him of his Naxal past. He was offered the lead role in The Naxalites that was released in 1980. It was based on the movement he was part of. He was first reluctant to accept the offer as he believed it would bring back the memories of his dark past but eventually, he ended up doing it. The film did not do well at the box office.

Political connection ran through Left, TMC and now BJP

Mithun Da’s political journey goes back to the time of the Left. During the 1980s, Mithun had close connections with Subhas Chakraborty, which led to him hosting Hope ’86, an event organized to raise funds for flood relief. Mithun managed to bring big Bollywood names like Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha for the show that improved the image of the Left Front government at that time.

Mithun Chakraborty was in such close proximity with the CPM government that every time it organized a fundraising event, he would do free shows. However, with the death of former CM of WB Jyoti Basu, he started to distance himself from CPM.

When legendary actress Suchitra Sen died, he was in Kolkata. At that time, the head of Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee, offered him a ticket at the Keoratala crematorium in January 2014 during the last rites of the actress. He became a Rajya Sabha member in February 2014. However, he resigned from his post in 2016.

On the day he joined BJP, i.e. March 7, 2021, he said, “What I did not dream was that today I will be on the same stage with such luminaries and in only a matter of time that the leader of the world’s biggest democracy, Prime Minister Modi Ji, is coming on the same stage as well. What is this if not a dream?”

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Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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