A buxom lady is going to have the shoulder of her blouse torn by a bunch of marauding ruffians. Suddenly, a bottle rolls on the ground and a Man enters the screen. The ruffians ask “Who are you?” In a voice that would make the blood of tigers run cold (old jungle proverb), He says:
“Dikhne me bewada, daudne me ghoda, aur maarne me hathoda hoon main“
The man. The legend. Mithun Chakraborty. Some call him Mithun-da, most call him Prabhuji.
Mithun-da is one of my idols. I will go even further and say He is my God. I believe in Him. And like any fanatic, I am extremely impatient with some people who laugh at Him, compare Him unfavorably to Amitabh and Shahrukh Khan just because He is supposedly “down market”. I think these people should rot in Hell with 72 virgins. 40 year old male virgins that is.
Also like any true-blue fanatic, I would like to spread His word, increase His flock and hopefully salvage many Mithun-less souls. For those who come to scoff, I hope, that after reading this rather lengthy post (the word of God is never concise—The Bible, the Koran, the Gita are not small books), you shall stay to pray.
Or at least say :” Hayeeeeeeeeeeeee Saalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa“
Mea culpa. I have to confess. My faith in Him had faltered. Once. It was occasioned by reading this article.
On the very first day of shooting for Mithun-da’s new movie “Chingari” directed by Kalpana Lajmi, the traditional rape sequence was being picturized between Mithun-da and Sushmita Sen. However Sushmita, who is somewhat of a nag and a pathetic pseudo, left the sets fuming about how Mithun touched her inappropriately during the scene.
Despite the irony of inappropriate fondling during a rape scene, I was distraught. How could Prabhu do this to a girl his daughter’s age? I cried myself to sleep and in my dreams, Mithun-da came to me, whispering words of wisdom.
Well actually no.
He said nothing. In my dream, He was standing on a desolate beach with dolorous weather-beaten eyes. He bent down, picked up a fistful of sand, and let it fall through His fingers. I immediately understood what He meant—-the ephemeral nature of the human body, ashes to ashes –dust to dust—-what is one touch here or there ? It’s all Maya. How true.
In the morning I realized that He also may have meant that all He did was touch silicon (ie sand) and not Sushmita Sen, the creature of flesh and bone.
I was born again.
Unlike Amitabh and Shahrukh and all the other false Gods, Mithun-da delivers. Week after week He delivers hit after hit. And the people whom He cares for, the people who worship Him are not the multiplex-going-Western-culture-aping-Godless-apostates but real Indians—-the villagers, small towners, the sons of the soil—the Jawan and the Kisaan, who flock to see His movies in Mithun temples—-small, stuffy, dilapidated cinema halls with creaking torn seats, insects, peeling paint and the all-permeating stench of sweat and urine.
Mithun-da is versatile. No living actor has essayed as many diverse roles as He has which include (but are not limited to)—a tribal caught in the headlights of exploitation (Mrigaya), a disillusioned freedom-fighter (Tahader Katha), Ramakrishna Paramhansa (Ramakrishna Paramhansa), a ventroquilist (Gudiya), a pimp (Dalal), an army general ( Military Raaj), a Coolie in an airport (Gunda), a drunk ruffian (Prem Pratigya), an assassin (Jallad), a Tamil coconut seller (Agneepath) a boxer (Boxer), a Bengali (Bengal Tiger), a teacher (Krantishetra), a disco dancer (Disco Dancer, Dance Dance), a truck driver (Truck Driver Suraaj), a police officer (Jung), a detective (Lucky), an international terrorist (Baba Sikander in Elaan), a false man of God (Dance of Love) , a Sardar (Tusi Great Ho Paazi) and not to forget his donning the mantle of the Indian James Bond—Gunmaster G9 (actual name:Gopinath) in Suraksha and Wardaat. The first three roles in this list won him National Awards—more than any other Indian actor and all of them the adulation and devotion of his followers.
A word about Mithun-da’s Bond avatar. It’s one of this century’s biggest tragedies that so few people know about our Desi Bond– G-9 . While he may not have worn exquisitely tailored suits or sipped Dom Perignon below 38F, Mithun-da is the only Bond to have group danced with a gaggle of buxom ladies in skin tights.
G9 may not have tangoed with Blofeld and the SMERSH but he had his hands full with Dr. Shiva of the evil Shiv Shakti Organization (this name sounds vaguely familiar in light of the Indian political landscape). And let me remind you, in all his battles G9 came out with flying colors—saving the world from death rays (Suraksha) and invading locusts (Wardaat) while grappling with a futuristic bionic villain, enhanced with bio-mechanical implants at the nano level (in the movie, the villain had calculators strapped to his hands).
Talking of villains, in almost all movies Prabhuji has tackled the scariest villains ever seen on screen. In other words, the scum of the earth as represented by the lusty Bulla, the confused Chutiya, the imperialist Sam, the foul Pothey, the dark Kala Shetty, the hapless Lucky Chikna, the sly Ibu Hatela, the politically well-connected Lamboo Ata and the fearless Ballu Bakra. Each of these accursed souls have been dispatched to their maker by Prabhuji with style and panache as exemplified in the dialogue he delivers to Ibu Hatela :
“Main tumhe Hatela se Katela bana doonga“
If the names of these devils have not made you understand what Prabhuji was up against, here are dialogues from two of them:
“Mai jis gali se guzarta hoo waha bachcha paida hone se pehle durrkar maa ke pet me susu kar deta hai!!” (Loha)
and a similar sentiment:
“Hum aise laashen bicha denge jaise kisi nanhe munhe bacche ke nunhi se pesaab tapakta hain—tap tap” ( Gunda)
Tough guys……….. indeed !
But Prabhuji is not all about dispatching the bad guys. He knows how to have fun. And whenever the villains are not around, He likes to dance and frolic. A few of His memorable Bhajans (many of the “moojick” being supplied by another God, Bhappee-da) —” Char Gya Upaar Re” (Dalal), “Mirchi Re Mirchi Kamaal Kar Gayee, Dhoti Ko Pharke Rumaal Kar Gayee” (Jurmana), “Main Loongi Uthaake Tumhe Disco Dikhati” (Agneepath), De de de chummi chummi (Janta Ki Adalaat), Main Tera Murga (Hitler), Daakiya Babu Daku Hain Pakka ….the list needless to say is endless.
Not only is Mithun-da India’s greatest actor and superhero, He is a very keen businessman. And a visionary to boot. If Henry Ford revolutionized the automotive industry in the early 20th century with the use of the “assembly line”, Mithun-da has done something similar with movies. Sick and tired of Mumbai’s loss-making film industry, He started an alternative center for high-quality yet money-making movies in beautiful Ootie with his hotel (the flagship of the Monark group of hotels which he owns) serving as the base of operations. Movies are efficiently produced within two weeks—from conception to the finished product. No expensive foreign shoots, no production delays and in general none of the needless flab that has made Bollywood a loss making endeavor.
Mithunda has truly productized movie-making by creating a baseline movie framework that can be efficiently re-used for multiple offerings—-the baseline plot is –Mithun-da is an honest man, His father gets killed, His sister gets raped and then He takes revenge. As simple as that. Of late He has started playing the villain but usually what I mentioned before is the skeleton of almost all His movies. With the base structure in place, each particular movie then can be looked upon as an instantiation of this general framework—–as a researcher into formal software design I can only marvel at His godly genius.
Like many geniuses, Prabhu-ji’s greatness has not been appreciated. While duds like Shahrukh keep on getting one Filmfare after another for crappy lovefests, Mithun-da has to be content with measly “Best villain” awards. BS I tell you ! And His greatest movie, “Gunda” surely deserved the Oscars much more than that monstrosity “Titanic”.
Just like Spielberg plagiarized Satyajit Ray’s script to make ET, countless number of Hollywood hotshots have shamelessly copied from the holy texts without so much as a hat tip.
Mithun-da’s movie “Boxer” was an inspirational story of how a no-hoper becomes a champion boxer—with his coach being a monkey whom Mithun-da feeds bananas. Stallone lifted the concept for “Rocky” (sans the monkey—that would have been a giveaway) and the song “Eye of the Tiger” is nothing if not an implicit acknowledgement of having copied from the real Bengal Tiger.
In another movie “Aajgar” Mithun plays a Shaolin monk who learns some amazing move with his hands—he does not even need to touch the villains—they fall nonetheless on account of his knowledge of the “force” (wink wink—sound familiar?).
And then in another movie, he suspends himself mid air and kicks the enemy in super slow mo—–yes the precursor of “Matrix” which incidentally should have been called “Mithun Tricks”.
In the movie “Panther” (or it could have been “Cheetah”) He plays the role of an assassin who is coming out of a state of amnesia. Bourne Identity anyone?
Finally, his movie–“Agniputra”. In that, the villains have kidnapped his mother and sister and the villains gloat over the mother’s dead body. Suddenly the mother gets up and starts bashing the villains to pulp. Then the “mother” removes her mask—it is Prabhuji ! In the audience must have been John Woo—MI2 was born.
Another thing that pains the Man is how many of His physics-defying antics have been appropriated by Rajanikant. Now all Mithun-bhakts have respect for Rajni but surely, splitting a bullet into two with a knife and killing 2 villains with one bullet was first done by Mithun-da in the movie “Heera” where He gave the line :” Mere naam hain Heera, chakoo se bullet ko cheera”.
In a similar situation, I once remember Mithun-da running when a villain fires a bullet. What follows is a breathless chase—bullet flying, Mithun-da running, bullet flying, Mithun running. Then when the bullet is gaining on Him, Mithun-da suddenly steps aside and the bullet passes Him by a whisker. Only then does He realize the bullet is going to hit His widowed mother. Now it is Mithun running, bullet flying, Mithun running, bullet flying. And at the last moment, He grabs the bullet and saves His mother.
I could go on about Him—how He coined the term Disco (which in case you did not know is an acronym with D=dance, I=item, S=singer, C=chorus, O=orchestra–source “I am a Disco Dancer” from “Disco Dancer”), how He is the only person to have been a Naxal as well as a Shiv Shainik, how He has a massive fan following in Russia, how He almost married Sridevi, how He was the highest tax payer in India and how He inspired India’s 21st century economic prosperity with the inspirational line “Agar tujhe halwa khana hain, to tujhe dance karna parega. Dance dance” —-but I shall leave that for now.
Because it is now time for prayers.
Prabhu-ji ki Jay Ho !
Can you feel the love?
(Acknowledgement: Numerous Mithun bhakts in Orkut and real life and our local cablewallah who would screen a Mithun-da movie every Saturday. And apologies for the untranslated Hindi dialogues—-their effect would be totally lost in translation)
[PS: Will be gone for the week to Austria and so will not be able to reply to comments or post anything new ….but please do leave your comments nonetheless :-).
See you all in a week]