‘This book is two years of research and 15 years of experience’-EXCLUSIVE


Journalist-filmmaker-biographer Ram Kamal Mukherjee recently released the biography of veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty, who has had an illustrious career in showbiz spanning more than five decades and in various languages. Entitled Mithun Chakraborty: The Dada Of Bollywood, the book chronicles the journey of the “Disco King” from India and also a tale of who he is, given by the people he worked with and his own family. “It’s two years of research and 15 years of experience. For me it was like making a collage, ”says Mukherjee.

In an exclusive conversation with SpotboyE.com, Ram traces the journey of the book, from the actor’s conviction to the end result.

CONVINCE THE ACTOR

Mithun didn’t want anyone to write his bio, whether it’s me or anyone else, because he’s so shy. He is a very jovial and kind person and I haven’t known him for two decades. My interaction with him was mostly for work or parties, but I had followed his work and read articles and interviews from him.

When I went to promote my second book, Hema Malini ji’s biography, on her show, Hema ji casually asked me why I wouldn’t write about Mithun afterwards. And he was extremely shocked by that and told her why she was giving me ideas. But it was already in my head. I wanted to do a book about him because I think his contribution to Hindi cinema is huge. Apart from that, it is also the perfect story of the fortune to the rich as he traveled from Kolkata to Mumbai, faced so many negativities but still didn’t give up. He has indeed succeeded in turning his weaknesses into his strengths and establishing himself as one of the most emblematic actors of Indian cinema and that is what fascinated me too.

While I was in lockdown, the Sushant Singh Rajput incident happened, and it was really shocking to me and everyone. And then the media started to write about strangers and it became a constant stream wherever you saw them. Everyone was talking about why he had taken this drastic step and why he had not done this or that. It was then that I wondered who was the first unique personality that came from outside and became an icon, and it was then that I realized that I had read and researched Mithun, and that it was a good time to write this book.

It was actually someone who came and stayed on benches in Shivaji Park, wandering from one friend to another’s house for free lunch and dinner. It’s actually a story of rags to riches and the Sushant Singh Rajput incident sparked all of this in me to write the book that will inspire those outside actors with a dream.

Most of the cast, especially from this era, are old school and they are skeptical of how this could take shape. There are different issues that I had to deal with, but I think Mithun da was happy with the end result. The only thing he wanted me to do is walk past his wife, Yogeeta ji. Her permission and consent was the most important, and after reading the manuscript, she sent me a beautiful message saying that my blessings are with you. The family had to approve the content and even I didn’t want to do anything that would unnecessarily disturb anyone. Plus, there are so many legalities these days and I didn’t want to step into a murky space where people are suing me. After writing a book, an author should not go to court.

BOOK WRITING JOURNEY AND INTERACTIONS WITH MITHUN

For me, it was all new because there were those little moments of joy, sorrow, depression and insecurity that we were talking about. These things really mattered to me. I spoke to his family, his filmmakers, his colleagues, and the producers and directors he worked with. It’s a biography and it contains all the dimensions of her personality from different points of view. There are also his reviews, and also why he made B-quality movies and was demoted to the B-quality actor category and why great directors like Yash Chopra didn’t want to work with him. There were all these questions I had in mind as a journalist and he answered them all. I just hope people like them.

THE KING OF DISCO

Disco Dancer is a great chapter in the book. How the whole trip went, how he got involved in it and how Disco Dancer became what it is today is in the book. If you come out of India and talk about Mithun Chakraborty in Russia or elsewhere, they actually call him Jimmy. Mithun is actually called Jimmy in many parts of the world. It was surprising to me as well as he showed me music videos, lyrics and letters from his fans. It was crazy because they came from different countries and languages ​​and most of them recognized him as Jimmy with a heart. Jimmy is probably his second name.

The book also tells about why Mithun Da moved to Ooty. A lot of people give the reasons, but in the book we gave the real reason behind it.

LEARN FROM MITHUN’S TRIP

The lesson I learned from interacting with him and writing about his life is that no matter what, don’t give up. All you have is hope and it still clung to it. And he always kept his word. So whatever you get into, stick with it, that’s what I learned from him. I have also learned that nothing is a B grade in your life. Never think that another person is getting something better than you. Mithun has received three national awards in his lifetime, and none of them was for a movie directed by a mainstream filmmaker. So you should always value whatever you receive in life.

Image source: SpotboyE archive, Instagram / ramkamalmukherjee /mithun__chakraborty_

About Cody E. Vaughn

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