Kolkata: The ‘disco dancer’ fame actor Mithun Chakraborty’s political leaning came a full circle when he joined the Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) on Sunday, minutes before Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Brigade Parade Ground rally in Kolkata.
Once a true ‘Urban Naxal’ who fell in love with the ideology of the Naxalite movement in the 1960s as a teenager, his current affiliation with the right is indeed dramatic. Modi called Mithun “Banglar chhele” (Bengal’s own) and the BJP definitely would hope to use the star’s image to shore up its electoral prospects in West Bengal.
Mithun’s ultra-left and left leaning
Born on July 16, 1950, in a lower-middle-class Bengali family, Gouranga, who later rechristened himself as Mithun, was swayed by the extremist ideology on which the Naxalite movement was founded, much like thousands of other impressionable Bengali youth in the late 1960s.
He had close links to the founder of the Naxalite movement, Charu Majumdar and was even wanted by the police for his Naxal affiliation before his debut film directed by Mrinal Sen ‘Mrigaya’ was released. In several interviews, Mithun mentioned his friendship with the fiery Naxal leader and how he had left the movement post his brother’s death in an accident.
He later shifted to the political mainstream of the Left maintaining close links with the CPI (M)-led Bengal’s ruling dispensation of Jyoti Basu and Subhas Chakraborty. In 1986, he even hosted a show for raising funds for the chief minister’s flood relief, that had stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha in participation.
Post deaths of both those leaders by 2010, his association with the Left also ended.
Tryst with Mamata’s centrist TMC
In 2011, ‘Didi’ Mamata Banerjee arrived and changed the political course in West Bengal. When Mithun met Banerjee at Suchitra Sen’s funeral in 2014, he was offered a party ticket, which eventually paved a way for his Rajya Sabha membership.
Mithun became Didi’s poster boy, of course, and he attacked the BJP for trying to cut into the votes of the TMC by rasing, “Har Ghar Didi, Baar Baar Didi” to counter the BJP’s slogan: “Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi”.
The stint was not long though. He resigned as a member of Rajya Sabha two years later on ‘health grounds’, after his name cropped up in a chit-fund scandal.
The ‘right’ turn?
He then started leaning towards Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS). He visited RSS headquarters at Nagpur in 2019, where he met chief Mohan Bhagawat. The functionaries then said that Mithun visited as “he has started learning about the Sangh’s work” and that “he was impressed by the RSS’ commitment towards society”.
On February 16, the RSS chief had another meeting with the actor in Mumbai. “I have a spiritual connection with Mohan Bhagwat. I had met him in Lucknow and later I had requested him to come to my home when he is in Mumbai,” the actor said, post the meeting.
Mithun’s entry into BJP, thus, is no bummer. He has been a man of all seasons, films, and political ideologies. He even called himself ‘a cobra that can kill with one bite’. What purpose Mithun shall serve BJP and what he can slay with his ‘bite’ can only be extrapolated at the moment.