Mithun Da is everything the Bengali wants to be - successful, admired, unstoppable, talented and most of all effortlessly hard working.
Mithun da won his first National Film Award for Best Actor for 'Mrigayaa' in 1976. He went on to deliver many hit films including 'Do Anjaane', 'Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan', 'Hamara Sansar', 'Amar Deep', and 'Surakshaa'. He has acted in 'Guru', 'Heroes', 'Veer', 'Golmaal 3' and many others.
Mithun da moved on to scores of forgettable, cringe-worthy B-grade films and to stunning works of art, underplayed, underrated and undervalued that balanced out his score sheet, filling out the depressing gaps in his career when he recklessly took on any project that would keep his mammoth charity projects going.
Mithun da had taken a long and circuitous route from pure art house cinema like 'Mrigaya' to a behemoth of popular culture - Disco Dancer - never resting, never stopping to take a breath, and mostly never looking back on a career of blood and sweat to evaluate what he was contributing to cinema.
Today, Mithun da is a cultural icon but it has taken 35 years of back breaking work to earn the respect Mumbai usually reserves for Bengal's most loved artistes such as Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Tapan Sinha, Satyajit Ray, Biswajit Chatterjee, Kishore Kumar , Basu Chatterjee and Bimal Roy among many others.
At 62, he grooved to Sajid Khan's mega successful Houseful 2, and just when you began to despair, he coolly turned around and delivered two fantastic films 'Shukno Lanka' and 'Nobel Chor' with the ease of an artiste who knows his trade inside out and plays to the only people who matter to him - his audience.
The tremendously talented actor, who turns 62 on June 16, is a symbol of both defiance and hope for millions of Bengalis who have been shamed into accepting that they are a lazy lot of people who wear their ineptitude on their sleeves.
Mithun da has many more years left in him. Bengali cinema is at a precarious stage now with young filmmakers re-writing the laws that govern the industry with surprisingly heartfelt and fresh scripts and well etched out characters.
When actor Mithun Chakraborty burst into the silver screen in the late 70s and early 80s with the swagger of a matinee idol that belied a baby face and amazingly intense eyes, it triggered mini tremors in an industry traditionally suspicious of outsiders.
When Mithun (Gouranga) Chakraborty came looking for work in Mumbai, he had two factors working against him; the inability to speak Hindi devoid of a gravelly and heavy Bengali accent and the dark, chiseled looks of a hungry street fighter.
The much-needed break came in the form of India's first mega hit on the disco genre. Overnight street dancer Jimmy won over an elitist audience with an electric guitar and pelvic thrusts that were to become iconic in the years to come in the 1982 cult film 'Disco Dancer'.
The young and dynamic Mithun in his debut movie 'Mrigayaa'.
Mithun, or Bengal's beloved 'Mithunda', is a symbol of hope for hundreds of star struck youngsters who board trains every year to head for Mumbai, hoping to work their way through to the top of Bollywood's fiercely protected ranks.
The '70s was a decade also of action heroes and Amitabh Bachchan was a name to recon with, with his larger-than-life on screen persona. Mithun was facing stiff competition.
Having appeared in more than 250 films in a career spanning over three decades the dancing star remains close to the heart of millions of youngsters fighting for a dream