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‘I am a workaholic’

For one whole year, Mithun Chakraborty has been missing from Tollywood. But a flop or two in Bengal can’t keep the Mahaguru in Mumbai or Ooty (where he lives) for long. He will be back this winter to shoot three Bengali films, back-to-back. Mithunda tells t2 why he loves masala films that need him to play the messiah time and again...

Did you quit Tollywood after Minister Fatakesto and Satyameva Jayate failed at the box office?

Not at all. I still believe that Bengali films have the potential to do very good business and I have proved so with my films. I have delivered hits every year. There’s Mahaguru, Tiger, Tulkalam, MLA Fatakesto. I will always do Bengali films.... It’s just that I was concentrating more on Bollywood. I have 10-12 Hindi projects in hand.

So you will be seen less in Tolly now...

See I don’t know that. Now I will do films that will satisfy my soul. The script has to stir my soul. It can be a masala film, an art film, an action film or anything else. The script needs to be very close to my heart.

Are the three Tolly films you are planning to do close to your heart?

Definitely. I am in talks with Prabhat Roy for his Hari Om. I need to adjust my dates. The film is about environment pollution and how my character fights against it. In Subhankar Chatterjee’s Handa Bhonda, I have teamed up with Aritro, the little host of Dance Bangla Dance. We play father and son. It’s a very sweet story and I know I will enjoy doing the film. Then there’s a very interesting film called Shukno Lanka by Gaurav Pande. I play an extra artiste, who dreams of making it big some day. It’s a beautiful script and we start shooting from this month. I am really excited about my role. The script is close to my soul.

Your roles are different from what you do usually...

That’s because I am an actor and I need to satisfy my creative instincts. I need to satisfy my hunger with roles that satisfy my actor’s ego. Sometimes, I want to dust off the rust after doing masala films. That’s why I do a Kaalpurush or a Shukno Lanka.

Are you trying to break out of your action-hero image?

No. In fact, I want to do maarbo-ekhane-laash-porbe-shashane-type roles. People spend money to watch me in these roles. The films in which I deliver such dialogues and beat up goondas draw maximum crowd to the theatres. I am not going to give them up easily. I will continue to do them and mouth heavy-duty dialogues. It will be a mistake if I try to avoid playing such characters.

Mithun Chakraborty doesn’t have any fixed image. I don’t believe in image. I have done all kinds of roles. Otherwise, my work wouldn’t have fetched three national awards.

People call me a superstar, megastar, an actor par excellence, a legend. There’s nothing left to achieve in life. Success, money, awards, respect, fans — I have everything. But I am a workaholic and I can’t sit at home, though now I am home due to an accident that happened while I was shooting a helicopter sequence for Luck. I jumped from the helicopter and my hand hit a rock that I hadn’t seen. I am just waiting to put on the greasepaint again.

Which films are you working on in Bollywood?

There are lots.... Heroes with Salman Khan and Preity Zinta has just released. There’s Phir Kabhi opposite Dimple Kapadia, Zindagi Tere Naam with Ranjeeta, Zor Laaga Ke… Haiyya with Riya Sen, Luck with Imran Khan, Chandni Chowk to China with Akshay Kumar, Yuvvraaj with Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, Veer with Salman Khan and Sohail Khan.... Talks are on for other films too.

With so much in hand, when do you get time for cricket?

I am very involved with my team (Royal Bengal Tigers for ICL). I think we are doing well as a team.

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