Famous Bollywood film actor Mithun Chakraborty (b. Gouranga Chakraborty) was born on June 16th 1950 in Kolkata (then Calcutta) to a Bengali family. Chakraborty earned an honours degree in Chemistry from the University of Calcutta and later studied acting at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. Once a loyal Naxalite, he quit the Naxalite movement and returned to his family after his brother died in a sudden accident.
Mithun Chakraborty made his acting début in 1976 in the film Mrigya, directed by Mrinal Sen; a film for which Chakraborty went on to win the prestigious National Film Award for Best Actor. Even after winning this award, Chakraborty had to struggle to find a foothold for himself in the Hindi film industry in Mumbai and he started this by becoming an assistant to famous dancer Helen, by taking on the name Rana Rej. During his days as a struggling actor in Mumbai, Mithun Chakraborty got an opportunity to share screen space with Bollywood legends Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha in the film Do Anjaane, in which he plays Bachchan’s neighbour. Do Anjaane was followed by films like Phool Khile Hai Gulshan Gulshan, Hamara Sansar, and Amar Deep. Chakraborty’s film Mera Rakshak was immensely popular in 1978 and soon things began looking up for the actor in Bollywood. It was Ravikant Nagaich’s spy film of 1979 Suraksha, through which Chakraborty entered the limelight. Basu Chatterjee’s Prem Vivah, also in 1979 added another feather to Mithun Chakraborty’s cap.
The 1980’s ushered in a brand new era for the actor and he went on to do films such as Aadat Se Majboor, Unees-Bees, Hum Paanch, Shaukeen and Aamne Saamne. But Chakraborty’s major career breakthrough came in the form of 1982 film Disco Dancer, a musical drama in which he plays the role of a street performer named Anil who goes on to become a famous dancer named Jimmy. The film is remembered for Chakraborty’s convincing performance, his excellent dance moves and catchy music and went on to establish him as a popular name in south Asia and even the Soviet Union. Mithun also delivered many hit films along with actors like Jeetendra and Dharmendra in the 1980s.
Even in the 1990s, Mithun’s streak of success continued and he acted in films like Agneepath for which he won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. Chakraborty went on to do films such as Pyar Ka Devta, Trinetra, Gunahon Ka Devta and Pyar Hua Chori Chori among others. In 1992, Chakraborty won his second National Award for Best Actor for Bengali film Tahader Katha. Following this success, Mithun decided to take a break from Mumbai and along with his family shifted to Ooty, where he constructed the Monarch Hotel. After moving to Ooty, Chakraborty decided to only act in films which were shot on location in Ooty, or at nearby destinations; offering film crew reasonably accommodation in his hotel. This paid off well and Mithun did many films during that time and the audience was treated to a new film starring him almost every week.
Chakraborty then decided to focus on low-budget films and went on to deliver hits like Dalaal, Ravan Raaj: A True Story, Loha, Kaalia, Suraj and Jallad (for which he won the Filmfare Award for Best Villain and the Star Screen Award Best Villain in 1995). Mithun Charkaborty holds the record for appearing in the most number of films as a leading man from 1995 to 1999. In 1998, Chakraborty went on to win his third National Award for the Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film Swami Vivekananda.
In the 2000s, Chakraborty acted in many hit Bengali films such as Guru, Barood, Yuddho and Titli among others. The actor made his comeback to Hindi cinema with his film Elaan in 2005 and went on to star in Mani Ratnam’s hit 2007 film Guru, loosely based on the life of industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani. In 2009, Chakraborty starred with Dimple Kapadia in a critically acclaimed film Phir Kabhi. This was premiered through a direct-to-home release and not the usual theater release and went on to win six awards at the Los Angeles Reel Awards, also in 2009.
Apart from Hindi cinema, Chakraborty has earned himself a lot of success in regional cinema as well and has done many acclaimed Bengali art house films such as Troyee, Jiban Yuddha, Titli, Shukno Lanka and Kaalpurish among others. This versatile actor has also starred in the hit Bhojpuri film Bhole Shankar and an Oriya film Ae Jugara Krushna Sudama.
Apart from acting, Chakraborty has been part of Bengali dance reality show called Dance Bangla Dance, after which he went on to develop an Indian dance competition, called Dance India Dance. Today, this show is India’s largest dance-based reality show.
The actor was also co-owner of now redundant Indian Cricket League team by the name of Royal Bengal Tigers. He also co-owned The Bengal Football Academy which aimed at promoting football talent in the country.
Mithun Chakraborty is married to yesteryear’s actress Yogeeta Bali and they have four children together. The couple’s two sons, Mimoh and Rimoh Chakraborty are also actors.