From naxalite to celebrity? I can picture black belt Mithun Chakraborty as a Robin Hood-like rebel!

Mithun Chakraborty was recently in the news for a serious misdemeanour. He was making amends, actually. The Trinamool Congress MP and actor returned the money he received from the Saradha group to the Enforcement Directorate. The amount was to the tune of 1.19 crore. It must have been difficult, but he took it on the chin.

He acted in promotional videos and advertisements that were broadcast on television shows produced by the Saradha group.

When Mithun Chakraborty entered Bollywood in 1976 with film Mrigaya, for which he bagged the National Award, Mithun Da was, possibly, trying to rediscover and rehabilitate himself. Of course, it couldn’t have been easy. The remnants of his past, sometimes, reflected in his roles. In movies like ‘Disco Dancer’, ‘Ghulami’, ‘Jeete Hain Shaan Se’, ‘Baazi’, Mithun portrayed rebellious streak with flamboyance. He was a natural.

It is widely believed that Mithun Da was a Naxalite in Kolkata, and had close links with Charu Mazumdar, a communist revolutionary.

He was, like all naxalites, trained in Martial Arts, and was in the ‘Wanted List’ of the Bengal police. He fought alongside Bengal Naxalites, for the rights of the underprivileged. He had picked up the gun, thinking he would change the way things were, but he was too innocent to realise the reality.

However, he was so moved by his brother’s death that he abandoned naxalism to support his family. While he was trying to leave his past behind, and move on, renowned writer Khwaja Ahmad Abbas came along the way and offered to cast Mithun in his movie, ‘The Naxalites’.

Earlier, he refused as it would have triggered painful memories, but succumbed later to the director’s sustained pressure. Although the movie didn’t do well at the Box Office, Mithun thanked the director for giving him the opportunity to explore varied characters.

Known as Gouranga Chakraborty in his earlier days, Mithun is a highly respected individual in multiple spheres of life today. He is an accomplished, celebrated actor, a Rajya Sabha MP from TMC, singer, producer, social activist, entrepreneur, and a winner of three National Awards, a feat not many actors have achieved.

From naxalite to celebrity, Mithun Chakraborty has had a roller-coaster ride. In his mid 60s, Mithun’s eyes can sometimes still confuse you. Whether there is pain, regret, or indifference, it becomes difficult to tell.