Kolkata: Ram Kamal Mukherjee has several feathers in his cap – journalist, author and filmmaker, he is all-encompassing. In his latest endeavour, Mukherjee has penned a biography on superstar Mithun Chakraborty titled Mithun Chakraborty: The Dada of Bollywood. Published by Rupa Publications, the book chronicles the life and journey of one of India’s most iconic stars Mithun Chakraborty.
Winner of many coveted awards for his biographies on Hema Malini and Sanjay Dutt, it is Mukherjee’s third in the category. It took two years and a few months for Mukherjee to write this book on Mithun.
“Dada (Mithun) initially was very reluctant. But I was very keen on telling his story. There are very few books available on Mithun, mostly in Bengali. He being a national icon, a megastar and legend I felt that he deserved a book,” says Mukherjee.
In fact, the idea of writing a book on Mithun came to his mind after finishing Hema Malini’s authorised biography Beyond The Dreamgirl. “I went to promote the book at Mithun da’s Dance India Dance. That’s when Hemaji asked Dada why he doesn’t tell his story. Dada being extremely shy, jumped out of his chair, ‘Na baba na!’ To that Hemaji jokingly said, ‘You don’t write, let Ram tell your story.’ Dada looked at me and we smiled,” recollects Mukherjee.
Studded with anecdotes and interviews from colleagues, friends, family members and of course Mithun himself, the book has received praiseworthy reviews from various media publications.
Mukherjee remembers that he met Mithun for the first time in Kolkata at the Netaji Indoor Stadium. “It was a terrible experience. I was a freelance journalist. The organisers invited me but didn’t leave any ticket for me at the entrance. I had already informed Dada’s manager that I would be attending his show and do his interview after that. I had to wait outside the stadium for an hour. By the time I reached inside, there was hysteria. Mithun da was on stage, the overcrowded stadium was screaming. The local police were ready for mayhem. As expected, after the show Mithun da was immediately escorted out of the stadium and I faced a stampede. I came home with a torn slipper, bruises on my hand and the echoing sound of ‘Dada dada dada’. He was a phenomenon,” says the author.
Apparently, Mithun wanted his wife Yogeeta Bali to read the first manuscript after Mukherjee had penned the final draft. “Yogeeta ji is a sweetheart. She read the book and corrected a few major and minor facts. After that Dada went through the book and his longtime secretary Vijay ji also read the manuscript. His younger son Namashi was gracious enough to appreciate my effort. The family has been very sweet and cooperative. I have an almost two- decade long relationship with Dada, and I didn’t want to write a book that wouldn’t do justice to his stardom,” shares Mukherjee.
There are many facets in Mithun’s life that would inspire. The struggle that he went through as an outsider should be a lesson for all newcomers who dream to make it big in the tinsel town. “During the lockdown, when Sushant Singh Rajput’s death happened, it made me realise that there are many such outsiders who are constantly fighting to survive in Mumbai. Mithun da in those days faced bigger challenges, financially and physically, he was not at the right side. But he didn’t give up. His story will inspire many newcomers to fight and survive. If you are talented then no one can stop you. Mithun faced roadblocks in every step. The biggest directors and producers didn’t want to cast him. But he created his own fan base. I am sure that this book will inspire many,” says Mukherjee.
The cover photograph has been exclusively shot by Vickky Idnaani. “Vickky is one of the best and finest we have in town. I am really grateful to him for the cover photograph. As people say that a book is often judged by the cover, I am hoping that this one won’t disappoint,” Mukherjee concludes.