Together the TMC and BJP have fielded more than 15 star candidates in Bengal elections this time. They are pulling crowds in their respective constituencies. But one veteran stands out in demonstrating star power. He is Mithun Chakraborty, He is not contesting. He is campaigning all over Bengal, doing two to three roadshows a day, and is pulling a huge crowd. Forget politics; he is demonstrating, and quite strongly so, that even at the age of 70 he is the most popular star in Bengal.
During his time Mithun Chakraborty was referred to as ‘guru’, the sobriquet that was also used for the legendary yesteryears hero Uttam Kumar. Now, after a gap of another two decades, Chakraborty is called ‘Mahaguru’. Those BJP workers, who were disheartened by Sourav Ganguly not joining the party after his illness, have forgotten the former captain of India now. According to them: “After Modi and Amit Shah, Mithun-da is the one who is pulling huge crowd all over Bengal. He alone equals one hundred such stars.”
For the record, TMC has fielded quite a few film-stars this time. The list includes veterans like Chiranjeet Chakraborty (a MLA at present), and present-day stars like Soham Chakroborty (Chandipur), Saayoni Ghosh (Asansol Dakshin), Raj Chakraborty (Berrackpore) Sayantika Banerjee (Bankura), Koushani Mukherjee (Krishnanagar Uttar) to name a few.. The BJP too has fielded quite a few stars, including Union Minister Babul Supriyo (Tollygunge), Rudranil Ghosh (Bhawanipur, the constituency represented by Mamata Banerjee for last 10 years), Shrabanti Chatterjee (Behala West), Yash Dasgupta (Chanditala) and Paayel Sarkar (Behala Purba).
For TMC, their star MPs like Shatabdi Roy, Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakroborty are also campaigning for their candidates. But visbly, none of these stars match the popularity of Mithun Chakroborty. The actor, who won a national award for the art-film ‘Mrigaya’ in 1976 and then turned into a hero for Hindi commercial films, have acted in different types of Bengali films since 1990s.
Curiously, the people are more interested to hear from Chakraborty the dialogues of his popular Bengal films. But he is only occasionally obliging his fans during his roadshows. Mostly he is busy in sending political messages. The grapevine is throwing up suggestions that he may become the Chief Minister if BJP wins. If not so, according to insiders, he will be given some other ‘very important assignment’. What that can be is anybody’s guess.