Mithun Chakraborty is a man of many images. Apart from a dancing star, an action hero and a big name in the hospitality industry, Mithun has been vocal in promoting the cause of his colleagues. As the chairman of Cine Artistes Welfare Trust he is in news for striking a noble deal with Star Network. Cine and Television Artistes Associaton (CINTAA) and Star have come up with “Superstars Ka Jalwa” where the stars of big and small screen have descended on a common platform for the cause of their fellow artistes who are in need of help.
Excerpts from an interview:
How did you get associated with the cause?
I started as a junior artist. I have the firsthand idea of how hard it is to make it big in the industry and how fickle success is in the film world. I have been part of cine artist association for a long time but in 1992, the then President Amjad Khan called me and expressed his desire to turn the body into a trust. Unfortunately he did not live see his dream come true. But we worked hard and in the first year itself collected Rs.1.75 crores by organising shows abroad.
Do you see Government role considering Bollywood is an industry?
Of course! For years I have been silent but now I have become vocal about it. Film industry provides highest tax to the Government but we don't have facilities likes gratuity and pension. Artistes contribute to the cause but they can't provide a regular flow of resources. Thankfully, Government has provided us land to build a CINTAA tower, where artistes would be able to get hostel, club and medical facilities.
How you have been able to bring all the stars together?
They come on their own. I don't need to convince them. The big thing is that Star saw an opportunity in the concept and gave us a cheque of Rs.5 crore and Sohail Khan conceived it in the form of a series.
What about stuntmen and junior artistes?
They have their own associations. I also head the labour association of the industry for the last 16 years. And I am happy to share that things are not as bad as they used to be. We have Rs.25 crores in our account. We have been able to help them in all kinds of emergencies. Some come for medical support. Some need help in getting their kids married.
National Awards are making big news. How was it when you got it for the first time… how do you see the trend of National Awards being conferred to popular mainstream films?
When I got the National Award for ‘Mrigya' it was big news at that time as well. But I had to prove myself all over again to get the nod of commercial film directors. I had to prove that I can dance and fight as well.
Today there is controversy every time the awards are announced. I don't want to comment on whether the jury has been able to bridge the gap between the serious and popular cinema.