Nala of modern times

on a culinary journey Mithun Chakraborty loves to cook for his co-stars

on a culinary journey Mithun Chakraborty loves to cook for his co-stars   | Photo Credit: Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Mithun Chakraborty began to cook out of necessity and soon became adept at the art

We adore him for his pelvic gyrations. We admire him for his national awards. But we don’t know that Mithun Chakraborty is adept at cooking as well. “I honed my skills during my days of struggle and gradually fell in love with the art,” says Mithun Now he owns the Monarch Group, which runs a chain of hotels in Ooty and a school where youngsters are taught the hospitality business. “I give them a simple mantra: ‘We can never become the sweet home for our guests. Let’s try to become their second home.’ Courtesy is the key. A little pampering makes people friends for life,” shares Mithun as he sips his special mocktail, Pink Lady.

Mithun took to the art during his college days at The Scottish Church College in Kolkata. “I used to cook in my hostel room. It was illegal, but then, where there is a will…We used to collect money and I used to prepare daal, rice and boiled eggs.” Soon it became his hobby, something that stayed with him when he climbed the ladder to stardom. “I still cook once in 15 days for my kids. During outdoor shoots, I often cook for my co-stars. While shooting for ‘Luck’ in South Africa, Imran (Khan) and Ravi (Kishen) used to wait for my preparation. I do my own thing. I can cook Indian, Chinese… the main thing is, I keep trying,” he smiles. His physique can give the current generation a complex. “I stick to 2,000 calories a day and half-an-hour of vigorous exercise. Earlier I used to drink a lot of wine. Now I have become a lot more judicious. Three pegs of Bacardi at 8.30 p.m., that’s all. However, once a week I give in to the temptation of Bengali food, where I don’t count the calories. I especially love fish fried in mustard oil with poppy seeds, and mixed vegetable spiced with panch phoran.”

Mithun says he is not an actor by ambition. “I always wanted to be in the limelight but acting was not a priority. First it was football. I not only played for my college, but also for different Kolkata clubs. It was a decent source of income. Then I wanted to be in the Navy, but soon I became associated with a political movement which I don’t want to talk about. Somehow, I reached a stage when I could not go back to Kolkata. Fortunately, I was noticed for my dance but got a break with a serious film like ‘Mrigaya’! But stability and popularity came with ‘Suraksha’.”

These days he is happy playing bit roles in small-budget films. “Apart from usual Bollywood fare, I am consciously opting for small-budget films, where the subject is meaningful and where my presence could help promote the issue. Films like ‘Chal Chalein’ and before that ‘Zor Laga Ke Haiyya’ raise important issues. But without some known names, such films are not easy to release commercially.” He has “Babbarr” coming up where he is playing an encounter specialist.

Time for some sweets, and Mithun yearns for rasgullas. “You might be surprised that I don’t take Kolkata rasgullas. I go for the ones prepared in the villages around the city. They simply melt in the mouth. As soon as I land in Kolkata, I need them. ”


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