Actor Mithun Chakraborty ended days and weeks of speculation today by finally joining the BJP at a massive rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to campaign for the Bengal election. One of Bengal's most beloved actors, "Mithun-da" delivered all the punchlines that could thrill the giant crowd waiting for PM Modi at the Kolkata Brigade Parade Ground.
"I am proud to be a Bengali. I know you love my dialogues," he said, and went on to recite some of his most famous one-liners.
"Marbo ekhaney...lash porbay shoshaney ('i will thrash you here. Your body will be found at the crematorium ," he said, reciting one from his 2006 hit film, "MLA fatakeshto".
"Here is my new dialogue. Ami joldhorao noi, bele borao noi... ami ekta cobra, ek chobol-ei chhobi (Don't mistake me for a harmless snake, I am a pure cobra, one strike and you become a photograph." His audience cheered wildly.
In a Kurta, cap and sunglasses, the national award winner accepted the BJP flag and waved to the crowd.
It was like a dream come true, he said. "The Prime Minister of the world's biggest democracy. And I will share the stage with him. I had never dreamt of being a part of such a huge rally. I wished to work for the poorer sections of our society, and that wish will now be fulfilled."
The 70-year-old actor and former Trinamool Rajya Sabha member has a huge fan-following in Bengal. Lately, he has been seen in popular dance reality shows; in Bollywood, his popularity peaked during his days as a dancer actor in blockbusters like "Disco Dancer".
Ever since RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visited Mithun Chakraborty at his bungalow in Mumbai on 16 February, there had been speculation the actor may join BJP and become its face for Chief Minister in the Bengal Assembly election starting later this month. Whether he is or not, the actor is among the important faces the BJP will pitch in its campaign to oust Mamata Banerjee in Bengal.
Mithun Chakraborty quit the Trinamool within two years of his Rajya Sabha nomination after he was named in the Saradha chit fund case. He was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate on Rs 1.2 crore he had received from the group as fee for becoming brand ambassador of a TV news channel the Saradha group financed.
He returned the money and quit the Rajya Sabha as well as the Trinamool Congress pleading poor health.