21 June, 2021

The Big Buck Opera’s Three-penny Star

Mithun Chakraborty’s formula of filmic success indicates an alternative market within the mainstream

The Big Buck Opera’s Three-penny Star

There might be a yawning aesthetic gulf between Satyajit Ray’s filmic legacy and that of fellow Bengali Mithun Chakraborty-in that order perhaps. But the fact of the matter is that among the non-tax paying provincial and rural audiences, Mithun is a god. All his films record 100 per cent attendance during the first week of release. Following the advice of an astrologer Mithun has decided not to shoot in Mumbai. Based in Ooty, the super-star shoots only in the south. Among his conditions to the producers is that he will give 30 shifts for a film by which time it has to be completed. Take it or leave it. Last year 14 producers took it. The year before that Mithun starred in 12 films. This year, 10 are in the offing. On an average a Mithun film costs between Rs 75 and 80 lakh. Half this amount is fee. Incidentally, he remains one of our highest tax payers.

Roughly 25 to 30 prints of his films are in circulation in each of the six territories. Each territory is sold at Rs 18 to 25 lakh. This is the reason why Mithun is one of the most cashable stars though he is situated on...

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