June 2nd, 2009 - 10:45 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

I DID NOT STOP ACTING IN FILMS BECAUSE I WAS JUDGING DANCE INDIA DANCE MITHUN CHAKRABORTY tells JYOTHI VENKATESH that he is happy Salman Khan has won the crown in Dance India Dance and adds that when he took up the job of judging Dance India Dance for Zee TV, he had told the channel that he would not indulge in any drama to add to the TRPs of the show

How tough was it to be the judge of a reality show like Dance India Dance on Zee TV?
I should confess that to be the judge of a reality dance show like Dance India Dance was very tough because I had to perform my role as the judge without having any script at all. The best part of the show was that it was 100 % an impromptu show, where you cannot predict what is going to happen the next minute. That is the reason the show garnered the maximum number of TRPs and wass known as a show which was hat ke.

How were the participants of the show short listed?
The way the participants for then show were selected was interesting. Initially, only around 6000 out of the one lakh participants who had applied for the show from all over the country were short listed. After that only around 100 were invited to Mumbai for selection. Out of the 100, 40 were short listed later and finally just 18 of them were filtered. Finally the best 12 were asked to take part and selected by way of sms from the viewers.

Did the channel ask you to create drama to add to the TRPs of the show?
You have known me right from the time 33 years ago when I had made my debut as an actor with Mrinal Sen’s Mrigaya. I have always been honest to the core. I told Zee TV when they approached me to be the judge for the show that they should not expect that I should indulge in any drama to add to the TRPs of the show. I told them categorically that I would not in any way create any drama for the show and since the Zee guys believe in me, they agreed when I told them that emotion should not come in the way of judgment of talent in then show.

How do you boost the morale of the participants?
Just like I told my son Mimoh that life is a big fight and hence not to give up fighting his own battle, just because his maiden film as an actor-Jimmy failed to click at the box office, I also told all the participants in the show that as and when they lost their spirits they should not give up their fight. I told each one of them that they should fight their own battle on their own.

What were the highlights of the show?
If you ask me what the highlights of the show were, I’d not hesitate to tell you that ek aam aadmi ko star banana was the USP of the show. The second highlight was that there was absolutely no pretension as far as the show was concerned. The third highlight of the show was me. I was not influenced by any kind of emotion. In fact I repeatedly even requested the viewers who were required to vote for the participants not to judge the winners on the basis of jaath paath or bhasha but zero in on them on the basis of the real talent.

Can you explain?
Believe it or not, the first person to be eliminated in the Dance India Dance show was a participant from Bengal. I promised myself that I’d give a dancing star for our country. This was one show where the girls are on par with their male counterparts. I have always been asking the viewers not to underestimate the girl participants.

Was it a ball game to be a judge?
It was not an easy ball game to be the judge. Mentally you have got to be very alert as a judge

Have you stopped taking up offers to act in films now?
Just because I was busy with my role as the judge on Dance India Dance it does not at all mean that I have gone slow as far as my film assignments are concerned. I do a select few films which are nearer to my heart, because I was needed for Dance India Dance as a judge only once a week when two episodes were shot at Mahalakshmi at Famous Studios.

Which are the films up have up your sleeves now?
I am doing a film called 9mm for Ashu Trikha. Besides that, I am also acting in Soham’s Luck, which is a masala action flick and Veer, an emotional action flick. Salman incidentally has also written the film, which is a period flick. Salman Khan and Sohail Khan play the main leads in the film, which is about a conflict between a father and son. I could not say no to the project because Salman’s father Salim Khan had been of great help in my life when I was nobody.

How do you feel when you look back at your career as an actor?
When I look back at my career, I am happy. I have acted in around 330 films till date. Without meaning to sound immodest, let me tell you that I have seen the kind of super stardom that not many actors have been able to have. Imagine next to Raj Kapoor, I have had a tremendous fan following even in Russia, where like Mera Jootha Hai Japani, people sing my number from Disco Dancer- Jimmy Aaja Aaja. Besides having won three National awards for acting, I am enjoying my super stardom even now today. What more do you think I could have asked for as an actor?

What difference do you find between the stars then and now?
The difference between stars then and now is that we were the real stars at that time. Today star power is actually lacking, because of marketing policies and except for one or two stars, we have not been able to create heroic stars for the simple reason that we have started selling packages.

-Sampurn Media

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