Meet Mithun Chakraborty’s younger son, Namashi
Saturday night. When I call Namashi Chakraborty, he casually asks if I had dinner. I reply in the affirmative and ask him about his plans. He chuckles. “My dad is cooking chicken biryani. Saturday is the family’s cheat day.”
A youngster at home on a weekend night is a surprise! The title of Namashi’s debut film, Bad Boy, flashes before my mind’s eye, and I smile.
I had first met the lean, tousle-haired actor when he had attended my media workshop for aspiring actors. He hadn’t introduced himself as actors Mithun and Yogeeta Bali’s son but as a person who passionately loves cinema and knows everything about films. And he was not bragging. I later bumped into him at the MAMI Film Festival and read his reviews on Hollywood films on a portal. “I have written 2,700 plus reviews, sir,” he informed me.
My family and other animals
Namashi’s fascination for films has fuelled his enthrallment with the craft of acting. He admitted that he had come to the workshop because, “I have a huge crush on the guest speaker, Pooja Bhatt, since childhood. I still follow her on Instagram.” From the current generation, he thinks Alia Bhatt is brilliant. Bhatt, naturally?
However, Namashi didn’t grow up amidst film studios. When he was a toddler, he was plucked from Mumbai and planted in Ooty because Mithun decided to become a hotelier with The Monarch.
“We used to live in one of the suites of the hotel. For a long time I thought that was my home. When we shifted back to Mumbai, I realised I just couldn’t call room service and order food!” says Namashi.
Family is of prime importance to the youngster and he says, “Our family of seven – us four siblings, dad, mom and bhabhi – are very simple, very adjusting.”
His extended clan includes a multitude of canines. Namashi raves, “I treat my dogs as my siblings. We have 76 dogs and I know each one by their name. As soon as I disconnect your call, they are ready to swarm me. My entire family loves pets.”
Father, dear father
In many ways, this apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. “I have my dad’s never-give-up attitude. Thanks to him, I am aware that you can’t just go to the market and buy stardom,” he says.
What he has imbibed the most from his dad is an honest approach to work, he says. “He is an absolute inspiration. While I love his 1982 blockbuster, Disco Dancer, it’s not one of my favourite films. He has done better work in other films like Agneepath (1990), Hum Paanch (1980) and an action film, Phool Aur Angaar (1993), that was a huge success,” Namashi.
I quiz the youngster about his dad’s National-Award-winning film Mrigaya (1989) and he chuckles. “Let me give you a little trivia about my family: I am the only one amongst us siblings who has seen every single film of my father. Right from Mrigaya, which started his career, I have not missed a single film of my dad.” But he has seen very few films of his mom, the beautiful Yogeeta Bali. The young actor candidly admits, “I feel comfortable when I see dad with other heroines but when it comes to mom’s films, I am only comfortable watching films where she is romantically paired with my dad. ”
The four Chakraborty siblings address their dad by his first name. “He gets a little awkward with ‘dad’. Nowadays, I sometimes call him dad, but he’s happy with Mithun,” says Namashi.
Cat on a hot tin roof
When I ask him outright, if he thought of himself as a bad boy, Namashi twinkles, “I don’t think so. But you can ask dad.” I did exchange notes with Mithun on his son and he states, “Namashi believes in getting work on his own. When he landed his first film, he excitedly called to tell me about it. I am proud of him.”
I recalled Namashi drawing applause when he did an impressive replay of his dad’s cartilage-defying disco moves at one of the workshops. The newbie’s first shot, however, was not a dance number, but a comedy scene with a lot of dramatic moments. They were shooting in Bengaluru, and though he had rehearsed his scenes in the acting workshops held by the team, Namashi was like a cat on a hot tin roof. And to add to his anxiety, he saw his dad from the corner of his eye.
“He’d come to surprise me. Luckily, dad did not venture near the monitor. In the lunch break, he came and said: ‘You are doing very well’.”
Dinesh Raheja is a reputed film historian, columnist and TV scriptwriter who has been writing on cinema for over three decades
From HT Brunch, November 29, 2020
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