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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pairing of Mithun-Shakti Duo had Surpassed Golden Jubilee Decades ago

Sole FTII trained students till now to score this highest record; friendship that went beyond 52 movies

Mithun-Shakti Kapoor-FTII-Hemu-Cinemawallah-Shakti
Duo bar-raisers, Ex-FTII mates Mithun and Shakti shared screen spaces and worked jointly in more than 50 movies 
One of the best milestones in its entire era, Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) can cheer about is the fact that only alumni who met during their student days in the campus, became friends and as ex-students of FTII worked together in the maximum number of films. Duo bar-raisers on various accounts, India’s first Disco Sensation Mithun Chakraborty and Sexy Villain Shakti Kapoor is the only FTII trained students who gave the maximum number of films together, in total it accounts for 52 movies beginning from Laparwah till their last movie release, giving a Golden Jubilee to their joint space sharing decades ago.

Shakti Kapoor  (Sunil Sikanderlal Kapoor his pre-screen name) may be famous for his villainous roles on screen, but in real life, he's a jovial and a fun loving person, who gets excited about the smallest things! One of the reasons for him sustaining and being successful in Bollywood goes to his natural ability for maintaining a good friendship. His friendship with Mithun goes long way back since his very entry into the FTII doorway. Mithun, a batch senior to him, was from the 1972 to 1974 batch, post his graduation, he took up the job as a lecturer in the institute and continued staying at the FTII hostel. 

His association and friendship with Mithun still remain a heart-close buddy till now, those friendship moments has been memorable and cherishable for life-long. Most of his recounts have been collected from various websites and other media. Shakti recounts his first meeting with him when he travelled along with Vinod Khanna, Rakesh Roshan and Rajesh Roshan to Pune. They had driven from Mumbai to Pune till the gates of FTII, Shakti recalls “ We drove in a Ford, beer bottles in hand. I felt like a star!”. further narrating “ My first encounter with him was at hostel gate of FTII, where I spotted a well-built guy standing in a torn lungi. I had just stepped out of the company of celebrities and obvious had a beer bottle in hand, which I offered him.”

Mithun blatantly refused his offer as this act offended him, imagine offering a liquor to a senior, but once the car left, Mithun drew Shakti by the hair into the hostel and said, “You ask a senior for beer , the next few minutes  he had me ragged by a group of six feet tall seniors which included Vijayendra Ghatge who made me sit on the floor , switched off the light, in darkness with spotlight flashed on my face followed by water splashed on my face, the length and texture of my hair was appreciated and the next moment the same was chopped from all sides, with me resembling a cockroach. And, it didn’t finish there, they threatened me with the worst if they caught me drinking. Later they hauled me to the swimming pool for a night swim. It was cold and I shivered and then cried. This sort of scared them of any unnecessary mishap and helped me escape to my room”. Shakti was so terrified of this incident that he didn't leave his room for the next four days.

When all left, Mithun came from behind and suggested to lock the door from outside to save me from night long ragging, out of fear on the first day itself Shakti Kapoor was all alone in the room with his room locked. On further recounting the incident Shakti Kapoor added  “ I reached the lectures late that day. I apologized to him later and thereafter we were cordial, helpful with each other and became really good friends.This was Mithun and we went on to become great friends.”

Mithun, Shakti and Tom Alter shared the same room in the hostel too. Remembering those roomie moments, Shakti Kapoor too added the abundance of Mithun’s generosity “I lived off Mithun, after the initial ragging, we shared the same hostel room, got closely acquainted and became friends. Each night, as he sat down to eat, I would ask Mithun,"Thoda khana dega?." He never refused such was his greatness, Mithun always made sure that his friends and roommates were always fed.

As a student of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Tom Alter in one of his interview to a website, predicted that two of his batchmates would be stars one day. Remembering one of those memorable moments had recalled in an interview  “I was on my way back to the campus (FTII) when I was stopped by two of my batchmates late in the night. They were worried about an acting project and wanted my opinion on it. I told them to continue acting. They were bound to be famous.” Years later, one of them, Mithun Chakraborty, became the nation’s favourite disco dancer, while the other, Sunil Kapoor immortalised the rogue-meets-jester villain as Shakti Kapoor.

Post the Mrigayaa production, Mithun began his intense struggle in Bollywood and was staying in Mumbai. Shakti too in the year 1976 post his graduation landed in Mumbai to began his courtship with Bollywood added “Since Mithun had moved to Mumbai before me" Shakti admitted "I shamelessly landed up at his rented place and forced him to pay double the rent.” and joked “There was a time when he told our common friends not to disclose his whereabouts, lest I land up at his place!” and chuckled  with his inimitable style which we have often seen him doing in the movies.

Being his friend, roomie, student and as a colleague, Shakti added “I have done 100 films with Mithun. He is the only person in the industry who can slap me and I won't mind. I don't listen to anyone from the industry, but I listen to him.” Mithun Chakraborty and Shakti Kapoor have worked together in more than 52 movies and have often shared screen spaces many times. Following are the list of movies.

In those reigning years, Mithun proved that he was, indeed, born under a special star  Gemini as he practically wound up his acting career and shifted to the hotel industry, climbing to the top spot within a decade. Shakti Kapoor, remembers how Mithun had taken him for a recce on an undeveloped, hilly land in Ooty and told him, “I’m going to build a hotel there.” That was the beginning of a new life as Mithun turned into a business tycoon, Monarch being the first hotel he set up in Ooty. Now he has a hotel and a resort in Karnataka too.

Mithun-Shakti-FTII-Hemu-Cinemawallah

Friendship beyond films and FTII, Mithun Chakraborty and Shakti Kapoor in frame with a Co-star

Having seen most of the Mithun and Shakti Kapoor jointly starred movies, Actor Hemu Shetty too experienced some good friendship moments from the struggling actors of FTII to whom lot of them confided that FTII is one of the most fertile breeding grounds for long-lasting friendhip as it brings in lot of aspirants from the varied columns of inclined-interests the nation saysFTII brought them together, their synergy bonded them well, being colleague gave them the opportunity to churn out good deliverables that made them famous, Bollywood is always generous to people who would like to synergize, innovate and give an entertaining best to its audience. Being friends and remaining acquainted since their beginning till now in spite of numerous circumstantial hurdles is a big challenge in Bollywood. Time, success, money and fame circumvents many companionship and friendship. Mithun has always been a great friend and an angel to people who had been helpful and part of his struggling days”. Actor Hemu Shetty, also a Speech Reformer and a well-known actor from Bollywood and Tulu Cinema, (now coined as TULUWOOD) , he is also been nicknamed as the Tulu Actor, with his long experience as an acting coach , overall a celebrated self-styled campaigner of Mithun Chakraborty , having an ability of a #HistrionicAnalyzer and penchant of an #HistrionicWriter.

Shakti agrees to the gospel of Mithun’s generosity which is rife in the Bollywood, had said in an interview  “ Whenever I was stuck or had an important decision to make, I would go to Mithun for advice. He stood by me in the toughest times. Even when I was in love, I went to him for advice." Shakti remembers dearly; as he had met his wife Shivangi during a movie shoot where she was doing a younger sister role of Mithun in the movie Kismet. Those moments are very dear to him.

More about his relationship with Mithun which was said in another interview “In spite of him being a senior by a year during our days in FTII. He helped me even when he was poor. He would not eat, but if I went to his place, he would give me his food. We are the best of friends and I cherish our friendship a lot. Nowadays, we don't meet much, as he lives in Madh Island (northern Mumbai). But if he calls me even in the middle of the night, I will go to him. Likewise, I know he will be there for me.”

Winding up this story, I had to add this quote as Shakti was reminiscing his student days about FTII “ I went back to the place again when I was shooting for Zubedia with Kareena Kapoor and director Shyam Benegal, it really touched me, as I felt I owed so much to the place”  

Over a certain news when FTII was a regular mention in numerous stories across the media, Shakti had said “ Even after 20 years, whenever I meet my FTII batchmates or alumni, our memories of the institute are always an important part of the conversation. Whether it is actors Shatrughan Sinha, Asrani or Mithun Chakraborty — who were my seniors — all are sensitive to any news concerning the FTII”  

Its true friendship gained nicely, chained properly remains retained infinitely and always continues to remain immortal forever

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