Mithun da more popular than Big B in MP's tribal areas

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Barwani, MP, Oct 20 (UNI) Both Big B and King Khan may envious that their popularity in tribal-dominated areas of Madhya Pradesh's Malwa-Nimad region dims in comparison to yesteryears' star Mithun Chakravarty.

Once known as the poor man's Amitabh, Chakravarty's films are a rage at cinemas in towns of Barwani, Dhar and Jhabua districts where he is still the ideal for youth. The compact discs of his action movies sell like hot cakes. Tribal youth are easily observed sporting the Mithun hairstyle and clothes.

When asked why Chakravarty is still a phenomenon in these areas, film reviewer Sunil Mishra says, ''for tribal youth the actor, who portrayed a rebellious tribal youth in 'Mrigaya' (directed by Mrinal Sen), seems to be one who has emerged from among them. Hrithik and Shah Rukh seem unfamiliar on account of their urban looks and mannerisms therefore tribals cannot identify with such actors.'' Mr Deepak Pal, who is associated with the running of cinema halls in this district's Khetiya and Pansemal areas that adjoin Maharashtra, says that Chakravarty's popularity among tribals and labourers was indisputable.

''On weekly market days, a Mithun movie fetches more in 24 hours than a successful movie does over a week. Even today, his 'Disco Dancer' and 'Suraksha' draw teeming crowds,'' he adds.

Sendhwa town's roughly 50-year-old Omprakash talkies' Manager Sanjay Gupta says that over the past two decades he has screened Chakravarty's films more than 1,000 times and he never suffered a loss.

''In towns, low-budget and B-grade movies do good business but Mithun's popularity is like oxygen for people like me who entered this trade during its recession,'' he adds.

Mr Hari Agrawal, who sells CDs and digital video discs in this region, says that CD and DVD players are nothing new in interior.

Tribal families are increasingly watching films at home. The CDs of Chakravarty, Ajay Devgan and Sunny Deol are the most popular -- in that order.

UNI

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