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Two men and a woman
celebrity circus

When Mithunda shot for the grand finale of Zee TV’s Dance India Dance, the undercurrent of tension and excitement was not apparent to a whole new generation of viewers. But for the few who had an inkling of a chapter from Mithun Chakrabor-ty’s past, the arrival of producer Boney Kapoor on the sets of Dance India Dance was a historic Kodak moment.

Mithun and Boney first met when Hum Paanch was made. A taut, well-made and successful film, it starred the former as a somnolent, bonded labourer who finally awakens against master Amrish Puri and it was produced by the latter. The easy camaraderie between Mithun and Boney changed when Sridevi entered the actor’s life and posed a serious threat to the Chakraborty marriage. In the feisty 1980s when second marriages (a trend set by Dharam-Hema and followed by Raj Babbar-Smita) were eroding several filmland families, it was rumoured that Mithun too, had gone through a ceremony with Sridevi.

Of course, Sri, who later famously denied her intimacy with married man Boney Kapoor until she was ready to deliver her first daughter (that’s when she suddenly had a memory recall that months ago she had 'wed' him after all), never did admit to her relationship with Mithun. As her alliance with Boney proved, until the man comes out to openly ‘accept’ her as a ‘wife’, Sridevi normally plays the victim of the gossip press. She even made statements that she would never marry a married man or play second fiddle in any man’s life. Actually that was where Sri erred and lost Mithun.

On the other hand, Mithun’s wife Yogita Bali (known to friends as Pinky) handled the situation with native guile. She made it clear that she was no feminist, she was happy to be Mrs Mithun Chakraborty and she was sure that she would not walk out on her husband, come what may. She told us at Star & Style, the fortnightly glossy where I worked, “I will accept it even if he takes on a second wife.”

To be fair to Mithun, whatever his relationship with Sri was, he never made it public and Yogita never faced the humiliation of watching her husband accept another woman in his life.

It was Sridevi’s firm make-your-choice condition to her man that did her in. Unlike Boney who was willing to publicly step out with Sridevi as his ‘wife’, leaving legal biwi Mona after fathering two children with her, there was no way Mithun would desert Yogita who had loyally stood by him through thick and thin.

Besides, Mithun had all the instincts of a man about town and even while he was in the thick of ’affaire Sri, he had caught a whiff of Boney’s interest in her. Years later, Mona Kapoor recalled in a Savvy cover story that at one stage, Sridevi had even tied a rakhi on Boney’s wrist to prove to Mithun that it was only a platonic relationship.

It didn’t help. Sridevi soon got wise to the idea that Mithun was never going to hurt Yogita and the romance ended abruptly. The Chakraborty marriage survived and the arrival of their third son, Namashi, was proof that all was well between Mithun and Yogita. Today, when you watch Yogita glow as Mrs Mithun Chakraborty (she does have a very special place in his heart) and preside over her brood of four (apart from Mimoh, Rimoh and Namashi, they have daughter Dishani), you know that there is no third angle in this happy family portrait.

Mona Kapoor was not so lucky. Very soon, the rakhi on his wrist forgotten, husband Boney Kapoor upped and fled with Sridevi by his side.

The scandals of yesterday have been forgotten. Few would recall the havoc Sridevi had tried to play in Mithun’s marriage. But one is sure that the common ground Mithun and Boney share was on the minds of both men as they came together on Dance India Dance.

For Mithun it was just another episode and he is too seasoned an actor to let anything spoil the show. For Boney, coming on that programme to congratulate the winner (a Salman Khan follower) and to promise him that he’d get a chance to dance with his matinee idol in his next film was part of a publicity campaign. Boney is the producer of Wanted — Dead Or Alive, a Salman Khan starrer, and he was on Dance India Dance to promote his new film. The woman who figured in the lives of Mithun and Boney had no part to play in this — nothing personal folks, it was all strictly professional.

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