Glamorous Bengali actress Mimi Chakraborty is banking on the love showered by the people on her through the years as she now canvasses for votes in the lanes and alleys of the Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency.
Chakraborty has built a huge fan base in her nearly a decade-old acting career. She has over 1.4 million followers on Instagram.
Brave, confident and exuding positivity whenever she speaks, Chakraborty says she never had any plans to join politics, though her family members did dabble in the arena.
“My family members have been involved in politics since decades, but I never had such plans. After participating in campaigns for my friends in politics or other Trinamool leaders, I saw how one can reach people directly,” Chakraborty told IANS.
“Today, by God’s grace, I have everything around me. I have fame, people know me and now the one thing that I want to do wholeheartedly is serve the people”.
Born in northern West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri, she made her way to the Bengali drawing rooms clad in cotton sarees with the lead role in “Ganeer Opare”, a television series revolving around Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore’s compositions.
With her debut film “Bapi Bari Ja” in 2012, Chakraborty’s career graph went up and she won hearts and minds with her distinctive style.
Talking about her immediate priority, Chakraborty said: “Now, the main concern is the campaign and issues which they (the people) want to convey to me. I want them to convey to me what they want me to do, rather than making promises on what I can offer.”
The young woman has showed her guts and steely will on a number of occasions.
For instance, she once witnessed a hit-and-run case near Kolkata’s NSCBI Airport. She chased the culprit, got him arrested and took the victim to a hospital.
The love of her life are her two pet dogs Max and Chickoo. Though it is too early for her to talk about the campaign issues, for her, “Caring for animals goes without saying’.
Chakraborty, who was ‘ready with her sneakers on’ right after her name was announced, understands the importance of the Jadavpur constituency.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had made her debut in parliamentary politics from the seat in 1984 by upsetting CPI-M stalwart Somnath Chatterjee, who had won twice from the area.
Legendary Communist Party of India leader Indrajit Gupta, iconic freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s niece-in-law Krishna Bose and famed singer-activist Kabir Suman have represented Jadavpur over the years in the Lok Sabha.
Chakraborty feels her strength would be “the love that the audience has showered on me and the confidence that didi (elder sister, as Banerjee is affectionately called) has shown on me”.
“I will count and bank on the love that people have given me through the years.”
To all those questioning her inexperience, Chakraborty has a philosophical take. “People can speculate, human beings are always judging people, Time will give the best answer.”
The actress will wrap her film commitments before Holi. After that, she will be seen extensively campaigning, donning comfortable cotton attire.
“I believe in a healthy lifestyle which I will definitely try to maintain,” she said.
In an indication of the seriousness with which Chakraborty is approaching the electoral fight, Chakraborty said she has amicably dropped Bengali Rom-Com “Bibaaho Obhijaan” under Birsa Dasgupta’s direction.
“The script was very close to my heart. I do feel bad, but I don’t want to be in the balancing act, I want to concentrate on the campaign fully. Acting is my passion my life and everything. I know something good will come in future,” she said.
Addressing moral policing and women being soft targets, Chakraborty said: “Being a woman and youth representative, these will be my concerns; I want to focus on youth because they are the next generation. If we don’t work and set an example then who will?”
Starting from Kolkata’s southern fringes, Jadavpur has a varied electorate – some of the city’s poshest apartments, colonies formed by refugees from erstwhile East Bengal, a large semi-urban populace, as also a vast rural belt.
But what has made Chakrabroty really happy is that her constituency covers Tollygunge, the centre of the Bengali film industry.
“I am overwhelmed that my constituency includes Tollygunge which is half of the industry. It has the studio, lots of technicians stay there. Now I will reach them in a different manner from a different position” she said.
Asked if she has any plan for the industry, Chakraborty said: “I will definitely do whatever I can do for my people.”
If she wins, she faces the challenge of measuring up to the high standards set by her illustrious predecessors.