Yesteryear Bollywood heartthrob Mithun Chakraborty, who had millions of fans swooning with his dance and action moves, on Sunday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party at Brigade Parade Ground ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mega rally.
Chakraborty was welcomed into the fold by BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state president Dilip Ghosh, among others.
The National Award-winning actor, after being handed the saffron party flag by Ghosh, said he had always wanted to work for the underprivileged, and the saffron camp has given him a platform to fulfil his aspiration.
He also asserted that he was proud to be a Bengali.
"I always wanted to do something big in life, but had never dreamt of being a part of such a huge rally which is to be addressed by world's most popular leader Narendra Modi. I wished to work for the poorer sections of our society, and that wish will now be fulfilled," he said.
Amid huge cheers from supporters, Chakraborty, borrowing a dialogue from one of his films, said, "Ami joldhorao noi, bele borao noi... ami ekta cobra, ek chobol-ei chobi (Don't mistake me for a harmless snake, I am a cobra, can kill people with one bite)."
Vijayvargiya, who visited Chakraborty at his residence on Saturday evening, had announced that he would be participating in the rally.
Last month, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat met the actor at his Mumbai bungalow over breakfast, setting off speculation that he might join the BJP.
Chakraborty, who earlier maintained close ties with Mamata Banerjee, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Trinamool Congress in 2014.
He, however, quit the Upper House in 2016 citing health reasons, after his name surfaced in the Saradha ponzi scam.
The septuagenarian actor, a former Naxalite, sprang to stardom with his role as a tribal archer in Mrinal Sen's film 'Mrigayaa' in 1976 for which he won the National Film Award for the best actor.
An alumni of Kolkata's prestigious Scottish Church College, Chakraborty was seen as a politically conscious actor and often cast by Leftist movie directors.
His joining the Trinamool Congress, a left of centre regional party, consequently did not come as a surprise.
However, his move to join the BJP, a right of centre party is seen as a complete break from his past political views.
Chakraborty, however, defended his decision by stating he remained consistent in his desire to serve the poor.
Chakraborty became a popular name in Bollywood and in foreign film markets like the former Soviet Union in the 1980s when he starred in a string of action movies, family dramas and musicals.
Among his box office hits were 'Disco Dancer', 'Kasam Paida Karne wale Ki' and 'Commando'.
His action movies won him a large following among youth growing up in the 1980s to 2000s.