14 July, 2016
Director Anil Sharma speaks about launching his son Utkarsh in his directorial next, his relationship with the Deols and more…
Director Anil Sharma redefined the mainstream commercial cinema with his 2001 blockbuster hit Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. Fourteen years after the iconic film, the director is all set to launch his son Utkarsh today in his next directorial titled Genius. In a candid conversation, he speaks about his son, his relationship with the Deol family, Varun Dhawan and more. Excerpts from the interview…
It’s 14th July again. How special is the date for you?
I started my first film Shraddhanjali on this date. Incidentally, it is my daughter’s birthday too. And that is why I thought I will announce my son Utkarsh’s first film on the same day itself. The film is called Genius.
Tell me something about the film…
It is a very intelligent film. If I had to describe it in one line then I would say it is film where battles of heart are fought by mind.
What preparations Utkarsh has done so far?
Utkarsh was five years old when he played the role of Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel’s Son in Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. He was too young that time and he didn’t even want to act. We took him in the film because we needed someone to play the character and we didn’t get any kid. So we roped him. He was very sincere even then. He got a lot of offers after the film but we wanted him to focus on his studies. However, he has played roles here and there, like he played the childhood Bobby Deol in Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo.
One incident that made you realise that he was meant to act or he is a good actor?
Once we wanted him to do a song sequence with Amitabh Bachchan. I asked him if he will be able to do it with Mr Bachchan. He replied by saying that, ‘Papa, he is also an actor and I am also an actor. I will do.’ When I told about this incident to Big B, he had a hearty laugh. So he has this confidence right from the start. Even now that he is back from US, he has been rigorously preparing for his role from past two-three months. He is very focussed in his life.
What do you think of him as a director? Why would you cast him?
If I believed that Utkarsh does not have the potential to be a good actor, I would never have casted him. I have launched many actors, right from Priyanka Chopra, Urvashi Rautella to Zareen Khan, they are doing very good in their own space. I have never compromised in casting for my films. I have given breaks to people only when I have found them worth.
Who is going to be the female lead in Genius opposite Utkarsh?
We are still searching the female lead for the film. We are yet to finalise one. We might just go for a new face as well.
If not Utkarsh then who do you think would have suited the bill for this film?
It is a very difficult question. There are many brilliant actors in the industry today. If I had to choose one, I would say Varun Dhawan because this character is a very performance oriented one and I think Varun can pull off any character quite brilliantly. Even in general he is very good actor.
This would be your first film after Singh Saab The Great…
Yes, after Singh Saab The Great I went to US where both my kids were studying. I stayed there for six months, explored myself. After I came back, I knew Utkarsh will be coming back this year and I was preparing for this film ever since.
Tell us about your relationship with the Deol family…
Both Dharam ji and Sunny adore Utkarsh. Dharam ji has always wished good for all of us.
Can we expect Sunny or Dharam ji to do a cameo in the film?
Well we have not thought about it yet. It would be too early to comment on that.
Gadar’s iconic Jodi Sunny and Ameesha will be seen together after 14 years again in Bhaiyaji Superhit. What are your views on the same?
Neeraj Pathak is a very good writer and he will prove himself as a good director too. My good wishes are with them and I know it will be a good film.
According to you, is it difficult or easy for the star kids to sustain themselves in the industry?
Being a star kid, entry into the industry definitely becomes easy for them. But they go through a lot of pressure. It is not difficult to get a film, to sustain yourself in the industry after that film is very difficult.
Do you have any other projects in hand after Genius?
For now, I am completely focussed on Genius. It is a very important film for me. With every new film of mine, I feel as if it is my first film. And for Utkarsh, it is indeed his first film. So it is very special for us.