Whether Kangna Ranaut likes it or not, Bollywood and the Hindi movie-going audience is all set to introduce another actor from a film family this week in Anil Sharma’s Genius. 24-year old Utkarsh Sharma is veteran producer-director Anil Sharma’s son. Sorted and sensible, the young wannanbe star minces no words in defending his debut. “I really wanted to make my debut with a film outside my home production since the debate on nepotism rages on. But when this opportunity came my way it was too tempting to resist just because some people would throw the ‘N’ bomb at my father and me.”
The proud son has seen all of his father’s films. “Even those that were made before I was born. My favourite film directed by my dad is Hukumat. He is identified with rugged action films starring Dharmendraji and SunnyDeolji. But I was surprised know he started his career with a sensitive film like Shradhanjali.”
Utkarsh is okay with being accused of falling into the nepotism debate as long as his debut as a leading man is accepted by the audience. “I play a RAW agent. My character’s life story stretched from age 17 to 24 .And it is one of the most interesting characters I’ve come across for an actor my age,” Utkarsh says.
Interestingly the role was written for a much older actor. “Yes, it was going to be played by an established actor, around 40 years old. Then it was changed and offered to me. I immediately accepted it.” Not that it was a cakewalk on the sets of Genius for young Utkarsh. “It wasn’t as though I was given special treatment on the sets. In fact I had to work doubly hard since it was my father’s film. But the hard work has all been worth it. I am happy I’m making my debut with Genius, and not any other film.”
To be pitched against a seasoned scene-stealer like Nawazuddin Siddiqui in his very first film couldn’t be easy for a newcomer. But Utkarsh was fine with the challenge. “The whole idea of being in front of the camera is to work with people who can bring out the best in you. And Nawaz Sir and Mithun Sir (Chakrabrorty) with their experience wisdom and skills as an actor have already added some vibrant strokes to my performing abilities. I couldn’t have asked for better co-stars,” says Utkarsh who had Sunny Deol as his co-star in his first film.
“That was so long ago. Yes, everyone knows I played Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel’s son in my father’s biggest hit Gadar. It was Ameesha, on whom I had a crush, who suggested I play the role . My father couldn’t find another child who was the right fit. So I got the role by default. It wasn’t easy, believe me. I had to jump over trains and perform some very difficult action scenes. I guess I learnt acting wasn’t easy when I was a child,” laughs the debutant just days away from his debut as a leading man.