Utkarsh Sharma takes on nepotism debate

Mumbai: Whether Kangna Ranaut likes it or not, Bollywood is all set to introduce another actor from a film family to the Hindi movie-going audience this week in Anil Sharma’s “Genius”.

Utkarsh Sharma, son of producer-director Anil Sharma, who will star in the home production, minces no words in defending his adult-debut. He had played a child artist in his father’s hit film “Gadar:Ek Prem Katha”.

Now, all sorted and sensible at 24, he said: “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 to know he started his career with a sensitive film like ‘Shradhanjali’.”

Utkarsh is okay with the nepotism debate as long as his debut is accepted by the audience.

He plays an Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) foreign agent.

“In the film, my character begins as a 17-year-old and the story spans till his 24th year. It is one of the most interesting characters I’ve come across for an actor my age,” Utkarsh said.

The role was though meant 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.”

Not that it was a cakewalk on the sets of “Genius”. “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 could not 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. Nawaz Sir and Mithun (Chakrabrorty)Sir with their experience wisdom and skills have already added some vibrant strokes to my abilities.

“I couldn’t have asked for better co-stars,” said Utkarsh, who had Sunny Deol as his co-sar in his first film.

“Everyone knows I played Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel’s son in my father’s biggest hit ‘Gadar’.

“It was Amisha, 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 isn’t easy — when I was a child,” laughs the debutant just days ahead of playing a leading man.