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Time to reboot

TAPPING THE YOUNG MIND Anil Sharma

TAPPING THE YOUNG MIND Anil Sharma  

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As Anil Sharma gets ready to introduce his son with “Genius”, the director says the film will also mark his relaunch

Even as we thought that the machine that launches sons in Hindi film industry is going through a lean phase, came the news of Anil Sharma giving his son Utkarsh a push with Genius. For those who know Anil Sharma only through Gadar, should remember that much before he got into Hukumut and Elan-e-Jung phase, he dabbled in tender emotions with Shradhanjali and Bandhan Kachchey Dhagon Ka. So as I push for the reason to take a longish break after a rather tepid response to Singh Saab Di Great, Sharma says more than launching his son, he wanted to relaunch himself.

“The fact is that I have the skill for making films but the world around me is changing. The way of storytelling is changing. I had to mould myself in the new way. And that I could only do, if I go out and observe life. When you keep making films every alternate year, you cut yourself from the real world. I removed the blinkers and went to the US for the admission of my daughter. Utkarsh was already studying film production there in Chapman college. So I stayed there for six months and then moved to London. I kept interacting with youngsters and was living life all over again.”

Sharma came from Mathura, struggled to make a mark, assisted B.R. Chopra before his father (noted astrologer turned producer K.C. Sharma) backed his story which resulted in Shradhanjali. “Whatever I had experienced in life, I had consumed through my films. If you won’t eat, what will you ruminate about. So once again I took each day as a new day and it changed my perspective. I tried to understand how the digital and real worlds are interacting.”

Sharma says he comes from a generation where hearts ruled the minds. “Now it is a battle between heart and mind and this is what the film is all about. In this generation a genius will be the one who would fight the battles of heart with mind.” Sharma contends that the perspective of love has changed. “In the last five-six years Hollywood hasn’t produced any major love story. And ultimately things will change here as well. Utkarsh tells me that boys are most interested in career than girls. He would say girls will come along the way. Similarly, girls are keener in finding a good career than their prince charming. This is the reality of this generation.” If you look closely, he adds, the obstacles that we used to have in love are diminishing. “Society no longer comes in the way of love; parents don’t object to the choice of your partner. The real battle, now, is fought between the boy and the girl. It is about how much space one can give to the other. It is about understanding.” The boy, Sharma says, no longer look for a girl who can cook well. “The road to heart no longer goes through stomach. His ego doesn’t get hurt if the girl is earning. In fact, he appreciates it if she could contribute in the payment of his EMIs and even if entails having property in her name. So when people say as a society we are degrading, I don’t really agree. Our life spans have increased, and perhaps we have become much more practical. It is not such a bad thing,” he muses.

Planning to go to the sets later this year, Sharma reminds although he has launched six-seven heroines over the years, this is the first time he is launching a new actor who happens to be his son. “I always worked with well-established heroes. With a newcomer your script should be the hero and that is why it took time.”

Not revealing much, he says Utkarsh will play an IIT boy and he is looking for a new girl. “I have launched a website and we are asking young girls who have passion for acting to apply. I have been approached by established heroines, but Utkarsh is only 22 and I need a fresh face opposite him. We don’t have a young actress in that age bracket.” Sharma avers that he doesn’t want to create any tamasha. “I will quietly shortlist 10-15 girls and then do the screen tests.”

Considering it is the story of an IIT boy, action seems out of equation but Sharma says there is scope for action sequences in the script. And, in fact, Utkarsh, who was seen as a child actor in Gadar, starts his day with three hour action training under Tinnu Verma. “He is very meticulous. He follows it with Bollywood dance training – he is already a master in tap dance – and ends the 10-hour-long regimen in gym.” It sounds like the same old process of star-making but Sharma insists it is Utkarsh’s sincerity. “As a director I can say he will stand out for his originality.”

Sharma also dabbles in astrology. Has he taken the stars into account? “I don’t see the horoscopes of my children. I don’t want any doubt to take root.” From the photos that Sharma shows, Utkarsh looks like a promising young man but for now Sharma is not ready to share him with the public.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 1:27:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Time-to-reboot/article14630851.ece

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